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Government and Politics

Kasich set to unveil details of income tax cuts in his budget
Ohio Governor John Kasich's budget update is expected to include cuts on income tax, but increases on certain sales taxes.

Karen Kasler
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Republican Governor John Kasich's budget update bill comes out today, and it could include a tax hike to pay for a tax cut. Statehouse correspondent Karen Kasler has a preview.

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The governor hinted at it in his State of the State speech last month.
“We’ve got to keep cutting taxes," Kasich said. "We have to keep doing it. That’s why I’m proposing another round of tax cuts that will finally succeed in getting Ohio’s tax rate below 5 percent.”

This budget correction bill Kasich’s team calls the mid-biennium review, or MBR, is expected to include another income tax cut. Kasich has said he’s interested in tax reform, and has also said he supports a move away from income taxes and toward sales taxes. And one tax that he’s said to be looking at is the state tax on cigarettes, which at $1.25 a pack is the 26th highest in the country.

Shelly Kiser is with the American Lung Association says her group would support such a move. 

“The only way we would be against a cigarette tax is if it is too low, amazingly enough, because that’s when it would not have that public health benefit," Kiser said. "So we’re still of course waiting to hear the details of what the governor has in store, but if it is a significant tax increase that has those good public health benefits that will really encourage people to stop smoking, then definitely we’re going to be in support of that.”

Anti-smoking advocates have long said they want cigarette taxes going to programs that help smokers quit. Kasich said in the State of the State speech he wants to spend $35 million in new tobacco settlement money on quitting programs. Kiser would like that upped to $50 million, but says there’s no need to put all the hundreds of millions that could be raised with the kind of cigarette tax increase she wants into those programs.  Kiser says Ohio has the 10th highest smoking rate in the country and notes that smoking costs add to the state’s huge Medicaid bill, so she’s like to see the tax go up to $2.75, but that seems unlikely.

In fact, Kasich may face an uphill battle to increase the tax at all, since the legislature is dominated by Republicans who have opposed tax increases in general. But he’s also likely to propose a new severance tax on oil and gas drillers, having said that the one House Republicans put together last year isn’t enough.

Listener Comments:

I love Kasich's proposals.

Posted by: lacrossemom14 (dayton) on March 13, 2014 10:03AM
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