Posted July 01, 2011 in Press Releases
Republicans campaigning for the Statehouse a year ago spent much time championing performance audits. They called for casting a cold, hard eye on state operations, squeezing every possible dime of savings. The recently approved two-year state budget reflects a willingness to whack spending, especially for schools, local governments and many programs for the disadvantaged. What did lawmakers miss? They let slide roughly $15 billion in tax expenditures for the biennium, the many tax credits, exemptions and deductions that work just like spending programs.
Worse, they added to the collection of tax breaks. They even balked at forming a commission that would examine whether the items, some dating to the 1930s and 1950s still serve effectively a sound purpose. The president of the Ohio Senate explained that the legislature already has committees for such work. Yet they haven’t done it.
On Wednesday, Policy Matters Ohio, a Cleveland-based think tank, issued an assessment of the new tax breaks. It noted the creation of InvestOhio, a tax credit for investors in small businesses in the state. A good idea? In principle, perhaps. The analysis notes that an investor would qualify if a company merely continues to pay its current employees. There’s no requirement for adding jobs. The idea suffers from a lack of deliberation. It was dropped into the budget during the conference committee