Today Americans for Tax Reform sent a letter to Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland asking him once again to sign the Taxpayer Protection Pledge, a written promise to constituents to oppose and veto all tax increases. After his $844 million income tax increase less than a year ago, Strickland refuses to sign the Pledge and rule out a future similar mistake. His opponent, John Kasich, has signed the Pledge and definitively taken tax increases off the table.
Strickland’s rhetoric diverges from reality when it comes to his record on taxes. In December of 2009, with the unemployment rate at 10.8 percent, the governor signed House Bill 318, which raised taxes on Ohioans of all income levels. He used the $844 million in higher taxes, coupled with billions of federal bailout dollars, to temporarily sustain state government’s overspending problem.
But Strickland continues to insist that he cut taxes during his first term. The only income tax relief over the past four years came from a phased-in tax cut signed by the governor’s predecessor and coupled with a gross receipts tax on the business community. House Bill 318 reversed the final year of this tax cut, meaning Gov. Strickland is attempting to take credit for tax relief he decisively eliminated.