State Rep. Nick Barborak has had plenty to say about the state budget that Republicans voted for. But there was plenty he failed to mention about the budget he voted against.
That makes sense because disclosing that information would have required him to admit to voting against a budget that increases funding to districts where 80 percent of all K-12 students in Ohio attend school and does not cut funding to any school in the state. This includes funding increases for poorer schools, special education and disadvantaged aid. The budget increased state funding by over $2.1 million for East Liverpool Schools and over $1 million for Salem Schools over the next two years, for example.
Barborak failed to mention any of that. Probably because he voted against it.
If he were addressing reality, he may have actually told the truth and said that all seniors who are currently enrolled in the state's Homestead property tax exemption program will stay on it. Under Democrat Gov. Ted Strickland, the plan expanded to include high-income seniors, forcing taxpayers to subsidize a program benefitting the wealthy. Under the budget proposal, only low-income seniors will be eligible for the exemption, restoring it to its original intent.
Barborak voted against that, too.
He called the budget proposal a "tax shift," which is correct; it shifts the tax burden on individuals and small business owners downward by $2.7 billion. Moving away from an income tax system that punishes success and towards a consumption-based system that taxes actual behavior is a smart and fair way to collect taxes because it gives people greater control over the amount of taxes they pay. And since wealthier residents can afford to buy more goods and services, they will be paying a tax on more goods and services, and will therefore continue to pay more in taxes.
Finally, Barborak steered clear of mentioning that 18 percent of the budget did not even exist during the previous budget debate. A stronger economy leads to more people working, which leads to more people paying taxes and thus greater government revenues. Giving that money back to the hard-working Ohioans who created and filled the jobs that strengthened our economy is the responsible thing to do.
That is the budget Nick Barborak voted against.
David W. Johnson, chairman
County Republican Party