The Cleveland Plain Dealer asked candidates in Northeast Ohio their opinions on the tax change packages of 2013 and 2014. (READ THEIR ANSWERS HERE). This is a very important question, because more income tax cuts will likely be one of the largest budget proposals next year – and those elected will need to make a decision.
Ohio’s income tax generates about $8 billion a year for public services and our communities. In 2013-14, the state cut income tax rates by 10%, cut taxes for pass through entities by 75% (first 50% but expanded to 75%), and raised the sales tax rate by about 5%.
WHAT THEY SAID:
Many candidates discussed the ongoing tax shift from the wealthy to the poor by raising the sales tax and cutting the income tax. Other candidates discussed the shift from the state level of funding to the local level of funding and onto property taxes. Other candidates focused their comments on supporting the tax shift and income tax cuts as a smart business and economic decision. For the most part, these answers did not discuss the lost services. Also, no candidate discussed research that points to the harm that business tax cuts may have on the economy. Or to research that shows how an income tax can reduce growing volatility in our tax code that results from growing inequality.:
Public Investments: Not one candidate for Governor and very few state legislative candidates connected taxes paid to the services they fund. When we cut any type of tax, Ohio policymakers must a) make up that revenue somewhere else, b) cut funding for services or c) a combination of the two. Since 2005, Ohio has cut taxes for the wealthiest Ohioans, raised taxes on low and middle income Ohioans, shifted the revenue responsibility to local communities, and cut spending in various areas.
Ohio’s elected leaders cannot make tax decisions in a vacuum. Ohio continues to under-invest in K-12 education, human services, higher education, and local communities. We need to restore funding cuts made over the past 10 years and stop cutting the income tax.