Friday, February 19, 2010

CERTAINTIES: DEATH AND LIES ABOUT TAXES

Posted By on Fri, Feb 19, 2010 at 10:00 AM

A few weeks ago, the Chillicothe Gazette published an op-ed from the Tax Foundation, the (think tank behind the annual Tax Freedom Day stunt, railing against Ohio's supposedly growth-stifling tax system:

Ohio taxpayers have one of the highest state and local tax burdens in the nation and one of the worst tax climates for business. … Without sensible reforms soon, economic growth opportunities will pass Ohio by and the state's finances will continue to worsen. Cutting the state's tax burden and implementing pro-growth tax reforms can go a long way toward reversing these dismal trends.

"Sensible reforms" — like the massive tax cuts of 2005? We dealt with this nonsense recently, and this week Ohio tax commissioner Richard Levin came out swinging:

No one with a genuine understanding of Ohio taxation would make the kind of outlandish statements that the Tax Foundation recently circulated in a guest column to Ohio newspapers.

Take the group's claim that Ohio's economy could be improved by repealing taxes on "capital stock" and "intangible property."

That's preposterous. Here's the problem with that strategy: Ohio doesn't tax capital stock or intangible property, at least not in any meaningful way.

For example, those supposed taxes on intangible property? They were repealed almost 25 years ago.

I should know. I was there when it happened, serving as deputy tax commissioner for policy at the Ohio Department of Taxation.

In other words, the Tax Foundation's recipe for improving Ohio's economy appears to include repealing business taxes that exist primarily in the Tax Foundation's imagination.

What next? Will they demand a repeal of taxes on pixie dust and unicorns, too?

Read the whole thing. Blind faith in tax cuts played a key role in the deficits that Ohio, and the nation, now struggle with, and the conservative mystics who keep preaching that gospel need to be challenged at every turn. — Frank Lewis

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