The Buckeye Institute has been laying the groundwork for a serious discussion about Ohio's budget and tax and regulatory climate for some time. Their "State of the State" report brought to light the fact that government employees earn significantly more than their private sector counterparts in almost every Ohio county. In "The Grand Bargain is Dead," they explained commonsense reforms to public employee compensation that could save the state $2.1 billion — more than 25 percent of the current overspending problem — over the next two years. They've also been the handsdown national leader in government employee wage, salary, and benefit transparency, with the best salary and pension databases in the country (state employees, K-12 teachers, higher education officials, and local employees).
Now Buckeye is addressing the revenue side of the ledger. The way Ohio (and the U.S. Congress) spends taxpayer dollars is unsustainable, but many Ohioans are unaware of just how big a chunk of their income government consumes. Now, with Buckeye's new Tax Calculator, taxpayers can plug in specifics about their life style (I, for example, do smoke a couple packs of cigarettes over the course of a year) and see a breakdown of how much they fork over to the government.
I plugged in my hometown of Maumee, OH, and pretended that I own a $175,000 house, a car which I drive 15,000 miles per year, and a dog (I'm assuming the Institute even factored in dog licensing fees). I get to keep 62 percent of what I earn at ATR, while 13 percent of my income is confiscated through the federal income tax, 5 percent through state and local income taxes, and 7 percent in property taxes.