From John Curry, January 24, 2010
The question that Joe asks below (in his headline) is the question that should be asked of all the other co-sponsors of HB 400 (which I'll call the John Adams ill-conceived attempt at destroying state and local government in Ohio bill) and these legislators should also be asked the same question...each and every one of them. How will we pay for our schools if it kills income tax? You might even want to ask them how we will pay for police and fire protection while you are at it. Oh, don't forget to mention libraries, health departments, county bureaus of weights and measures, welfare, veteran's services, extension services, courts and the list goes on and on.....all dependent upon state tax revenues. The saddest part about this whole fiasco is that not a one of the legislators listed below has detailed a plan for just what vehicle would replace the current income tax. If you are a public servant or retired public servant....you ought to be offended. At the end of Joe's article I will once again list the sponsors of this piece of trash proposed legislation.
"The state of Ohio this year will spend $2,220 for every man, woman and child living in Shelby County, Representative Adams. Are you prepared to tell them they can expect to be less educated, less safe, less healthy and more inconvenienced because of drastic cuts of services that would result from killing the income tax?"
Joe Hallett commentary: How will Ohio pay for its schools if it kills income tax?
Here are some questions for John Adams, the live Republican state representative from Sidney, not the dead president from Massachusetts.
You have introduced a bill to phase out the state income tax over 10 years. This year, the income tax will raise $7.6 billion, accounting for 45 percent of all tax revenue raised by the state. If you succeed in killing the income tax, how will you replace the lost revenue?
Are you prepared, Representative Adams, to raise the state sales tax by 6 cents to a national high of 11.5 cents on the dollar? That's how much would be needed to replace revenue lost by killing the income tax. How do you think your friends at the Ohio Council of Retail Merchants and the National Federation of Independent Businesses would react to more than doubling the sales tax?
Are you willing to let schools in your home county of Shelby and others close? In the current two-year budget, the state is spending $14.2 billion from its general revenue fund on primary and secondary schools. That's roughly how much the state income tax will generate during those two years for the fund.
Without the income tax, how will you keep schools open? The tax was instituted by the General Assembly in 1971 because financially ailing schools all over the state were closing. When Republicans asked Ohioans to repeal the tax a year later, the voters opted by a 69-31 margin to keep it.
The state of Ohio this year will spend $2,220 for every man, woman and child living in Shelby County, Representative Adams. Are you prepared to tell them they can expect to be less educated, less safe, less healthy and more inconvenienced because of drastic cuts of services that would result from killing the income tax?
At a legislative hearing last week on your bill, Representative Adams, you said: "This is falsely reported as requiring cuts in government spending. Government spending will continue to grow under my plan."
How can that be, when you deprive government of one of its primary sources of funding? And isn't reducing government spending by starving it of money a big reason why you want kill the income tax?
You also said that eliminating the income tax would lead to robust economic growth and new jobs, and would stem the tide of Ohioans leaving the state for Florida and other states without an income tax.
Even if you are correct and people flock to Ohio for new jobs, how will that help schools stay open and provide the services those new Ohioans would expect? There would be no income tax to pay for them.
There is no doubt that some Ohioans move to Florida to escape paying state income taxes. But there is a bigger reason: the weather. South Dakota and New Hampshire have no state income taxes, but Ohioans don't seem to be stampeding to those states.
Of the nine states without income taxes, six, including Florida, have higher sales-tax rates than Ohio, according to a study by the Ohio Legislative Service Commission. And five of the states have higher per capita local taxes than Ohio.
Each of the nine states without income taxes has a greater ability than Ohio to raise revenue through other means, or have sparse populations that don't cost as much in services. For instance, Wyoming's annual Medicaid cost equals what Ohio spends in 12 days.
Florida's beaches and Nevada's casinos produce significant tourism revenue that offsets the need for state income taxes. Alaska and Wyoming generate large amounts of revenue from severance taxes paid by the oil, natural gas and coal industries. Texas reaps significant tax revenue from its oil and gas resources. Property and sales taxes in New Hampshire and Washington are substantially higher than Ohio's.
House Democrats are holding hearings to demonstrate the folly of Adams' bill and to embarrass likely Ohio GOP gubernatorial nominee John Kasich, who has advocated phasing out the state income tax.
Wisely, Kasich appears to be inching away from the idea, because he knows he might actually have to govern. Kasich risks his credibility if he continues to call for killing the tax that pays for schools and services that residents want.
Now, here's a list of those "geniuses" who have created this monster...you might want to let them know how you feel about it.
128th General Assembly Regular Session
H. B. No. 400
Representative Adams, J.
Cosponsors: Representatives Batchelder, Mandel, Blessing, Morgan, Martin, Maag, Wagner, Hall, Wachtmann, Combs, McClain, Derickson, Goodwin, Jordan, Uecker, Boose, Huffman, Ruhl, Sears, Grossman, Snitchler, Stebelton, Blair, Hackett, Burke, Beck, Hite, Mecklenborg, Bubp, Daniels