An Open Letter to the Ohio Senate

Ladies and Gentlemen:

We are all aware that the Ohio Supreme Court has effectively prevented the state from moving forward with Governor Strickland’s plan to allow the installation of slot machines at race tracks around the state.

In order to close the budget gap which the court’s action had created, the Governor has announced his intention to ask the General Assembly to rescind the 4.2% income tax reduction which went into effect last January 1st.

While the Governor went through considerable verbal gymnastics to avoid calling this a tax increase, the facts are clear. The new lower rate went into effect on January 1, 2009. Ohioans have been paying the lower rate in their payroll withholding for more than nine months. Ohio businesses have been paying the lower rate in their quarterly tax payments as well.

By asking that the lower rate be rescinded, the governor will not just raise the tax rate Ohioans will have to pay going forward; he will require them to pay it retroactively back to the first of the year.

This is not just a tax increase; it is a RETROACTIVE TAX INCREASE.
Since the Governor has broken his promise not to increase taxes in this budget, it now falls to the General Assembly to decide whether the working men and women of Ohio will be forced to bear this additional burden.

We are all aware that our state is in the midst of the most severe economic downturn it has experienced in a generation. We know that Ohio’s combined state and local tax burden is among the highest in the nation, so that earlier in the decade when the national economy enjoyed healthy growth, Ohio’s growth was sluggish at best.

Further, because of various plans being considered now in Washington, Ohio families face the very real prospect of considerably higher energy costs and considerably higher health insurance costs. To raise their Ohio income taxes at this time is unwise and unfair.

The alternative to raising taxes is, of course, cutting spending. There were many interesting proposals to reduce state spending that were offered early in the budget process last spring. Among them, reorganizing Ohio government and reducing the number of cabinet offices; and, offering home care options in Medicaid instead of more expensive nursing home care. I’ve asked Ohio’s Americans for Prosperity members to make their own suggestions about possible spending cuts and send them to you and to me.

The economic crisis in Ohio is severe and growing. It is up to you to protect Ohio’s working men and women from Governor Strickland’s broken promise. A tax increase in the midst of this recession would be devastating.

On behalf of Americans for Prosperity’s 17,000 Ohio members, and on behalf of Ohio’s working men and women, I urge you to say no Ted Strickland’s retroactive tax increase. I urge you to say no to higher taxes, and instead, to cut spending.

Respectfully,
Jack Boyle
State Director
Americans for Prosperity – Ohio

Source: www.americansforprosperity.org, Oct. 19, 2009

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