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Government & Politics

House Democrats Push for Tax Change to Help Low-Income Ohioans

photo of Emilia Sykes
Karen Kasler
Statehouse News Bureau
Rep. Emilia Sykes pushes for a low-income tax credit alongside other House Democrats and anti-poverty advocates.

Democratic lawmakers and anti-poverty advocates have pushed for years for changes to a tax credit aimed at low-income working Ohioans. With debate over increasing the gas tax and adding another income tax cut in the next budget, it’s coming up again. 

Ohio is one of six states with a non-refundable earned income tax credit, which can only zero out tax liability and can’t create a tax refund.  House Democrats want to erase the income cap and make the credit refundable.

Minority Leader Emilia Sykes (D-Akron) says it can be paid for with unspent money in the general revenue fund. And there’s the deduction created in 2013 that allows small businesses to take the first quarter million dollars of their incomes tax free.

“That costs us about a billion dollars a year," she said. "And there is an opportunity for us to revisit that.”

It is estimated nearly a million low-income Ohioans could take the changed EITC at a cost of $250 million, which Democrats say is far less than breaks given to wealthy Ohioans and businesses. Last year the EITC cost the state $40 million.