By State Rep. Elgin Rogers
Ohio House Republicans have introduced House Bill 1, which would see Ohio establish a flat tax on all income over $26,000 at 2.75 percent. I strongly oppose HB 1. If passed and implemented HB1 will be devastating to residential property owners and farmers. It will automatically increase property taxes and adversely affect Commercial Agricultural Uses Values. This bill as presented is bad for Ohioans. One can liken this legislation and its intent to “shifting the chairs on the deck of the Titanic.”
This tax proposal, more of a tax shift, would essentially tax everyone at the same rate, regardless of their income level. At first glance, this might sound fair. However, it would hurt low-income and middle-class families the most. By taxing income at a flat rate, local governments will be forced to raise property taxes in order to maintain vital government services.
For farmers, this would be particularly devastating. Many farmers operate on very thin profit margins, and a tax shift like this would increase their tax burden at a time when they are already facing significant challenges. We need to be supporting our farmers, not increasing their property taxes. This could lead to even more consolidation in the agriculture industry, as small and mid-sized farmers are forced out of business.
Similarly, homeowners would also be drastically impacted by the Republican’s plan. Property taxes are a significant source of revenue for local governments, and this flat tax system would strip that revenue away. This money is necessary to provide essential services like schools, libraries, fire departments, and police departments. Local governments will be devastated; even if they raise property taxes, they may be unable to provide the same level of service to the community. We will see more levies placed on the ballot for citizens to consider.
Under this flat tax system, the wealthy would end up paying less in taxes overall. Meanwhile, low-income and middle-class families would be left with higher property taxes as local governments are forced to recoup lost revenue. Working-class households earning between $23,000 and $47,000 per year will only see a $1 tax cut. Meanwhile, the wealthiest one percent of households making over $617,000 per year will get an $11,000 tax break. This would only exacerbate the wealth gap in our state as the rich get richer and the poor get poorer. Our libraries and public schools will be decimated as Ohio’s richest residents line their pockets. It’s simply not fair or sustainable.
To help make ends meet from the unimaginable cost of this bill, you’d need to shift billions of dollars from things like schools and local governments to offset the cost of the tax cuts. This does nothing but weaken Ohio’s economic potential and our children’s ability to earn a quality education at public schools.
The Ohio politicians must understand that you cannot take Ohioans for granted. If you gut our local governments, public schools, libraries, and other essential government services, people will leave. We must put people over politics and invest in Ohioans, who deserve the best.
Our economy isn’t working for working people anymore. Yet, politicians in power want to tip the scales even more in favor of the wealthy. We need a tax system that is fair, progressive, and sustainable. HB1 is not fair nor does it make sense to increase the property tax burden. However, together, we can stop this.
Please call your local state representative and/or email Tell them “NO”on HB 1.
Shifting the chairs on the deck of the Titanic won’t solve our problems. We need to focus on real solutions that benefit all of our citizens, not just the wealthy few.
Representative Elgin Rogers, Jr. represents Ohio’s 44th House District which covers (Toledo, and parts of Wood, Ottawa, & Lucas counties).