Ohio cannot afford more tax cuts in new state budget


The [Cleveland] Plain Dealer: Gov. Mike DeWine in his first budget proposal broke markedly from previous Gov. John Kasich by not proposing any tax cuts (or hikes).

Ohio House Republicans, in their version of the next two-year budget, which will run from July 1, clearly don’t agree.

They’ve proposed $600 million in tax cuts over the next two years.

Leaving aside any other objections, such a large reduction in state revenues at a time of uncertainty about state income over the next two years is unwise.

The tax cuts also are unlikely to have any substantial impact on jobs and growth.

But there are other reasons they should be sidelined:

*The tax slashing effectively wipes out any additional money toward DeWine’s proposed $900 million H2O fund for Lake Erie and water quality -- a jobs measure in itself, since one result would be to preserve lake-related employment and revenue, including from fishing, boating and other recreation.

*A tax cut of this size will make meaningful school funding reform in the near term more unlikely, although laudably the House version of the budget increases DeWine’s proposed $550 million for wraparound services for at-risk students to $675 million, to help rural kids in need.

*While the House version identifies an overdue number of tax breaks to wipe off the state’s books as partial offsets to its tax cuts, it also proposes eliminating at least one -- the state’s motion picture tax credit -- that’s been shown to generate both jobs and income. The film tax credit has been so successful, there’s support in Northeast Ohio to increase that credit, not eliminate it.

POSITIVE ASPECTS

The House budget proposal has praiseworthy provisions, including many of DeWine’s most important and potentially most impactful ideas to give the next generation a leg up. Among them: expanding children’s services funding and addressing the scourge of lead poisoning. Democrats applaud the House budget’s elimination of many unneeded tax breaks.

But the tax cuts are misplaced. Without them, the state budget could earmark more to schools, to jobs programs and to Lake Erie protections.

This budget should be about positioning Ohio for the future. The tax cuts offered by House leadership won’t take us there.

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