Not even a month after cutting personal income taxes and raising the state’s sales tax, Ohio Governor John Kasich is pledging to further lower the state’s top income tax rate to below 5 percent (the top rate was 5.925% before being dropped to 5.3% this year). Speaking at a plastics plant last week, the Governor said, “we have momentum” with tax cuts, and expressed his belief that low taxes will draw more business to the Buckeye State.
Proponents of the $800 million regressive income tax cut package that was vetoed by Governor Jay Nixon last month are spending millions of dollars to convince lawmakers to override the veto. Missouri’s Chamber of Commerce is airing TV ads in support of the cuts and conservative political activist Rex Sinquefield (who has been a long-time funder of the anti-tax agenda in Missouri) has given more than $2 million to efforts to overturn the veto. For his part, Governor Nixon is spending the summer trying to convince lawmakers and others that the veto should be sustained, particularly if they care about quality education. At a St. Louis Chamber event Governor Nixon said, “members of the General Assembly can either support (the tax cut) or they can support education. They cannot do both.”
The Salt Lake Tribune reports on the growing chorus of support for raising taxes in Utah in order to pay for improvements to the state’s transportation infrastructure. According to the Tribune, everybody from the state Chamber of Commerce to local governments and non-partisan think tanks has been “working to build a case that transportation tax hikes are overdue.”
A story in Kentucky’s Courier-Journal highlights some of the problems with paying for roads and bridges with tolls. Drivers who happen to live or work close to a tolled bridge end up paying far more for infrastructure than those drivers who are lucky enough to have un-tolled routes available to them. Moreover, low-income drivers are always affected most by tolls -- a fact that’s led some local lawmakers to begin discussing ideas like exempting drivers from tolls if their incomes are low enough to qualify for the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC).