If you’re within earshot of the state of Ohio, it’s impossible to ignore the dismal economic situation we’re in. We didn’t benefit from that ginormous housing boom that affected many cities/states so we haven’t been pummeled by that particular recession, but we still have a number of manufacturing jobs (read: American car companies) and we are in possession of some of the highest state school tuitions in the nation.
So our state legislature and governor, faced with a horrific deficit, have been warring over next year’s budget. Emails abound about library cuts, early learning initiative cuts, everything-else-under-the-sun cuts, and they’re all bad, Bad, BAD. Everyone is calling for everyone else to email/write/call their state lawmakers and complain.
The problem is – Ohio simply doesn’t have enough money. No amount of teeth-gnashing and persuasive pontificating is going to change that fact. So what do we do?
Increase revenue? (Insert ominous music here)
The Republicans who have controlled Ohio’s legislature (seeming FOREVER – seriously) are drooling at the prospect of our Democratic governor raising taxes. They’re waiting with pens poised over paper to begin the next gubertanorial campaign to oust our well meaning but not aggressive enough (imo) leader. Democrats, meanwhile, are just as guilty, afraid to even utter the word in their sleep for fear of inciting that very wrath.
Yep, our state lawmakers are more concerned about keeping their jobs, and increasing their positions of power than they are about their consituents and future health of the state. Instead of solving the problem (which does not necessarily include raising taxes on the already beleaguered citizens), they’re covering their own asses.
I’m so proud.
FYI: There s $7 Billion a year in tax credits, exemptions and deductions in Ohio’s tax code that our legislature is completely ignoring.
For example, payday lenders, mortgage brokers and other financial companies pay taxes at a lower effective rate than banks. Erase that relief and the state would collect nearly $10 million PER YEAR.
A few years ago, our forward thinking state decided that if you managed to survive to senior citizenship, then you simply shouldn’t have to pay property taxes. Doesn’t matter if you’re a retired CEO sitting in a $5 million dollar house – no property taxes. If we corrected that little mess, limiting the exemption to something reasonable, we could rake in another $140 million PER YEAR.
Or wait – extend sales tax to entertainment events, lobbying and debt collection (and who doesn’t want to tax debt collectors and lobbyists out of existence??) – $90 million annually.
Here’s another little nuggest: the state of Ohio caps the amount of sales tax paid by those buying fractions of private jets to $800. WTF? you should be asking. What the hell is so special about people who can afford even a PART of a PRIVATE JET that they should be tax break?! Without this cap, the typical average sales tax on one-eighth of a jet would run in the vicinity of $45,000. Instead, these wealthy individuals are writing checks smaller than the sales tax on the average automobile – $100.
So, if you want to see libraries, early learning initiatives and other such programs continue to exist, insist that our state legislatures get their heads out of their butts and address some of these egregious tax breaks. If they refuse, vote them the hell out of office. Then follow through.