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House Dems warn rush to flat tax will harm vulnerable Ohioans

Legislature forced to correct small business tax provision in Republican state budget
October 27, 2015
Democratic Newsroom

The Ohio House today passed Senate Bill 208 (SB 208), legislation to correct language enacted in the recently passed state budget that would have inadvertently raised taxes on many small businesses. House Democrats warned that the corrective measure is evidence that a rushed shift to a flat tax could unintentionally harm low and middle-income Ohioans.

“As it turns out, a simple flat tax may not be so simple after all,” said Rep. Jack Cera (D-Bellaire). “When we enact hastily created tax policy, it is little surprise when unintended consequences arise. A rapid shift to a flat tax has the potential to benefit the wealthiest Ohioans while hurting lower and middle class families.”

Cera offered an amendment on the House floor today that would have directed the 2020 Tax Policy Study Commission to consider how changes to state tax policy may impact lower and middle class Ohioans, and would have prohibited the commission from formally recommending any tax policy that would harm those working class individuals. The amendment failed to receive adequate bipartisan support.

“We warned during the budget process that a three percent flat tax would end up hurting many small business owners across the state. Now, just months later, we already have to clean up the mess of a hastily crafted tax policy,” said Minority Leader Fred Strahorn (D-Dayton). “Instead of pursuing a tax policy that benefits the wealthiest Ohioans, we should be investing in our children’s education, rewarding hard work, and building opportunity for the middle class.”

Senate Bill 208 passed the House 84-6.