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Government and Politics

Ohio lawmakers' new plan cuts income taxes; raises sales taxes
GOP lawmakers laud the plan; Dems say it's weighted toward the rich

Jo Ingles
Ohio House Finance Chair Ron Amstutz says there would be a change in the formula for future property tax levies
Courtesy of Ohio Public Radio
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In The Region:
Ohio lawmakers have come to an agreement on a new tax reform plan that they say is fair and will help all Ohioans. Ohio Public Radio’s Jo Ingles reports the plan will provide income tax breaks to nearly all Ohioans but will raise some taxes and shift some tax burdens.

Ingles on new tax plan

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The plan would lower income tax for nearly all Ohioans by about 10 percent. Small businesses would get a 50 percent tax break on the first $250,000 of income generated. And low-income Ohioans would get an earned income credit.

But the plan would also raise the state’s sales tax from 5.5 percent to 5.75. Republican Senate President Keith Faber says the plan is fair because "the No. 1 thing that this plan does that former plans have not: this is sustainable, it is balanced and it does not rely on one-time money."

Changing the homestead tax break
The property tax break that’s now given to all seniors could, in the future, be given based on income so that only low-income Ohio senior citizens would get it. Ohio House Finance Chair Ron Amstutz says there would be a change in the formula for future property tax levies.  

“We are leaving existing levies that might be renewed stable so they won’t be touched by this.  But in the case of new levies or a replacement levy which is the form of a new levy, there would not be a 10 percent or a 2 ½ percent rollback for those situations going forward.”

Partisan praise
The plan is drawing praise from business groups and Republicans but criticism from Democrats.  Stephen Dyer is the Education Policy Fellow at the left-leaning think tank, Innovation Ohio.

“This pretty much solidifies the fact that this state has pretty much forsaken its responsibility for our kids.  It is difficult to understand how you are going to have a constitutional school funding system with $2.7 billion in the state’s coffers.”

Dyer says he thinks lawmakers have the wrong priorities.

“There are just lots of real problems with this plan but the fundamental problem is it seems like the most important thing that Ohio legislators have to deal with is figuring out how to cut taxes and they don’t feel like they have as much responsibility to constitutionally fund our schools.”

Dyer says it’s one thing to cut taxes when times are good but he says there when not now.  He says lawmakers should have at least restored funding for schools back to the level it was three years ago. For his part, Senate president Faber is ready for that criticism.

“I would say that we just in this budget are increasing K-12 funding by 11 percent.  And I would think a lot of local taxpayers and property tax payers think that levies should not be easier to pass.  And from that perspective, we frankly want you to be able to operate within your means so that’s part of that message.”
Listener Comments:

I actually think this is a good idea. Tax code needs to focus on US job creation.

Owner Cel Financial Services
IRS Registered Tax Return Preparer
Registered bonded California CTEC Tax Preparer
Please visit my website for all your Income Tax Fillmore needs.

Posted by: Chris (California) on June 21, 2013 12:06PM
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