“Another gift to the 1 percent:” Testimony Tuesday slams Ohio tax shift

COLUMBUS, Ohio – On Tuesday, Tax Day – the deadline for filing income tax returns – a crowd led by Ohio state Rep. Nina Turner slammed GOP Gov. John Kasich’s latest tax cut proposal as “just another gift to who least need it, Ohio’s wealthiest top one percent.”

It was the third of what is being called “Testimony Tuesday.” The rallies at Ohio’s Statehouse are being supported by organized labor, the state Interfaith Alliance, women’s groups, retirees and poor people’s organizations. They are inspired by the huge and growing “Moral Mondays” demonstrations in Georgia and the Carolinas.

Rally speakers attacked the overall shifting of Ohio’s tax burden from wealthier to poor and working families, combined with harmful cuts to state programs that support working, middle class and poor folks.

“This morning you got up, your heating and electricity worked, and a city worker picked up your garbage,” said Progress Ohio Director Brian Rothenberg.  “A police officer helped someone who may have been stranded due to the late snowstorm we’re having and another worker was out there in the weather fixing a pothole.  You may drop your child off at a library where public workers will help them before they attend their public school.  Your elderly parents are helped by numerous funded public services and you’ll drive over our public roads to get where you’re going.”

“These and more public services are what we pay for when we pay taxes and it’s our patriotic duty to do so,” Rothenberg said. “However, now we’re told to take these for granted, that it’s OK for billionaires to hire consultants to not pay, to put the entire burden on us.”

Rothenberg spoke of a recent government study that showed that the average Ohioan will pay $749 this year in taxes to make up for General Electric paying no taxes here.

A similar theme was hit on by state Rep Patrick Carney, who asked the crowd (to a resounding “No”) if it was “OK that those making over $300,000 in Ohio will get a $6,000 tax cut under the governor’s plan, while the rest of us will have to pay more for less services?”

Carney noted, “Even Crane’s Business Report, a marked non-liberal, pro-business Cleveland paper, openly worried about this approach harming the ability of regular Ohioans to be able to continue to fuel the recovery if this goes though.”

Speaking for retired Ohioans, Norm Wernet, Ohio president of the Alliance for Retired Americans, expressed outrage that retirees “have to pay now, again, after we were the ones that built this economy.”

Turner, a candidate for secretary of state in next November’s election, told the rally that Testimony Tuesdays will continue, and continue to get bigger, regardless of whether she wins in November.

“Got up and it was snowing again,” said retired Communications Workers of America workers Karl and Sharon Kay, “but we felt we had to come and have our say. It is still a democracy and we have to stand up for working and retired folks. If we don’t participate, the rich will run everything!”

Photo: Via State Sen. Nina Turner/Facebook


Bruce Bostick
Bruce Bostick

Bruce Bostick is a retired steelworker and leader in Ohio Steelworkers Organization of Active Retirees.