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The League of Women Voters of Metropolitan Columbus

News

Lawmakers urged to support postponing tax reduction

Friday, Oct. 9, 2009

In a letter to central Ohio's legislators today, the League of Women Voters of Metropolitan Columbus urged lawmakers to support the Governor's plan to postpone final implementation of the 2005 tax cuts in order to preserve funding for education.

The letter, in response to an action alert issued by the League of Women Voters of Ohio, was sent to:

The full text of the letter follows:

On behalf of the board of the League of Women Voters of Metropolitan Columbus and our hundreds of members across central Ohio, I urge you to support the Governor’s proposal to postpone the final reduction included in Ohio’s five-year 21 percent tax cut. Without this step, Ohio will be forced to make even more drastic cuts in education funding or to health, human, and other essential government services.

Ohio is facing a large budget deficit following the ruling by the Ohio Supreme Court that the authorization for video lottery terminals (VLTs) provided for in Am. Sub. HB 1 (the biennial budget) is subject to referendum. Petitions are being circulated, and it is anticipated that the issue will be on the ballot in November 2010. This would mean the loss of the $851.5 million anticipated VLT revenue, which the state had earmarked for education in the current biennial budget. Governor Strickland has proposed that the gap be closed by delaying implementation of the final 4.2 percent installment of the five-year income tax reduction that began in 2005. It is anticipated that this action would raise $844 million, enough to offset most of the lost VLT revenue.

The biennial budget passed in July included approximately $2 billion in cuts that necessitated drastic reductions in health and human services. These cuts have already undermined the ability of the state to provide essential services at a time when the number of Ohioans in need is increasing dramatically. The loss of an additional $851.5 million would be catastrophic to the education of Ohio’s youth, and education funds cannot be realistically restored by shifting moneys from other human services, given the drastic cuts already made.

The Governor has made the right decision by proposing to delay the last phase of the 21 percent reduction in personal income taxes. Thank you for your consideration of the League’s request to join the Governor, put politics aside, and support this proposal.