Saturday, February 20, 2010



One of the issues that the SCPR believes will certainly surface in Stark County Ohio General Assembly races is that of taxes.

Todd Snitchler reportedly told loyalist Republicans at the Stark GOP's annual McKinley fete on February 4th was that his November opponent (Democrat Todd Bosley) should carry the label of "Taxing Todd" or words to that effect.  Snitchler was referring to Bosley's lead role in getting fellow commissioners (Jane Vignos - R and Harmon - D) to impose a 0.50 of 1 percent increased sales/use tax on Stark Countians in order to support a fix of 9-1-1 and to beef up Stark County's general fund.

Undoubtedly, Snitchler will be adding:  "You know, the Democrats are a 'tax and spend' crowd, should we expect Democrat Todd Bosley to be any different?"

But Snitchler and Stark's other office-seeking Republicans have their own cross to bear on tax issues.

And the name of that cross is John Kasich who will be opposing Governor Ted Strickland in November.

Kasich has come out with a plan to eliminate Ohio's income tax which raises about one-third of the total revenue needed for Ohio government.

One effect of the Kasich plan will be to put more of the tax burden on the "less able to afford" crowd.  Look at the graph above.  The very rich in Ohio pay about 6.4%  (compared to 12% by the very poor) of the total tax burden; however, they (the very rich) pay more in income taxes than any other category of taxpayers.
So an elimination of the income tax means that the very well-off will be paying even less than 6.4% of Ohio's expense of government.

That's bad enough.  But there is more.

Kasich's plan will undermine local government big time.  

Remember Ken Blackwell (Strickland's opponent) in 2006?  He had a scheme, too.  Here is a general description of the Blackwell plan, (the Tax Expenditure Limitation - TEL) from the news archives of The Free Library (A Taft too far: the Ohio GOP is in shambles--can Blackwell save it?):
This issue is going to be the centerpiece of my gubernatorial campaign," says Blackwell. If approved, the Tax Expenditure Limitation would prevent Ohio's government from growing faster than 3.5 percent, or the combined rate of inflation and population growth, in any single year.
This issue, perhaps, more than any other sank the Blackwell campaign.  Government workers throughout Ohio united (whether Democrat or Republican) to condemn the Blackwell TEL plan. That's a whole lot of people to be "agin ya."

The problem for Republicans Snitchler, Secrest, Oelslager and Schuring as well as commissioner candidates Creighton, Walters and Windham is that the Kasich scheme is projected to cost local governments and libraries in Stark County dearly.

And this is not a bunch of Democrats saying so.  It is the highly respected Ohio General Assembly Legislative Service Commission.(LSC).

Todd Snitchler would, undoubtedly, vouch for the reliability of the LSC.  

In support of his House Bill 65 (calling for phased in performance audits for Ohio government operations) he cited to the SCPR data compiled by the LSC comparing Ohio's budget to the state of Washington which, according to the LSC, saved lots of Money for Washingtonians and therefore would likely to the same for Ohioans.

So what does the LSC (via a ABC News/Money) report have to say about the Kasich plan as it will affect Stark's political subdivisions?

Here is an excerpt on the LSC analysis from the ABC News article:
Legislative analysts have determined that the 10-year tax phase-out — the linchpin of Kasich's campaign to beat Gov. Ted Strickland in November — would cost state and local governments and libraries more than $12 billion by 2020.
An Ohio Legislative Service Commission report, dated Wednesday and obtained by The Associated Press, found the first year of the phase-out would cost $768 million to the state general revenue fund, $30 million in state aid to local governments, and $16 million to public libraries. Those losses would amount to $79 million to cuts to county, city and township governments and local libraries in fiscal year 2011, the second year of the current state budget.
 How are Stark Republican candidates going to deal with:
  • $30 million in state aid cuts to local governments
  • $16 million in cuts to public libraries
  • $79 million in axing to county, city (presumably, also villages) and township governments.
To be sure, Governor Strickland has some hair-brained ideas that will hurt Stark Countians, if implemented.

The question is:  will local Democrat candidates just roll over for the governor?

The campaign has began and the overall concern of Stark Countians should be:

Will Stark's office-seekers be true to Stark Countians or will they parrot the party line coming out of Columbus?

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