Tuesday, February 08, 2005

GOP Tax Shell Game

Congress & Bush cut taxes for rich and big business - cut aid to states - increase spending - go into massive debt.
States cannot go into debt, they raise taxes & fees that primarily hurt poor & middle class - cut aid to cities & townships.
Cities face choice of raising taxes or laying off police & fire or gutting services - despite all manner of austerity measures.

The proof is plain to see when looking at the city, state and federal budgets together.

Tonight City Council passed a $450 million 2005 budget that's the tightest in years - we just escaped laying off police and fire, just saved regular garbage pick-up, barely avoided a regressive new garbage tax.

Our budget includes $18 million in revenue from the State's Local Government Fund. Our tax dollars, sent to Columbus, being returned to us to pay for police, fire and essential city work.

Gov. Taft announced today tax reform that a) cuts the state income tax 21% across the board (read: huge tax giveaway to wealthy in Ohio) b) offsets some of that lost revenue with tasty items like a 3% hike on our electric bills and an expaned sales tax c) dramatically reduces taxes businesses pay with the hope/prayer they'll use their windfall to hire people rather than give it to their shareholders d) all but certainly will result in a cut to the Local Gov't Fund, thereby blowing a hole in our City of Toledo 2005 balanced budget. (as of 2/10, looks like 05 level unchanged, 06 to be cut by $3.6 million, if Taft gets way with Legislature.)

And then there is President Bush. Two tax cuts soon kicking in will cost $200 billion over ten years. Their sole beneficiaries: individuals who earn $200,000 and up. (the Pease amendment and the personal exemption phase out) Huge increases that'll go to defense contractors, huge cuts to states and cities, and heartless decisions such as doubling the cost of prescription drugs for our nation's veterans.

If Taft and Bush really wanted to "unleash our economic potential" they would address the number 1 increasing cost factor for businesses - health care. Employer-financed health care has badly damaged competitiveness and profitablity.

We will fight back. Friday I'll be on Capitol Hill to deliver a letter to the Ohio delegation describing the impact of the President's budget on Toledo. In the next few weeks I'll head to Columbus with rep's from Toledo's safety forces and local governments to advocate against a hit to Local Gov't Funds. Mayor Ford and County Commissioner President Skeldon Wozniak spoke tonight at Council recommending a summit here in NW Ohio to flesh out palpable solutions for state legislators.

They could start by sticking up for local police & fire and against another windfall tax giveaway to those who don't need it. Our tax system shouldn't only focus on rewarding "investment" but also reward "work."

(In the past 25 years, the bottom 60% of ohio workers have seen no real hourly wage growth, over the same period, Ohio's top 10% have realized a 19% gain. Give the bottom 60% the income tax cuts - Ohio has already socked them for historic sales tax and college tuition increases, to say nothing of the utility increases approved by the State.)


Blogger Frank said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

10:19 AM  
Blogger Frank said...

2/10/05 -- Gov Taft announced today he will ask the Legislature to cut the Local Govt Fund 20% for cities and counties; 10% for villages and townships and 5% for libraries. The City of Toledo 2006 budget will take a $3.6 million hit if the Governor gets his way.

12:15 PM  
Blogger Frank said...

2/10/05 -- Detroit News today reports GM CEO will visit 16 states to advocate for overhaul of health care. GM expects their costs to rise $1 billion this year.


5:07 PM  
Blogger harriet said...

Is the man out of his head? Most governors, whether they are dems or reps., understand the need to pay the bloody bills. If anything, the states need to arm themselves against Bush's insane policies. Taft has not been the worst Republican governor we've ever had. I'm stunned that he's doing to Ohio's cities what Bush did to the states. I'm so envious that NY will be able to vote for Elliot Spitzer. I hope Coleman will be as effective an advocate for Ohio.

6:50 PM  

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