The council of the village of Amelia recently approved imposing a one percent earnings tax on people who live or work in Amelia. The need to maintain State Route 125 was a major reason given for initiating this regressive income tax.
State Route 125 runs through at least three counties and should be the responsibility of the state; it should be maintained by the state. But the state legislature with a Republican majority has shifted that responsibility to local municipalities. This is yet another example of a massive tax shifting policy inaugurated by the Republican Party who has dominated our state government for decades. Since 2005 these legislators have reduced the top tax rate for earners making over $250,000 from 7.185% to 4.33%. These so-called “pass through” laws exclude taxing the first $250,000 for sole proprietors and LLC corporations forever. The result is a major reduction in tax revenue for the entire state. So the state shifts the burden to small municipalities and villages.
Republicans have been remarkably effective in shifting the tax burden away from their donor class and corporations onto the middle-class. Meanwhile, essential services such as police, education, first responders, infrastructure repair, and many other public services must be maintained. And costs for these public services are ever increasing, just like everything else. The Republican tax shifting game also came in the form of an increase in the state sales tax by a full point in 2013. And there have been many other sales tax increases through the years that shift the tax burden to middle-class citizens. Tax shifting also moves the burden of financing public services to county and municipal governments. This has resulted in many villages and towns in Clermont and Brown County initiating income taxes, usually 1% to 2 %. Flat income taxes are very regressive and hurt the most vulnerable and middle-class citizens first. Another way the Republicans have shifted taxes can be seen in the myriad of levies and bond issues that have been passed or proposed that directly affect the property owning middle-class.
These Republican tax shifting policies are a result of their failed trickle-down economic policies. Trickle-down economics is the theory that if you give tax breaks to the wealthy and the large corporations they will use that windfall to increase wages for their employees and invest in the communities where they are located. That has never happened. Not here or anywhere. Ohio is falling in education quality. Ohio is consistently below the national average in employment and wages. Current Republican policies have hurt Ohio and our trajectory is toward becoming a poor state rather than the great middle-class state we have always been. We must change our direction. Let’s turn this sinking ship around and strengthen our middle-class rather than catering to the very rich.
Jeff Richards is a lifelong resident of SW Ohio, a retired salesman and father of two adult sons. He is the Democratic candidate for Representative for the Ohio State House District 66.