Rich Ohioans Big Winners In This Budget
Man, being rich has to just be the bee’s knees, right? I mean not only are you rich and you get all the perks that go along with that but you got other rich people looking out for you. It’s amazing, I can’t think of another group of people that are able to watch out for each others interests more than very wealth people. It’s like you’re part of the most fun club ever and all your friends in this same club have all the power so they know your plight and they are looking out for you. That has to be fantastic.
Seeing how income inequality in this country is at levels not seen since the great depression era I can guess that most people reading this blog would not fall into the very wealth category. Which is unfortunate because the Ohio legislature and John Kasich are really doing a solid for all of their rich friends in this budget. I mean, teachers get screwed, firefighters get screwed, public employees get screwed, as do local governments and schools but the silver lining here is that rich people make out pretty well in this budget. It’s a shame we can’t all be rich.
Lets just take a quick look at some of the provisions in the budget that are the most rich people friendly.
Invest Ohio - If you are like me you also probably have millions of dollars of tax liability each year right? Well my friend we are in luck thanks to John Kasich and his BFF Mark Kvamme,the brain trust behind this proposal. If they get their way Ohio will offer $100 million each year in tax credits to tax payers who invest in Ohio small businesses. The credit is good for 10% of their investment and tops out at $1 million each year. Essentially, one has to invest $10 million in an Ohio company and they will receive a tax credit that is good for $1 million dollars and that can be used over the course of seven years.
Now, just ignore the fact right now that A)these provisions are not even in the same ballpark as to what Kasich described the program was going to be last week B) was stuck in the budget in the eleventh hour with out any hearings and C) we have seen exactly zero evidence on what the impact of this is going to be and if this even has a chance of creating a single job. Just ignore all that and put yourself in the shoes of a very wealth person. You are totally psyched for this because you were just handed an opportunity to not have to pay up to $1 million of income taxes for seven years. Not too shabby.
Estate Tax - One of my personal favorites, the death tax. The House killed the death tax (see what I did there) in their version of the budget and neither the Senate nor the conference committee did anything to breath live back into it. At first blush, a lot of people probably see this and are excited their benefactors won’t have to pay a tax on their inheritance. Which is technically true but the only people who were paying estate taxes prior to this were people who were inheriting $383, 333 and even then the tax only applied to the first dollar over that level. You don’t pay taxes on $383,334, you pay it on $1. So, chances were you and most of your friends were never going to pay that tax anyways but now rich people get to share in the same feeling of not having to pay that tax with you.
Bonuses for Rich School Districts – The Senate included a provision in their budget that created a special $17 bonus payment per student for school districts that were rated either “excellent” or “excellent with distinction”. Now, the Senate liked to call this bonus an incentive for school districts to do better but as a lot of people have pointed out you can’t retroactively apply a financially based incentive on schools because that isn’t an incentive. That is simply giving districts who scored better on the state report card a unexpected payday. The real point here is that the districts that are going to receive this bonus are overwhelming property rich districts to begin with and this provision is just another kickback to the Indian Hills and Upper Arlingtons districts in Ohio.
Legislator Pay – The Senate included provisions that would reduce legislator pay by 5%. Sort of a shared sacrifice thing. Speaker Batchelder didn’t abstain from drinking beer while in the army to have his pay docked by 5%. He came out and said he thought his caucus members were underpaid so magically that provision is no longer in the conference committee version of the budget. Listen, what is the point of being rich and setting you own pay if you are only going to pay yourself less next year. It was the logically thing to do.
So, with all that said, I am taking this opportunity to say that if there are any super wealthy people who read this blog, and they need someone to write snarky blog postings about things just shoot me an email because I really, really want to be part of your club.