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VOICES: Ohio is ready to eliminate the income tax

Published By Dayton Daily News on February 2, 2024
Adam Mathews In The News

Last week, along with Senators George Lang and Steve Huffman, Representative Brian Lampton and I introduced legislation to once and for all eliminate the income tax for all Ohioans and the Commercial Activity Tax (CAT) by 2030. Ohio is ready to reclaim our role as the economic engine of the Midwest. This first step ensures Ohio is a destination for businesses to grow and attract people who want to work and live here, raise a family, and truly thrive.

The time is now to begin, yet we recognize that change doesn’t happen overnight. The Ohio income tax was instituted in 1971, and we have lost congressional seats in every single census since. To dig out of that rut has taken a similar time.

Currently, we have three tax brackets, with a top rate of 3.99%. With a phased-in plan, we would have a blueprint for how to get us to 0% by 2030. There are slightly different paths to getting there, but the destination is still the same.

Starting this year, we would consolidate our tax brackets from three to two. These would decrease yearly until we have one bracket and then full elimination, ultimately making Ohio the tenth state with no income tax in 2030.

Our small and mid-sized businesses are the heart of Ohio’s economy. Eliminating the CAT shows how committed we are to that mission of. ensuring Ohio is the ideal place to start and run a business, to be the place where every entrepreneur’s dreams can be realized. From the Wright Brothers to Intel, innovation should be in Ohio.

For Ohio, it is a matter of competitiveness. We compete with our neighboring states for businesses looking to open, expand, or relocate their operations. If we look to the east or west, our income tax rates are higher. Ohio is exceptional and must rise to the challenge of finding new ways to set ourselves apart. In just two years, we could have the lowest income tax rate in the region and after that, become a beacon of economic freedom.

In population growth and migration, we are in the middle of the pack, both regionally and nationally with nearby states with similar weather but better tax policies beating us. Predictably, states with no income tax such as Tennessee and Florida are in the top 5 destinations, with their tax climate being a contributing factor. At every level of income, we would not only be encouraging people to move here but have people choosing to stay here as well.

We must seize this opportunity to take a fresh perspective on how our tax dollars are being spent. By providing permanent tax relief, we will also be looking at ways to ensure that, as taxpayers, you are getting the best return on your investment.

There isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach to finding revenue streams, but instead, looking and seeing what works, what makes sense, and more importantly, what doesn’t.

We know we can’t do this alone. As such, this conversation includes you and everyone around the state. Over the next few months, we will be in your communities, listening to you and having these discussions in person. Now is the time to think boldly, and we are going to do it together.

Ohio has incrementally cut and simplified the income tax consistently for over two decades.

Now, bold action is necessary and possible, as we reign in the size of government, simplify taxes, and empower businesses and families to thrive.

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