Ohio Tax Commissioner Richard Levin recently took a cue from Star Wars icon Obi-Wan Kenobi, who famously used The Force to alter the thoughts of others, and launched a public relations campaign designed to dupe Ohioans into believing that “Ohio is not a high tax state.” Unfortunately, neither The Force, nor the facts, are with Levin.
THE TRICK: In an effort to put lipstick on the pig of Ted Strickland’s 2009 $850 million income tax hike on Ohio’s families and small businesses, Levin intentionally twisted data from the U.S. Census Bureau in order to claim, “Ohio is not a high tax state.” [News Release, Ohio Department of Taxation 3/31/2010]
THE TRUTH: Levin converts the Census Bureau’s data to “per capita” figures, despite the fact that right there in black-and-white on page 3 of the Census Bureau’s report it warns against doing that, saying: “Analysis using total tax or per capita tax as a measure of tax burden on the citizens of a particular state can be misleading and misinterpreted.” [Census Report, Page 3, Note to Data Users]
THE TRICK: Levin regularly ignores local taxes when calculating Ohio’s tax burden, as though taxes and levies demanded by counties, cities, school districts and townships don’t exist.
THE TRUTH: Local taxes account for almost HALF of all taxes paid by Ohioans. Ignoring them amounts to a deliberate attempt to mislead. Ohio’s total tax burden places it 7th highest in the nation in the amount of taxes paid as a percentage of income, and 18th in the nation on a per capita basis. [Source: Tax Foundation]