Ohio's COVID Economic Crisis

Since its inception, Ohio’s Future Foundation (OHFF) has promoted public policies that ensure Ohio is fiscally stable, even in the most uncertain times. The COVID-19 crisis further reveals that fiscally prudent reforms are needed now more than ever, such as the reformation of Ohio’s onerous tax code.

Last week, OHFF launched its, “Made in Ohio” campaign to call for Ohio to end its dependence on China to produce supply chain items- from critical ventilators to cabinet knobs. Ohio has a superior infrastructure to achieve this but simply needs the proper policy and political will to make it happen. To reclaim Ohio’s role as a manufacturing leader, action must occur now.

So today, we call on Ohioans to remind their State Representatives and Senators, County Commissioners and City Council people; to say today is the day we start the push to revive Ohio. Today is the day to end the failures of allowing China to dominate our nation’s manufacturing and supply chain. Today is the day we start putting MADE IN OHIO on our products on a scale this state has never seen.

We cannot wait or waiver from this commitment. Ohio’s economy was anemic before this crisis, as evidenced by our insolvent unemployment and pension funds. Stronger states will be going for the same prize, and too often Ohio is last to the table. Let’s get ahead of this CURVE and lead Ohio forward.

We can begin to reclaim our past success as a state, in part, by a few critical reforms to our tax policies. As Ohio’s Future Foundation has always discussed, and as the Columbus Dispatch recently reported, Ohio’s municipal income tax system is antiquated and broken.

“Four of the five most income-tax dependent large cities nationally are in Ohio, with Columbus topping the list as having the highest percentage of its revenue derived from income taxes of the 139 cities surveyed, a Brookings Institution report released last week says.

Cincinnati came in at No. 2 and Toledo and Cleveland at Nos. 4 and 5, respectively. The four cities received between 67% and 76% of total general-fund revenue from income taxes, while 50 of the cities nationwide surveyed had no income tax.”

As one of only 14 states to collect municipal income taxes, it is time Ohio fully reform this archaic way cities generate revenue. The COVID-19 crisis has exposed the fatal flaws of the municipal tax system, and the sooner we shift from this ill-suited revenue stream, the more financially secure Ohioans will be.

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