By Marc Kovac
A coalition of liberal groups is planning a series of public events across the state, with hopes of persuading Ohio’s Republican congressional delegation to support tax hikes on the country’s wealthiest residents.
The Ohio Action Coalition fears the GOP will block a deal to avoid the looming federal fiscal cliff that would involve tax increases for those who earn more than $250,000 a year.
Instead, the group wants Congress to increase tax rates on the richest 2 percent of residents while extending tax cuts instituted during former President George W. Bush’s term for everyone else.
“Our goal in the campaign is to ensure that tax fairness is a starting point for any deficit-reduction deal struck between Congress and President Obama to avoid the so-called ‘fiscal cliff,’” said Joanne Pickrell, director of the coalition.
The Obama administration and congressional Republicans are negotiating to avoid the fiscal cliff, which refers to the combined spending cuts and tax increases set to take effect in the new year.
Dale Butland, spokesman for the state coalition, said that could mean an estimated “roughly $500 billion” in economic impacts absent federal action.
Supporters of the president say his re-election indicates voters’ support for an approach that includes a combination of spending cuts and a tax increase on the wealthy.
On the campaign trail, Obama made it clear that he would push for higher taxes on the wealthy, while his Republican challenger Mitt Romney campaigned on an opposite approach.
“We are not proposing to soak the rich or to raise taxes even a dime for 98 percent of Americans,” Butland said. “Our plan — and listen to this carefully — is to extend the Bush tax cuts for everyone on the first $250,000 a year that they earn and then tax income over that amount at just the Clinton-era levels.”
The latter would mean an increase to 39.6 percent from 35 percent for the top marginal income-tax rate and to 35 percent from 33 percent for the second-highest tax rate, Butland said.
He added, “Our plan is not only reasonable, it’s exactly what the majority of Americans and Ohioans want.”