Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Today in the Akron Legal News -- 2010, It's On

Today's Akron Legal News column hooks on the Wednesday after Election Day being, for us politics junkies, the official beginning of the 2010 election cycle. From that I take on a personal bugbear.

Based on what we're hearing from Republican candidates, the narrative is likely to be 1) Strickland has dithered on the economy, hence the lousy economy, and 2) the Republican's positive, innovative, not-just-hatin' proposal is to update Ohio's antiquated business tax system. Rob Portman, for one, was talking up these themes (with a dose of Obama criticism of course) when he visited the Press Club last week. He said that Ohio's tax system was designed for a traditional heavy manufacturing economy with little competition from elsewhere.

So this is what really pisses me off. That was a compelling argument six years ago, and in response Ohio revamped the system. This under a Republican administration and with Republicans in charge of both houses of the legislature. And now Republicans pretend it never happened. Drives me right out of my tree every time I hear it.

So if I have one wish for the coming election season, it is that Republicans who continue to mine this trope get called on it. Specifically I'd like to see a reporter, at least once in a while, ask why we should Candidate R's tax reform to solve all of Ohio's economic challenges when the last reform was sold the same way. And needless to say, economic utopia has not arrived in Ohio.

Of course advocates for tax reform could argue that it worked. For example, Ohio keeps going up in the Site Selection ratings. But that would obviate the rationale for a new reform. But if you argue that the old reform didn't work, your back to square one. What's a tax cutter to do? Apparently pretend that the past reform didn't happen.


Here's the pdf Fact Sheet on what's left of the corporate franchise tax from Ohio Dept of Taxation. Another pdf from Ohio Tax, this one showing how the old taxes are being phased out (09 is the last tax year for both the business personal property tax and corporate franchise.)