Monday, May 11, 2009


Are Ohioans (and, of course, Stark Countians) going to be paying more taxes soon?

For sure!

At least $236 million in state services fee hikes that the Democrat Strickland Administration has already gotten the go ahead from Ohio General Assembly Democrats and Republicans to count on them to vote for the fee increase.

Politicians love to raise fees as alternative to the t-word (taxes).

But you and I are not as stupid as they think we are.

Fee increases are tax increases but the they are tax increases in sets of Ohio citizens; not all Ohioans.

To give you an example of who the fee/tax increase falls upon, take the follow description of the $236 million fee increases published on the Ohio Society of Certified Public Accountants (Ohio CPAs) website:

Gov. Strickland’s 2010–11 state budget proposes to increase fees ... .

The include 120 fee increases include tipping fees for construction projects, a new hospital franchise fee, a doubling of the nursing home bed tax and an increase in the cigarette wholesale and retail licensing fee.

To see whether or not you will have to pay any of the fee/tax increases, CLICK HERE.

Hold on there is more on tax increases.

Yesterday, the SCPR's favorite Ohio Statehouse reporter Dennis Willard of the Akron Beacon Journal (remember Stark County's only countywide newspaper - The Repository - got rid Paul Kostyu, its Statehouse analyst), wrote a compelling piece that indicates to yours truly that Republicans and Democrats are working to set up a tax increase masked so that no one has to bear potential political consequences.

Willard paints a likely picture of how Ohioans' taxes get increased.

He shows that at the end of the legislative session (mind you, the pressure is on because the biennial budget must get passed and signed by the governor not later than June, 30, 2009) with a $8 billion structural budget looming during the course of the budget implementation; the politicians may well devise a scheme to raise taxes.

Because there will be three different budget bills (one each from the Ohio House, the Ohio Senate and Governor Strickland), the Ohio House and Senate will have to appoint conference committees to iron out their legislative differences. The final component is that the Governor, at least with a "wink and a nod," will have to signal he agrees with the reconciliation because of his veto power.

Here is Willard on the possible structure of how a tax increase gets included:

Typically, the conference committee is comprised of the chairmen, vice chairmen and ranking minority members of the Senate and House finance committees, but legislative leaders might decide to pack the panel with lawmakers who are term-limited or from safe districts.

The conference committee's work on the budget goes back to the House and Senate for a concurrence vote only — meaning up or down without amendments.

Lawmakers could blame the conferees for any controversial ideas like a tax increase or casinos by maintaining that they could only vote to accept or reject the budget. (emphasis added)

Plausible deniability isn't the best excuse, but it might be the only course for lawmakers to pursue on the road to re-election in 2010.

What to do?

Contact Representatives Slesnick, Snitchler, Oelslager, Schuring, Shiavone and Okey now.

What is the point of the contact?

Not necessarily to object to a tax increase. But to insist that they do an up or down vote on any tax increase.

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