Republicans use faulty logic for supporting the repeal of the estate tax


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Sometimes I don’t understand Ohio Republicans and their obsession with having people who don’t live in Ohio come in and tell us how we should run our state.  My favorite example is Grover Norquist and his ridiculous no new tax pledge.  For starters, Norquist is just a glorified bully with a think tank that is selling the same failed trickle down economics that have proven to bankrupt time and again.  Still though, he forces Republicans all over the country to sign on to his no new tax hike pledge and then when they even think about increasing revenue he starts crying that they can’t do that because they signed his stupid little pledge.

And then there is Dick Patten who authored an editorial in this morning’s Plain Dealer supporting the repeal of the estate tax that was included in the House passed version of the state budget. Of course, Dick Patten isn’t from Ohio, or even represents an organization that is based here.  He does work for the American Family Business Institute, which oddly, isn’t so much about family businesses, but about repealing the estate tax.

Besides peddling pretty much the exact same ideology behind Grover Norquist’s tax pledge, Mr. Patten does a rather impressive job of laying out one false argument again and again in his piece this morning.  For example, here is one that I really enjoyed:

For every $1 increase in Federal Estate Tax revenues, the study found, state and local governments lose almost $3 in nonestate tax revenues. But if eliminated, state and local revenues would actually increase annually by over $9 billion.

Ending Ohio’s estate tax would have a similar effect on the total revenue collections for Ohio cities and municipalities.

Mr. Patten is advocating for the repeal of the Ohio estate tax by pointing to evidence that if you raise the Federal Estate Tax local governments will lose non-estate tax revenue.  Now, I’m not a tax expert, but I’m confident in saying that these two things are not related. First of all no one is suggesting raising the estate tax here in Ohio, second, where is the evidence that ending Ohio’s estate tax would have a similar effect on revenue collection as not raising or repealing the federal estate tax?

Faulty logic is applied all over this article.  Here is another good example:

Consider a Connecticut Department of Revenue study which found that states without estate taxes produced twice as many new jobs and their economies grew nearly 50 percent more from 2004 to 2007 than states with such taxes.

Ugggg. Really?

You’re right Mr. Patten, all those new jobs were created because those states didn’t have an estate tax and not because of any other variable that could possible explain the increase in employment.

It’s bad enough when Ohio Republicans take these talking point and continue to lie to Ohioans regarding the impacts of their faulty policy decisions, but it is entire other thing when someone who has nothing to do with this state starts writing op-eds in one of the state’s largest daily newspapers spewing this nonsense.

The estate tax is a vital form of revenue for local governments.  Currently, the first $383, 333 of an estate in Ohio are tax exempt, which over the course of any given year means that less than 7% of estates in Ohio are ever impacted by the tax. On top of that, the estate tax represents one of the only true progressive taxes in this state. Middle class Ohioans historically pay a larger percentage of their income each year in taxes than the upper class and the estate tax is an effort to create more balance between the two groups.  Also, there is that little thing of Republicans taking a hatch to revenue for local governments and maybe how this isn’t the time to further reduce revenue directed toward communities that are in desperate need of it.

The repeal of the estate tax is just another item on the ever growing list showing how Republicans are not only not fiscally responsible but have no idea what to do when it comes to budgeting the finances of this state.

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