Archived Story

Budget would cost Ohio jobs

Published 12:00am Sunday, March 31, 2013

Anyone who believes that politics don’t concern them, or that they don’t need to pay attention to what our government is doing, is essentially burying his or her heads in the sand — often until it is too late.

That is certainly the case with Gov. John Kasich’s proposed budget that could impact the lives of nearly every Ohioan in many ways, both positive and negative.

The governor’s plan includes an expansion of Medicaid and a reduction in some taxes but also applying sales tax to virtually every type of service-based industry, most of which have never been taxed at this stage. Industries impacted include legal and accounting services, banking, engineering and design services, finance, real estate and insurance-related industries, advertising, hair stylists, funeral services, dry cleaning, tax preparation, travel agencies and dozens of others.

This part of the governor’s proposal, which would apply a 5 percent tax overnight, would have a tremendous impact on The Tribune and the small businesses of Lawrence County, southern Ohio and the entire state.

Taxing advertising is a mistake.

No other state applies tax to advertising and the concept is flawed for many reasons including the fact it would put Ohio businesses at a disadvantage to those elsewhere, would be a bookkeeping nightmare and would ultimately kill jobs.

Advertisers simply won’t spend as much, and won’t get as much value for their money, with a sales tax that will truly be higher once local taxes are included.

Many components go even further in hurting local businesses. Sales of advertising in print, billboards and on radio and television would potentially be taxed but national broadcast ads would remain exempt. For example, the local hardware store would have to pay sales tax on television and newspaper advertising but Lowes and Home Depot would not face those same taxes on most of their advertising.

The bottom line is the governor’s proposal, as it stands now, would likely cost thousands of Ohio jobs and penalize businesses trying to grow their base through marketing.

It may bolster state coffers but at the cost of our state’s small businesses — the lifeblood of Ohio.

The governor’s plan also continues to cut funding to local government, a move that often translates to larger fees and taxes levied at the local level or drastic cuts to services. It also has virtually no increase in investment for public education here in southern Ohio.

Ask 10 different groups and you will get 10 different answers as to whether or not the proposal actually helps move Ohio forward. The reality is some of it probably does and some of it probably doesn’t.

Policy Matters Ohio, a nonprofit and nonpartisan organization that focuses on researching the impact of economic issues and legislation, recently released a critical analysis of the proposed budget’s impact. This is what the organization had to say.

“The proposal boosts state coffers with $2 billion that historically had been directed to local governments, schools and libraries. At the same time, the administration’s tax proposals would take about a billion dollars out of state revenues while making the state tax structure less equitable, according to the analysis. Broadening the sales tax base is a sound way of strengthening and stabilizing the tax, but the move hurts low-income families more than others. Combining income tax cuts with the sales tax changes means that Ohio’s top 1 percent of earners would get a net cut of more than $10,000 annually, while earners in the bottom fifth would pay on average $63 more each year.”

“This makes our tax system less fair,” said Wendy Patton, senior project director for Policy Matters. “We recommend retaining the current income tax level and adding a state earned income tax credit and a sales tax credit, to offset the sales tax hike for low- and middle-income households.”

But the plan Kasich proposed will likely look far different by the time it makes its way through the Legislature and becomes a reality.

If you, as a citizen, or member of a group or demographic that is impacted, have concerns then now is the time to voice them to our elected officials. All of Lawrence County’s senators and representatives seem to be genuinely interested in doing the right thing for their constituents.

In case you don’t know who they are or how to reach them, here is the contact information for the four men who currently represent Lawrence County. Email forms can be found online.


Ryan Smith

State Representative 93rd District

77 S. High St

13th Floor

Columbus, OH 43215

(614) 466-1366


Terry Johnson

State Representative 90th District

77 S. High St

13th Floor

Columbus, OH 43215

(614) 466-2124


Bob Peterson

State Senator 17th District

Senate Building

1 Capitol Square, Ground Floor

Columbus, OH 43215

(614) 466-8156


Joe Uecker

State Senator 14th District

Senate Building

1 Capitol Square, 1st Floor

Columbus, OH 43215

(614) 466-8082


Gov. Kasich was tasked with a huge undertaking and he has made some positive strides.

Regardless, this is the time to make sure that politics and partisanship aren’t factors and that whatever comes out as the final budget actually helps improve the lives of Ohioans.


Michael Caldwell is publisher of The Tribune. To reach him, call (740) 532-1445 ext. 24 or by e-mail at Follow him on Twitter: @MikeCaldwell_IT.

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