Submitted by Roldo on Mon, 04/14/2008 - 17:39.
You can blame past, present (and future) state representatives for the cutbacks in city budgets. They refuse to go where the money is to find needed tax revenue.
If state law were fair at all, it would allow local communities to tax all sources of income fairly, not primarily the worker’s weekly paycheck.
Ohio doesn’t allow local governments to go after tax revenue where it is. That is to tax people who have the money. Neither do I see local politicians getting exercised by the inequality.
Often low income wage earners who don’t have to pay a penny in federal taxes still have to shell out money they need for their families to pay local income, or payroll, taxes.
Such taxes are unfair, since there are no deductions, as there are with federal taxes, and doubly unfair when you work in a different community than you live. You get taxed, usually with some rebate, in both communities.
Our ancestors would be tossing tea in Lake Erie, or a politician or two.
Cleveland Heights voters in March turned down a small increase in the city income tax. In my opinion, the voters should have.
The Plain Dealer this a.m. spread across its front page a “Cities in Crisis” piece noting that “’Burbs Making Serious Cuts to City Budgets” for various reasons.
Yes, it’s a big problem.
Then why don’t the politicians and the newspaper see a very simple and obvious answer – tax all income, not just paychecks.
If you read the Sunday business pages of the PD you’d know exactly where cities should go to make up revenue shortfalls. Go to those who have it, Don't keep going to those who don’t.
The paper listed the earnings of a few Cleveland area residents on the sales of stock with net gains totaling more than $2.2-million in income.
City taxes on this income: Zero.
But the taxpayer who earns $7 an hour has to pay a city tax usually at least 2 percent, sometimes 3 percent or more.
Why should a low income earner have to pay more than a rich stockholder on their income?
Only because the political system refuses to tax all income at the same level, giving stockowners, for example, a free ride.
The Plain Dealer runs a neat column telling us what top corporate honchos are pulling in from salaries and other sources. It’s called “What the Boss Makes.”
Last Saturday, the Boss examined was Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Edward Crawford of Park-Ohio Holding Corp., of Mayfield Heights.
Crawford earns a base salary of $750,000. He has to pay city income tax on that amount - only 1 percent in Mayfield Heights.
However, Crawford’s income is supplemented by “non-equity incentives,” which they don’t pay clerks at Wal-Mart’s or other working places, of $1,246,920. That’s tax free from Mayfield Heights, as it would be in Cleveland, Cleveland Heights, Parma or anywhere in Ohio.
Then Crawford gets stock awards of $812,583. No city tax on that either.
Then Crawford gets stock option valued at $69, 583. No city tax on that either.
Then he gets $81,446 in life insurance payments, his 401(k), car expenses and club dues. You guessed. No city income tax on that either.
On his total income of $2.9 million, Crawford pays city income taxes on only about one-quarter of his annual earnings. The worker who earns $300 a week pays on 100 percent of his or her income.
Now I don’t mean to pick on Crawford, who helped build a billion dollar business.
However, it does seem a bit unfair that he has income resources that don’t get taxed at all locally while a low income worker gets taxed on the first dollar he makes. And the last one, too.
Cities should stop looking at the same worker to produce revenue when there are plenty of other sources.
Go where the money is – that’s a simple and reasonable solution.