Lawmakers to vote on massive tax break expansion
Posted December 08, 2020 in Press Releases
Members of the House Ways and Means Committee meet today to consider Senate Bill 95 which, as passed in the Senate, would double state and local tax breaks for “megaprojects” and their suppliers from 15 to 30 years — among other perks. Riders picked up in the House include a $6 million sales-tax break for dealers in rare coins and bullion, repealed twice by the General Assembly.
“Special interest tax breaks give away public resources without accountability,” said Policy Matters Ohio Senior Project Director Wendy Patton. “Wisconsin won the first ‘megaproject’ competition for a Foxconn factory; state lawmakers promised the company billions in incentives and spent $400 million on special infrastructure, but there’s still no factory.”
Even as SB 95 would vastly expand local tax breaks, it also proposes subjecting local tax abatements to the Tax Expenditure Review Committee (TERC), which lawmakers voted to establish in 2016. While such a review would be worthwhile, the TERC has yet to meet during the current budget period, as required by law. Prior to that, members had just four hearings and quickly approved a roll-over of 15 tax breaks without serious scrutiny, although they represented over $5 billion in public resources given away year after year.
“The state projects a deficit of more than $2 billion this year, and local government budgets are strained as well,” Patton said. “Legislators should take a dim view of giving away badly needed public resources through tax breaks to special interests in the middle of a recession. Instead, they should conduct a review of existing tax breaks as the law requires.”