Taxing Times in the Buckeye State

October 4, 2006

October in Ohio usually represents one thing – the midpoint in Ohio State Buckeye football season. However, this year Ohio residents also have a hotly contested gubernatorial race that is catching headlines in the tax policy world. From State Tax Today:

“Ohio Secretary of State Ken Blackwell, the Republican gubernatorial candidate, said October 3 that the state should reduce its number of tax brackets from nine to five as a step toward moving to a single-rate state income tax. Blackwell also wants to accelerate from five years to three years the 21 percent income tax cut mandated in the current state budget. Blackwell said in a statement. “Our high taxes chase away good paying jobs and opportunities. As governor, I will cut taxes and create an environment that will bring jobs and prosperity back to our state.”

This high-tax environment in Ohio is a fairly recent occurrence. In 1990, Ohio’s state-local tax burden ranked 30th – well below average. By 1997, Ohio was up to 19th and today Ohio has the third highest tax burden in the nation. State rankings rarely change this rapidly, but over the course of the last 16 years, Ohio taxpayers have painfully seen their state-local tax burden rise significantly faster than their income.

If lawmakers in Ohio aren’t careful, the Buckeye State might lose its reputation as a hotbed for college football and become known as a breading ground for high taxes.

To read recent Tax Foundation research on Ohio, click here.

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