Give back tax money in new state budget

Ohio legislators are on the clock this week, as they try to find common ground on a two-year state budget. It must be on Gov. Mike DeWine’s desk by Sunday.

Buckeye State residents will get a tax break under the new $69 billion budget. The only question is: How much?

State senators have approved an 8 percent income tax cut for most individuals and families. Their plan would eliminate the bottom two tax brackets, giving low-income Ohioans a big break.

But House of Representatives members are being more conservative. Their plan is for a 6.6 percent reduction in income taxes.

Enthusiasm for a tax break is low among some Democratic lawmakers. They favor more “investment” in government.

But Republicans who control the General Assembly have a better philosophy. “We’re saying the best investment is to return your money,” state Sen. Matt Dolan, R-Chagrin Falls, told The Associated Press. Dolan heads the Senate Finance Committee.

Dolan is correct. Leaving more money in the pockets of individuals and families — allowing them instead of government to make spending decisions — is both responsible to lawmakers’ constituents and the best way to grow Ohio’s economy. Help is needed in that regard.

Unemployment figures for May showed the rate in Ohio at 4.1 percent — 38th-best in the country and higher than the national rate of 3.6 percent.

That ought to be a cue for lawmakers concerning how much to reduce taxes. The Senate plan should be adopted.

Higher-than-expected revenue for state government mean Columbus can make some of those investments, including additional help for school systems throughout the state.

Giving some of it back — at the 8 percent cut level — makes economic sense. More important, it is the right thing to do for Buckeye State residents.


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