Blackwell Unveils Plan to Overhaul State Taxes

Dayton Daily News - October 4, 2006

Dayton Daily News

By William Hershey

COLUMBUS — J. Kenneth Blackwell, the Republican candidate for governor, on Tuesday unveiled a plan to overhaul the state personal income tax system that he said would provide $1.2 billion in tax cuts for Ohio families and small businesses.

Blackwell, Ohio secretary of state, rolled out the proposal on the eve of today’s gubernatorial debate about the economy, against his Democratic opponent Ted Strickland, a U.S. House member from Lisbon.

In a press release, Blackwell said he would overhaul the personal income tax system in his first 100 days as governor.

Previously Blackwell had called for converting Ohio’s nine-rate personal income tax system over four years to a single-rate system, with a target rate of 3.25 percent. A study released Monday by Policy Matters Ohio, a Cleveland-based research group, said that such a system would increase taxes on most Ohioans while the richest Ohioans would reap thousand of dollars on average of tax savings.

Tom Norris, chief policy director for Blackwell’s campaign, said no one would pay higher taxes under the plan announced Tuesday.

The goal still is a single-rate system, but the plan would immediately remove four of the current nine brackets and assure that Ohioans now paying less than a 3.25 percent rate would receive a rate freeze and keep current deductions, the release said.

The plan would eliminate the income tax for taxpayers earning less than $20,000 a year, removing 900,000 filers from the tax rolls and cutting taxes for more than 300,000 small-business owners who pay primarily business taxes through their personal income taxes, the release said.

Keith Dailey, Strickland’s spokesman, said the plan “just doesn’t add up.”

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