Ohio Gov. John Kasich (R) has joined the growing list of Republican governors pushing income tax cuts for the wealthiest citizens of his state, and like those other governors, his plan would raise taxes on the poor to pay for it.
Kasich’s plan would cut income tax rates by 20 percent and some business tax rates in half, and it would pay for the plan by levying sales taxes on goods and services that were previously exempt. Since sales taxes are inherently regressive, Kasich’s plan would raise taxes on the poorest 60 percent of the state’s residents by as much as $77. The top 1 percent, though, would see an average tax cut of $10,369, according to an analysis by Policy Matters Ohio:
The proposal would provide a $10,369 annual tax cut on average to taxpayers in the top 1 percent of the income spectrum, who made more than $335,000 in 2012. The bottom fifth of taxpayers, making less than $18,000 a year, would see an average increase of $63. Those in the middle fifth, making between $33,000 and $51,000 in 2012, would come out about even, averaging an annual tax increase of $8.
The poor in Ohio already pay more of their income in taxes than do the rich. The bottom fifth of Ohio taxpayers pay 11.6 percent of their income in taxes, while the top 1 percent pays an effective rate of 8.1 percent, according to the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy. That disparity exists because of sales taxes: the bottom 20 percent pay 6.7 percent of their income in sales taxes compared to just 1 percent for the wealthiest taxpayers.
Ohio isn’t unique in that situation. Across the country, states tax the poor at higher rates than they do the rich, but that hasn’t stopped Republicans in Nebraska, Louisiana, North Carolina, Kansas, and Indiana from proposing tax plans that would cut taxes for the rich while raising them on the poor.