Late on the night of December 17th, 17 Ohio State Senators voted to raise the income tax on the taxpayers of the "Buckeye state." They said that they needed more money, but this was really an act of a government that spends too much and looks to bail itself out on the backs of Ohio taxpayers. This income tax increase in House Bill 318 will cost taxpayers more than $851 million over the next biennium. The Governor’s proposal to raise the income tax passed because of the lack of fiscal restraint shown by the Ohio state government. They took this action rather than reform or cut wasteful spending. See the list of Senators below that betrayed taxpayers at a time when they could least afford it:
Sen. Cafaro  
Sen. Carey    
Sen. Fedor     
Sen. Goodman
Sen. Harris*
Sen. Kearney 
Sen. D. Miller 
Sen. R. Miller 
Sen. Morano 
Sen. Niehaus  
Sen. Sawyer  
Sen. Schiavoni 
Sen. Smith       
Sen. Strahorn  
Sen. Turner    
Sen. Wagoner
Sen. Wilson  

 *Denotes Senate President
For true wisdom concerning the debate as to how the Senate should have approached their unbalanced budget, read the words of Sen. Jim Hughes who voted against the bill.  Click on this artilcle by Jim Siegel in the written in the Columbus Dispatch on December 17th.  Sen. Hughes was quoted as saying, "One of the main things lacking here is we’re not looking at long-term solution.  This is a Band-Aid approach, at best.  We need to look at solutions to save money and tighten our belt."  This is absolutely right.  Legislators were looking in the wrong direction on this income tax hiking bill.
In the Ohio House of Representatives, the bill was decided on a party line vote, Republicans voting against the tax increase and Democrats voting for it. One Democrat in particular that had signed the Taxpayer Protection Pledge voted with his Democrat caucus and broke this Pledge that he had made to the constituents that elected him. Representative Dan Dodd from the 91st House District rather than breaking with his political chose to betray the people that he had made a signed commitment to.

The next step in the process will be Governor Strickland’s signature. Throughout the process, he has disingenuously been calling this tax increase a “freeze” in the rate, but the issue is that it has already been in effect as of January 1, 2009. After seeing two gubernatorial races in 2009 flip from Democrat to Republican due in large part to an overreaching tax and spend Obama administration, he ought to be thinking twice about signing this $851 million plus tax increase. He has until the end of the year to make his decision and for the sake of the taxpayers of Ohio; hopefully he will have a change of heart this holiday season and reject the tax increase that he has been pushing all along.

To see ATR’s press release highlighting the 17 Senators who betrayed Ohio taxpayers and voted for this tax increase, click here.

To see ATR’s letter in response to the Ohio Senate’s vote and suggesting a different approach in the future, click here.

Photo credit: thoth188