Ohio is facing tremendously difficult economic challenges that it has not encountered in decades. Unemployment continues to rise and businesses are leaving the state at an alarming rate. While Ohio has remarkable strengths, right now our state government seems determined to drive jobs, business, and educated workers out of the state through excessive regulations and an unfriendly business climate.
I know how concerned Ohioans are with the economic situation in Ohio and how jobs will be retained and created in the future. A sound tax policy is directly linked to positive economic growth as well as a pro-growth, business friendly tax system which will help ensure that families are taking home more of their income and wages are increasing for workers. We must have a tax structure which is favorable to retaining and expanding existing businesses, and which can help attract new business and industry.
An important element to reviving Ohio's economy and generating new jobs is creating an atmosphere friendly to small businesses, which fuel economic growth. Small or family businesses account for nearly half of all private-sector employees and pay out more than 45 percent of the total private payroll. Over 52 percent of small businesses are home-based, and an additional 2 percent are franchises. Small businesses realize little benefit from government programs and increased government spending, yet are burdened by the state's heavy handed regulations which take away more and more of their income through high taxes.
In addition, I have been proud to support a phased-in 21 percent income tax reduction for all Ohioans, the single largest income tax reduction in Ohio's history. While this is a good start in allowing Ohioans to keep more of their hard-earned money, more can be done. A gradual phase-out of the state income tax will provide an even greater incentive for people and businesses to stay or relocate to Ohio. By providing the opportunity for everyone to have a chance at economic success, without punishing that success through unneeded taxes, Ohio can show it is serious about turning our economy around. Entrepreneurs will benefit from these tax reforms, which will allow them to expand their business, hire new employees and develop new industries. Additionally, Ohio's workers will be able to keep more of their income which will allow them to invest and save for their future and provide more economic security for their families.
Lastly, Ohio must do away with the estate tax, also known as the "death tax." Ohio's death tax is a tax that is collected on the estate of any resident of Ohio that passes away with more than a certain amount in assets. Many times estates do not have the cash necessary to pay the tax and must liquidate family owned businesses to pay the tax. Out of the few states that still have a death tax Ohio's minimum threshold is extremely low, while the death tax rate is high. In order to pass along their assets to their children, successful Ohioans have been forced to move to Florida, Texas and other states without a death tax. This deprives Ohio of community leaders and neighbors who spur innovation, job growth, and philanthropy. Through the elimination of the death tax, Ohio can send a strong message to those who live here or choose to relocate to the state that they will not be punished for achieving economic success with an unneeded and burdensome tax.
Thoughtful and carefully planned tax reforms can lead Ohio back to economic prosperity.
Ohio's economy and hope for job creation is directly linked to the state's tax policy. With a heavy tax burden, Ohio will always be at a disadvantage to grow its economy, increase jobs, keep its college graduates and attract others from out of state. Helping our families, small businesses and entrepreneurs will spur the economic growth to once again make Ohio great.