Thursday, June 25, 2015

Red In The Middle And Round At Both Ends

Ohio may be something of a purple state when it comes to presidential contests, but as far as Gov. John Kasich's GOP government is concerned, the state might as well be another Midwestern tea party haven for bad tax ideas and the War on Women.

Both are featured prominently in the GOP budget heading towards Kasich's desk for a June 30 deadline to avoid a state government shutdown.

A 6.3 percent across-the-board income-tax cut that passed both the House and Senate remained in place, while a Senate-passed 40-cent tax increase on a pack of cigarettes was being reduced to 35 cents, bringing the state rate to $1.60. 
House Republicans wanted to settle on 35 cents because that ensures Ohio’s rate does not exceed the $1.60 tax in Pennsylvania. The final agreement also strips out Senate-proposed increases on other tobacco products. 
A Senate proposal to increase Ohio’s current 50 percent income-tax deduction to 100 percent on the first $250,000 of business income will instead be phased in over two years, going to 75 percent this year and 100 percent in 2017 and beyond. The plan also includes a lower 3 percent rate for business income over $250,000. 
“This continues us down the road of lowering people’s taxes, especially small businesses, allowing them to keep more money in their pockets and make the investments they think is right instead of us politicians allocating it,” said Rep. Ryan Smith, R-Bidwell, chairman of the House Finance Committee.

Hmm, income and business tax cuts for the rich at the expense of vice taxes for the poor.  Why does that sound familiar?  Oh yes, it's the Brownback Punishment Plan in Kansas, and that's working out well, isn't it?

Ahh, but there's more that's sliding in under the radar into the budget:

Republicans also voted to limit the legal distance from an abortion clinic to a transfer hospital to 30 miles. NARAL Pro-Choice Ohio argues that a Toledo judge has said such a restriction is unconstitutional. 
The Senate last week had added the provision, but then removed it at the request of Sen. Sandra Williams, D-Cleveland. She agreed to be the lone Senate Democrat to vote for the budget after she got the provision removed and a few other changes made to the budget. 
Abortion providers currently are required to have a patient-transfer agreement with a private hospital. The budget bill also would require that a variance to that transfer agreement, such as one that has been pending for a Dayton clinic for about two years, must be approved by the Ohio Department of Health within 60 days, or it is denied.

The 30 mile "local hospital" provision would end up closing even more abortion clinics in Ohio, including the last clinic in Toledo.  These provisions are mostly tied up in court right now, but if they are confirmed by the judicial, Ohio could lose most of its abortion clinics.  They could close anyway because of not being able to fight to stay open.

And of course, Kasich is going to sign this all into law right before announcing his run for the White House.

Good luck with that, John.

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