CLEVELAND — A new report from Policy Matters Ohio indicates the richest 1% of Ohioans contribute an average of nearly $51,000 per year less in state tax revenue than they did 17 years ago.
The report released on Feb. 10 utilized data compiled by the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy.
Guillermo Bervejillo, Researcher with Policy Matters Ohio, told News 5 he believes since 2005 an annual loss of $8 billion in revenue and an upside-down tax code forced Ohioans who are paid the least to pay the highest share of their incomes in state taxes.
“The state budget bill from 2021 had some significant additional cuts," Bervejillo said. “A family in the lowest 20% of Ohio is paying out $164 per year more, which is about a weeks worth of groceries, while the richest 1% of Ohioans are getting nearly a $51,000 paycheck at the end of the year, basically they’re paying that much less in taxes.”
"What the numbers show is that this structure allows corporations to pass on the cost of taxation to consumers more effectively. Thirty percent of that tax cut has gone to the top 1% of Ohio and about 76 to 79% to the top 20% of Ohioans.”
“If you are Black or if you are Hispanic in this state, you are more likely to pay a high tax rate now than you did before because of these tax changes.”
Al Porter, President, Black on Black Crime Inc., which has served low-income neighborhoods in Cleveland and East Cleveland for more than three decades, believes changes in state tax law are needed to ensure there is enough state revenue to adequately help northeast Ohio's poorest communities.
“The numbers to me are alarming," Porter said. “What are we going to do, this report is sounding the alarm in all of our cities, for your Mayors, for your city council members.”
"My message to state lawmakers is you are not being elected by just 1%, so my challenge is that that they make the tax base and the laws equitable to the 99%. Pass the legislation needed to be able to deal with the tax laws, because we’re looking at it as a state, but that also means we’re also paying high taxes on a local level as well.”
Juanita Brent, Ohio State Representative of District 12, admitted state lawmakers have failed working Ohio families.
“The State of Ohio’s state budget is definitely the culprit in this situation, and lawmakers like myself, we are totally the ones responsible for this," Brent said. “We have taken away the top tax bracket within our last state budget, which has allowed $1.8 billion in lost tax revenue.”
“We got rid of the corporate tax and replaced it with the Commercial Activity Tax, which is really affecting our working-class people. We’ve increased the sales tax, but we’ve decreased corporate tax. So every time somebody sees a levy that’s going on the ballot, that basically lets you know that we have made too many tax credits within our state, so now we have to come back to the voters and ask them for more money."
Brent is a co-sponsor of House Bill 59, hoping to get it into hearings this spring. The measure calls for making the earned income tax credit partially refundable for working Ohio families.