Income tax cut coverage
Gov. John Kasich’s legislative action plan includes a reduction in the state income tax, dropping it to less than 5 percent for top-bracket taxpayers and netting Ohioans $174 million over the next three years.
Kasich would finance the reduction in the income tax, in part, by selectively raising taxes. His proposals include a new tax on oil drillers, a 15 percent hike in the Commercial Activity Tax and a significant boost in the tax on cigarettes and other tobacco products, including electronic cigarettes.
Hiking the cigarette tax would have the most direct impact on individual Ohioans, with smokers seeing the state tax on a pack of cigarettes rising from $1.25 to $1.85.
That is estimated to generate about $850 million over three years, which would help offset the revenue lost because of the cut in the income tax. It also could result in a healthier Ohio in the long run if the rising cost of cigarettes persuades smokers to kick the habit….
The American Cancer Society, the American Heart Association and the American Lung Association support Kasich’s proposal. The tobacco industry and representatives of retailers oppose it as a regressive move singling out a specific class of Ohioans.
Smoking is a choice, and an unhealthy one. Making it more costly in Ohio could, indeed, help provide the revenues Governor Kasich is seeking to cover an income tax cut. Better yet, it could end up saving lives. — Kent-Ravenna Record Courier
Democracy is not served
In April, the United States Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in the case, Susan B. Anthony List and Coalition Opposed to Additional Spending and Taxes (COAST) v. Driehaus.
The case is of special local interest for at least two reasons: First, it unites perhaps the most diverse set of political voices ever assembled before the Supreme Court; Second, it directly involves COAST, which is represented by well-known Cincinnati attorney, Christopher Finney.
While the court has been asked to address a narrow technical issue of when a challenge may be brought, it is going to wrestle with the broader question of whether a law that makes it a crime to make a “false” statement in political campaign advertising, such as currently exists in Ohio and several other states, violates the United States Constitution. Should the veracity of campaign rhetoric be judged by individual voters as they weigh competing claims in the hurly-burly of political campaigns — where one person’s “facts” are another person’s “lies” — or by election board bureaucrats?
Democracy is not served by such an outcome. The Supreme Court should, and almost certainly will, declare Ohio’s false-statement campaign law to violate the First Amendment to the Constitution. Regardless of one’s politics, everyone should be grateful to SBA and COAST for pressing the issue, as the right outcome will benefit even those who strongly disagree with them. — The Cincinnati Enquirer