House GOP on income-tax cut: Not so fast

Columbus Dispatch - November 1, 2013

Jim Siegel’s piece outlines a divide between Senate and House Republicans in Ohio. Senate leadership supports a bill that would cut individual income taxes by 4 percent, but “House Republicans might have other ideas.”

House Speaker William G. Batchelder, R-Medina, said he is still looking for assurances that $400 million is the correct amount. If it is, he pointed to other issues.

“The veterans are not being adequately treated,” he said. “We have tremendous problems with heroin addiction in this state. We have a lot of problems, and we’d probably look there first … before we do a (tax) cut of that size.”

Batchelder did not yet have details on his spending plans.

Siegel traces the sources of savings under Medicaid expansion: a 5 percent reimbursement rate cut for hospitals while managed health-care plans will be cut 1 percent, prison-system savings of about $27 million, and anticipated collection of another $117 million in sales taxes from services performed under the Medicaid expansion.

Rep. Ron Amstutz, R-Wooster, chairman of the House Finance Committee, said the House will work with the Senate on ideas for the Medicaid expansion money. “We may have some thoughts of our own. We’ll see where that goes.”

Amstutz, who said it’s too early to discuss his own thoughts on using the money, said a tax cut is one option but “I’m not sure where that comes out.”

The House’s Medicaid focus, he said, is on various reform proposals designed to help those on Medicaid and make the program more efficient.

The article cites our finding that the top 5 percent of Ohio earners, those making more than $151,000 a year, would get 42 percent of the tax cut, while the 80 percent of Ohioans earning $54,000 or less would see an average annual tax cut of $28 or less.

“The proposed cut would further tilt the tax system in favor of affluent Ohioans,” said Zach Schiller, research director at Policy Matters, arguing that the money would be better spent on schools, local governments or in protecting the elderly.

House GOP on income-tax cut: Not so fast
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