Republicans haven’t hit this issue hard enough yet, but it is up to them to inform voters that Gov. Ted Strickland just raised their state income taxes by 4.2%.
As Tom Blumer of Bizzyblog.com fame noted on Newsbusters, the Ohio dinosaur media has completely bought the Strickland-approved wording of “tax-freeze” or “tax delay.” (emphasis mine):
Associated Press, Steve Majors
Ohio tax cut delay means less for taxpayers
Ohioans will pay more in 2009 taxes than expected because a budget compromise that cleared the Legislature on Thursday night delays the last in a series of tax cuts begun four years ago.
…. For the majority of Ohioans, the tax change means they will have to forgo tax savings of less than $150.
…. The deal resolved what had been increasingly tense negotiations between Strickland and Democratic lawmakers on one side, and Republicans loath to suspend a tax cut on the other.
…. Minority House Republicans opposed the deal because they viewed the tax change as a job killer.
…. “This is a temporary delay. I have no intention of making it anything other than a temporary delay,” Strickland said.
Cleveland Plain Dealer, Aaron Marshall, December 17
Strickland, Senate Republicans and House Democrats reach state budget deal
Gov. Ted Strickland and state legislative leaders struck a state budget deal late Wednesday after a late-night bargaining session.
The deal uses the delay of a 4.2 percent state income tax cut that began in January to plug an $851 million hole in the education portion of the state budget. The budget fix had been proposed by Strickland and approved by House Democrats on Oct. 21 but Senate Republicans had been balking at supporting it for months.
Cleveland Plain Dealer, Aaron Marshall, December 18
State lawmakers pass state budget; income tax reduction put off
You will end up paying a little more in state income taxes than you would have otherwise.
But Ohio schools are saved from drastic funding cuts, and state universities will construct a few buildings differently, hoping to achieve savings.
That’s the bottom line of a state budget deal expected to hit Gov. Ted Strickland’s desk today ….
Postponing the cut will reduce the size of the refund that most taxpayers would otherwise expect to receive after filing their taxes ….
…. Senate Republicans voting against the deal labeled it a tax hike.
…. Despite what is shaping up to be a spirited 2010 gubernatorial campaign against former Republican U.S. Rep. John Kasich of Columbus, Strickland said he isn’t worried about being labeled “Tax Hike Ted” for leading the fight to delay the income tax cut.
Dayton Daily News, Laurie Bischoff, December 17
State lawmakers reach deal to patch budget
State lawmakers on Thursday, Dec. 17, agreed on a deal to patch an $851 million hole in the budget and avert massive cuts to 600 school districts serving 1.8 million students.
“I think this is a victory for Ohio. I think it’s a victory for our schools,” Gov. Ted Strickland said.
The agreement delays a 4.2 percent income tax rate cut — scheduled to take effect this year — until 2011. Ohioans will pay $851 million more in income taxes over the next two years.
Columbus Dispatch, Jim Siegel, December 18
Budget deal sealed after late-night debate
Schools saved from further pain, but tax cuts postponed
Schools, libraries and other social services will not face further cuts, but many Ohioans will either pay more or get back less when they file their income taxes next year under a contentious plan to fix the $851 million budget shortfall.
State lawmakers gave final approval late last night to delaying for two years the 4.2 percent income-tax cut that took effect in January.
…. Democrats call it a tax rate freeze. Republicans called it an increase that, considering the multibillion-dollar projected budget in 18 months, is unlikely to be only temporary.
…. Income-tax withholdings in 2009 were set assuming the income tax cut would remain, so most taxpayers have withheld too little, meaning they will owe money to the state or get smaller-than-expected refunds when they file returns in the first quarter of 2010.
Toledo Blade, Jim Provance, December 18
Deal reached to patch hole in Ohio schools budget
GOP yields crucial 5 votes to delay cut in income tax
Forget that latest income tax cut you’ve seen in your paychecks for the last 11 months.
Lawmakers and Gov. Ted Strickland yesterday broke a long-awaited deal to patch an $851 million hole in the state’s education budget by delaying for two years the final 4.2 percent installment of a total 21 percent cut set in motion in 2005.
…. With withholding rates largely having run their course for the year, the state expects to recoup roughly $844 million to apply to the $851 million hole when taxpayers file their returns next spring, with many getting smaller refunds than expected.
…. House Minority Leader Rep. Bill Batchelder (R., Medina) called the tax adjustment a “job killer” that would hit many small businesses particularly hard.
“This tax is retroactive, going back to the first of the year that we’re in now,” he said. “The first of 2009 nobody knew they had to pay this tax.”
Marietta Times, Evan Bevins, December 19
Tax cut delay hits 2009 returns
Thursday’s approval of Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland’s plan to delay a tax cut will cost a majority of residents less than $70.
For the 20 percent of taxpayers making more than $76,000, the difference will be in the three- or even four-digit range.
The Ohio Senate narrowly approved the proposal Thursday as a way of filling an $850 million hole opened in the upcoming budget when a court challenge put Strickland’s plan to allow video slot machines at state horse-racing tracks on hold.
But if you really think this is a delay, doesn’t that imply that you will receive this “delayed” revenue sometime in the future? I wouldn’t hold my breath for that, as this small “delay” will generate more than $1 billion for the state and in the face of somewhere between $6-8 billion deficit next budget, your refund has been delayed into perpetuity… with the chances of future tax increases becoming increasingly likely.
And to make matters worse, individuals and businesses who planned out their financial plan for the year just had their tax levels adjusted RETROACTIVELY. So in addition to this increasing taxes by 4.2%, it is incalculable to measure to true financial burden of individuals not being able to properly plan their financial situation.
This debate over semantics reminded me a lot of an old episode of the Simpsons, where Lisa Simpson becomes president and has to reword the tax increase to “soften the blow.” (The other clip is shamelessly borrowed from the talented Marc Kovac.)
Notice Strickland’s unusual wording in the clip above:
1) “I hope they depend on which side has the most effective media team.”
2) “The public WILL sort this out. I think the public…. has a way…. of NOT understanding the specifics of an issue.”
Ted Strickland HOPES they depend on which side has the most effective media team, as he knows the MSM statehouse reporters have already shown themselves happy to spin this issue in the way his communications team sees fit. And statement #2 appears to be Strickland losing his train of thought and his mental health issues are kicking in, OR he is admitting that he believes the public will sort this out without fully understanding that this is a 4.2% increase in come taxes.
Ted Strickland just raised taxes, and 7 pathetic Ohio Republican legislators made it happen. It is now time for John Kasich to make Ted wear his tax increase as if it were his new running mate.