"Tax" Is NOT a Four-letter Word

Submitted by Charles Frost on Mon, 01/11/2010 - 21:47.

Just an interesting viewpoint, from a friend's website - http://oldcountrylawyer.us/ - worth visiting, IMO


Old Country Lawyer, July 2009
"Tax" Is NOT a Four-letter Word
This writer had the opportunity to attend the Ohio Democratic Party State Dinner
on June 27, and had the discipline to stay to the end and witness Governor
Strickland's closing remarks. I have had the honor to attend Ted Strickland's
speeches from time to time since the 2006 election campaign, and I have never
before seen Ted in such distress. The Governor's anguish at the necessity of
reducing State services because of the previous administration's gutting of the
State's tax revenues was not overstated when the Governor quoted Jesus of
Nazareth saying "Let this cup pass from my lips."
The process of finding revenue to pay for delivery of State services has three
participants - the Governor, the Ohio House of Representatives, and the Ohio
Senate. The President Pro Tem of the Ohio Senate, Tom Niehaus, Republican
of New Richmond, has been unrepentantly vocal in proclaiming that there will be
no tax legislation passing through the Ohio Senate to fund the operation of the
State. Goaded by the sensationalist media and bedazzled by the hired
manipulators of the super-rich, a vocal minority of the general public tries to seize
publicity any time an increase in government revenues is suggested. The
Governor, and some Democratic legislators, have been wary of drawing the
attention of such individuals, while those individuals watch like vultures for any
suggestion of State elected officials taking steps to raise revenue to pay for State
services that non-rich Ohioans depend upon.
The Governor and the legislators are going to have to take the chance that the
people of Ohio recognize that the services the State provides have to be paid for.
In 2008 about 362 million gallons of gasoline a day were delivered to the pump in
the United States, of which about 12 million gallons a day were delivered in Ohio.
If Ohio increased its gasoline tax by a quarter a gallon, it would generate an
additional 3 million dollars a day, over a billion dollars a year, almost 2.2 billion
dollars over the budget biennium. The Ohio General Assembly should remove
the restriction dedicating gasoline tax revenues to road repair, and tap this
source of a billion dollars a year for general fund expenditures, like not laying off
schoolteachers and librarians. Who does NOT pay the gasoline tax? People
who take the bus, retired folks who don't travel much, farmers who drive exempt
agricultural-use vehicles, eco-enthusiasts who drive electric cars. Who DOES
pay the gasoline tax? Folks who drive big cars and SUV's, that may have been
bought with income they didn't pay taxes on. More than likely nobody notices
when the price of gasoline changes by a quarter a gallon from one day to the
next, so after an artificially-created anti-tax uproar, nobody will care about 25
The State sales tax in general should be a primary source of revenue.
Inattentive "progressives" sometimes deride a sales tax as "regressive", and a
flat sales tax is in fact regressive, falling disproportionately on those who have to
spend all their cash flow to purchase goods and thereby pay sales tax on all of
their cash flow. But Ohio does not have a flat sales tax. Ohio exempts from
sales tax all the things that low-income folks spend their money on. There's no
tax on rent, there's no tax on groceries, there's no tax on medical care. The only
taxable purchases a low-income family makes are soap and clothes. The sales
tax falls on folks who buy televisions and cars and computers, not on those who
take the bus to the library.
More specifically, the sales tax falls on those who have incomes that are not
reported for income tax purposes. Drug dealers and others who make their living
from criminal activity likely do not file an Ohio income tax return for that portion of
their income. The only place the State gets any tax revenue from criminals is
when they spend their ill-got gains on fancy clothes and fancy cars.
So add another half-percentage-point to the general sales tax, and add a quarter
a gallon to the gasoline tax, and do NOT unemploy the safety forces and
teachers and librarians who hold Ohio's communities together while we wait for
the financial industry to turn loose some capital investment money to small
businesses so's there can be some private-sector jobs again. Let the drug
dealers pay a share of Ohio's taxes when they fill the tanks of their luxury SUV's.
- Christopher J. Mallin, Old Country Lawyer
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