The Buckeye Institute, an established think tank based in Ohio, has released its latest economic report, assessing the current state of economic affairs in Ohio and making recommendations to improve the overall financial health of the state.
In the report, The Buckeye Institute discovered that the current state budget surplus could create more than 2,000 new jobs if used effectively. This could go a long way to ensuring the past years of economic growth continue in the Buckeye State.
Despite a few hiccups, years of steady economic growth have left policymakers in Ohio with a budget surplus of $210 million, according to the Buckeye Institute’s report titled Sustaining Economic Growth: Tax and Budget Principles for Ohio. If the state were to return the surplus to the taxpayers through lowering taxes for individuals and businesses, it could create 2,100 new jobs for the state.
This was among the four key points recommended by the report, which also suggested:
1) lowering Ohio’s commercial activity tax and the individual income tax;
2) simplifying Ohio’s tax code, standardizing municipal tax collections, and making local governments more efficient;
3) returning recent budget surpluses to families and businesses through lower taxes, which would lead to 2,100 more jobs annually;
4) tying state spending to inflation and population growth.
In contrast, some Democratic legislators are encouraging the state to allocate these funds to the Ohio Department of Transportation to focus on repairing roads and bridges instead. They hope that this could mean the planned gas-tax increase in Ohio could be done at a lower rate.
However, the surplus of $210 million is nowhere near enough to address the current $1 billion funding gap the Department of Transportation is currently facing. Even if the surplus could cover the cost, it would only serve as a short-term solution while returning the surplus to the taxpayers, if the Buckeye Institute’s report is accurate, would be a far more sustainable option.
The 2020-2021 biennial budget is currently under review.
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Andrew Shirley is a reporter at Battleground State News and The Ohio Star. Send tips to firstname.lastname@example.org.