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Tax changes shouldn’t hurt needy, elderly

August 8, 2012
Salem News

Gov. John Kasich is to be applauded for his determination to cut state income taxes for Ohioans. Care needs to be exercised in how that is done, however, to avoid placing new burdens on those living on low and/or fixed incomes.

Kasich is right that the state income tax is a drag on economic growth. Reducing it could help create new jobs and thus, new revenue for both local and state governments.

Among proposals to reduce the tax is one calling for elimination of many state sales tax exemptions. That could provide as much as $5 billion a year to offset revenue lost from an income tax cut.

Some legislators worry about blanket elimination of many sales tax exemptions, however - and they are right to be concerned.

For example, eliminating the sales tax exemption for purchases of prescription drugs could be detrimental to low-income individuals and the elderly who may pay little or no income tax but have no choice about buying medicine.

It should be possible to craft a plan preserving important sales tax exemptions while still providing enough revenue for a meaningful income tax cut. Kasich and legislators should work toward that goal, to put a little more money into many Ohioans' pockets and boost the state's economy, while at the same time safeguarding the state's most vulnerable residents.

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Penn State University officials insist they've turned over a new leaf. The institution will be open and transparent, with none of the secrecy such as that which allowed former assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky to sexually abuse children for years.

If it was genuine at all, the attitude didn't last long. Late last month, the NCAA announced collegiate athletic penalties against Penn State because of the Sandusky coverup. But harsher sanctions were prevented by negotiations involving university president Rodney Erickson, it was noted.

That was news to most members of the Penn State Board of Trustees, who hadn't been informed Erickson was talking with the NCAA.

The trustees' response was to hold an illegal secret meeting July 25 to discuss the NCAA situation. In fact, the board held at least two other secret meetings last fall.

Precisely that kind of concern about secrecy - at the expense of transparency and legality - allowed the Sandusky abuses to occur. Clearly, Penn State assurances to taxpayers, students, parents and benefactors were meaningless.

 
 

 

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