Ohio’s Buckeye Institute Cautions Against ‘Blind Tax Hikes’

The Buckeye Institute’s Greg Lawson is warning state lawmakers against a “blind” gas-tax hike of 18 cents per gallon as proposed by Gov. Mike DeWine.

“Before accepting Mr. DeWine’s proposal, the General Assembly must do its due diligence and determine whether raising the gas tax by 18 cents per gallon is really right for Ohio and how such an increase can offset elsewhere so that families and businesses don’t shoulder an even greater tax burden,” Lawson wrote in a Wednesday article.

One possible compromise, proposed by State Sen. Rob McColley in the Ohio Senate Transportation, Commerce, and Workforce Committee, is to introduce an income-tax cut to offset any gas-tax increase.

Lawson points out that while “state tax rates have been cut over the past 15 years,” Ohio’s local taxes “still rank 10th highest as a percentage of income according to the Ohio Department of Taxation, and gasoline taxes disproportionately affect the lower income earners and families.”

“That means that any gas tax increase must be offset by other spending or tax cuts,” he suggests.

He went on to praise McColley and Senate President Larry Obhof for “actively looking for such offsets,” and said they should “be applauded for asking the hard questions and searching for even harder answers before just agreeing to pay more at the pump.”

Specifically, for those lawmakers who “contend that offsets are unnecessary or impossible to achieve,” Lawson suggests looking at “income or sales tax reductions, expanding the Earned Income Tax Credit, or any number of the other pork-laden spending projects and programs.”

On Monday night, Lawson participated in a gas-tax forum hosted by the Ohio’s Future Foundation with former Congressman Jim Renacci and Paul Lewis of the Eno Center for Transportation, as The Ohio Star reported.

“In striking the right balance between taxes and necessary infrastructure, policymakers should not make Ohioans pay more in taxes than they already do today,” Lawson concluded his Wednesday article. “Reprioritize state spending. Reduce taxes elsewhere. Rethink government waste. Those are the alternatives to a straight-up gas tax hike that must be seriously weighed and considered.”

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Anthony Gockowski is managing editor of Battleground State News, The Ohio Star, and The Minnesota Sun. Follow Anthony on Twitter. Email tips to anthony.gockowski@gmail.com.
Photo “Greg Lawson” by Greg Lawson. Background Photo “Ohio Capitol” by Alexander Smith. CC BY-SA 3.0.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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