Gov. John Kasich (R) wants to get the top income tax rate in Ohio down below 5 percent, Cincinnati.com reported Thursday. The speech came 18 days after Kasich signed a budget that gives top earners in the Buckeye State a $6,000 per-person tax cut while raising the burden faced by the poorest 20 percent of the state.
The new budget took the state’s income tax rates down by 10 percent across the board, but features a 4.5 percent hike to sales taxes that disproportionately impact the poor. The Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy analyzed the plan and found that it cuts the overall tax burden of the top 1 percent of Ohio earners by $6,083 per year. That group includes people making over $335,000 annually. Folks in the $33,000 to $51,000 earnings range, the middle of Ohio’s spectrum, will see just a $9 tax cut. And for the poorest fifth who earn less than $18,000 per year, taxes are going to go up by $12. That increased tax burden on the poor comes despite a new credit targeted at low earners, and other tweaks to Kasich’s even more regressive original proposal.
One bright spot in Kasich’s initial budget proposal was his effort to expand Medicaid eligibility. But the legislature stripped that expansion out of the measure, replacing it with language that would prevent such eligibility improvements in the future. Kasich used his line-item veto to strike that restriction, holding the door open for broadening the health care safety net in the state when the legislature comes back into session. But for the next year at least, the only major healthcare changes for Ohioans are the budget’s sweeping restrictions on access to reproductive care for women.