MUST READ: “Columbus Dispatch” State budget’s targeted tax breaks draw criticism

Policy Matters Ohio recently released a budget analysis showing Gov. Kasich’s budget gives hundreds of millions in tax breaks to the wealthy and special interest, while slashing millions in education and public safety funds. Excerpts of the Columbus Dispatch article by Darrel Rowland follow:

“At the same time that lawmakers were making wide-ranging cuts in the state budget enacted this month, they gave more than $400 million in tax breaks, a public policy group says in a new analysis.

“’Some of the kind of tax breaks we are generating do not have any job requirements attached to them,’ said Zach Schiller, research director of Policy Matters Ohio, a liberal-leaning group based in Cleveland.

“’We’ve got every state trying to do this type of thing, and it’s a zero-sum game…’

“The beneficiaries of these new or extended incentives approved by legislators and Gov. John Kasich range from horse tracks to private operators of the state’s development efforts and Ohio Turnpike to gift cards and customer-loyalty programs to buildings for captive deer.

“’We comprehensively overhauled our business tax system in 2005 under the theory we were cutting large numbers of special breaks and abatements because we would have a tax system that would have lower rates and attract business.

“’Are we in effect saying that’s failed?’ Schiller said.

“Kasich defended his budget approach as “absolutely correct.”

“House Democratic leader Armond Budish of Beachwood agreed with the Policy Matters assessment.

“’It is inexcusable that Ohio’s recently passed budget cuts millions from education, police and fire protection, mental-health services and long-term care for seniors, while giving huge tax cuts to the wealthiest among us and to special interests,’ Budish said.

‘”The effects of the hundreds of millions in lost revenue will be catastrophic, and the burden of fixing it will be left for the next General Assembly, while communities across the state pay the price.’

“The Senate’s version of a state budget called for a panel to study the state’s tax breaks, but that provision was stripped out in the final deal with the House and governor’s office.

…”

Read the full article here.

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