February 2007 News from Policy Matters Ohio

- February 20, 2007
   

Exempt from Scrutiny – Ohio tax credits, exemptions and deductions may sap up to a quarter of the states’ tax base, yet many of these tax expenditures receive no regular scrutiny apart from a biennial review of state revenue losses. Our new report, Exempt from Scrutiny: Tax Breaks in Ohio, takes a look at these often unexamined and costly breaks, and provides recommendations to eliminate unneeded tax expenditures and make the others more transparent. Read it here.

Borrowing Troubles – The number of payday lending shops in Ohio catapulted from 107 locations in 1996 to 1562 in 2006, a more than fourteen-fold increase in a decade, according to a new report, Trapped in Debt: The Growth of Payday Lending in Ohio from Policy Matters Ohio and the Housing Research & Advocacy Center. These stores are now more common than McDonalds, Burger King and Wendy’s restaurants combined in Ohio, and are in all but two Ohio counties. The high-interest, high-fee loans these lenders push can wreck havoc on borrowers and communities but we provide policy solutions that can help. Read more here. Learn about the Housing Research & Advocacy Center here.

EITC Gains, RAL Drains – The earned income tax credit brings millions of dollars into legislative districts across Ohio, but roughly one-third of those receiving the credit buy a costly refund anticipation loan. We use data from the IRS and the Brookings Institution to show how the EITC helps working families in every Ohio legislative district here. For more on the Cuyahoga Earned Income Tax Credit Coalition, go here.

Energy in Action – There were some incredibly impressive presentations made earlier this week at the summit for the Apollo Alliance for Good Jobs and Clean Energy from NY Senator Hillary Clinton, PA Governor Ed Rendell, MA Governor Deval Patrick, CO Governor Bill Ritter, or Apollo Alliance President Jerome Ringo. Now that’s renewable power!

Internships – Policy Matters seeks (alas, unpaid) interns for our Cleveland and Columbus offices to assist with research, media, outreach and advocacy on wages, economic development, energy, tax policy, and worker well being. Learn about Internships here.

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The quiz –
1. How much did the Ohio Department of Taxation estimate that tax expenditures would cost Ohio in the next fiscal year?

2. What’s the typical annual percentage rate of interest on a payday loan in Ohio?

3. How many people in my legislative district got the Earned Income Tax Credit and how many bought exploitative refund anticipation loans?

Click here for the answers.

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