On Wednesday, State Representative Denise Driehaus (D-Clifton) attempted to create a Tax Expenditure Review Board, which would make recommendations to the General Assembly and the Governor about the value of awarding tax credits to entities that receive money from the legislature. Rep. Driehaus introduced an amendment to Substitute House Bill 107 that mirrors legislation (HB 81) she introduced at the beginning of the current General Assembly.
“This is a good government initiative,” said Rep. Driehaus. “Recent reports have shown that tax-payer dollars are sometimes wasted and misused by the entities who receive them. Our state needs smart, strategic investments to weed out government spending that no longer makes sense.”
The Ohio Department of Taxation estimated that in fiscal year 2012 alone, 129 exemptions and credits amounted to more than $7 billion in foregone money to the state’s General Revenue Fund. Many tax expenditures have continued for decades without review, some of them draining the state revenues and providing financial incentives without an accounting for whether or not they serve their original purpose.
The board would consist of seven bipartisan members and would annually examine tax exemptions, credits and deductions. They would then make recommendations to the General Assembly and the Governor, making sure that expenditures are serving their intended purpose.
Rep. Driehaus’ amendment was tabled by Vice Chair McClain in the House Finance and Appropriations Committee with a vote of 19-10.