In his State of the State speech, Ohio Governor John Kasich boasted, “in six months we eliminated an eight billion dollar budget shortfall without a tax increase—eliminated it. We are now balanced. In fact, we cut taxes by $300 million.” What the governor failed to mention is that these cuts have had enormous consequences. For example, these cuts are making it harder for senior citizens centers to stay open, forcing public libraries to go begging for local tax dollars and raising college tuition.
It doesn’t have to be this way.
Ohio lawmakers concerned with the state’s ability to meet the needs of its citizens should be looking into ways to both restore these harmful spending cuts and reverse an earlier round of regressive across the board income tax cuts passed in 2005. One step toward these ends is to follow the prescription laid out by Policy Matters Ohio (PMO) to ask the wealthiest one percent of Ohioans, whose income averages $981,000 a year, to pay 1.2 percent more in personal income tax. In their report (which uses ITEP data), PMO says the “proposal would not change the amount of taxes paid by nearly 99 percent of Ohio taxpayers. It would affect only the most affluent, who can most afford to pay, and the increases for them would be relatively small. Yet it would allow the state to make up nearly half the cuts made to public schools and local governments in the current two-year budget.”