Today, Americans for Tax Reform (ATR) expressed its disappointment with Lancaster, Ohio Mayor David Smith, a nominal Republican who has proposed a multi-million dollar income tax increase rather than embrace the spending reforms of Issue 2. Soon after the layoffs of 13 city firefighters because of spiraling labor costs, Mayor Smith opted to push a large tax hike rather than concede that Issue 2 will prevent such sudden layoffs and preserve response times for police and fire fighters.
ATR President Grover Norquist issued the following statement:
Apparently Mayor Smith has not been paying much attention to current events in Columbus, so I offer a quick primer: Republicans chose to balance the state budget without painful tax increases, in fact reducing Ohio’s overall tax burden. Now, they have set out to give local governments the flexibility to balance their own budgets without job-killing tax increases or disruptive layoffs of first responders. The way to achieve this is to uphold Senate Bill 5 next week by passing Issue 2.
Unfortunately, Mayor Smith has no interest in avoiding tax increases or layoffs. Instead, he seeks to make a political point by allowing the layoffs to happen, blame others for his mistake, and then push for a multi-million dollar tax increase to somehow save the day. This is a strange approach.
Ohioans have made clear that they are tired of the tax-and-spend-and-blame game that had become so popular in the state over the past decade. So rather than whining about the current state of affairs, I’d advise the Mayor to embrace the fundamental reforms of Issue 2, get labor costs under control, and retract his previous flirtation with massive tax increases.
Similar to many politicians in Washington, D.C., Mayor David Smith chose tax hikes in lieu of the challenging task of governing, which requires making difficult decisions to reform government. Ohio has averaged 1,105 local tax hike proposals over the past six years – this is simply more of the same coming from Lancaster. But it is not too late to reverse course. I urge him to do so.