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News & Notes February 4, 2014

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News: Fracking Prospects, Columbus Dispatch Notes: The Ohio Severance Tax remains too low – even the Columbus Dispatch calls on drillers to pay their fair share. The Dispatch Editorial board points out the increased sales tax revenue generated in the counties with heavy drilling activity, but ignore the increased costs that cities, townships, and counties. Yes, some of the companies will widen and pave a gravel road now – but the long-term maintenance falls on local communities. We need to invest today and plan for the future of the region. 

News: Levy for Library going on May 6 Ballot, New Philadelphia Times Reporter Notes: The article highlights the longterm problem with income tax cuts. The library has seen increased demand and cuts in funding from the state. State aid has declined 22% over the past five years. Ohio provided a 21% income tax cut in 2005 that has been phased in.  The Public Library Fund is 1.66% of Ohio’s General Revenue. Any reduction in tax revenues will cut library funding. The library has also lost 30,000 from the loss of the Tangible Personal Property tax (TPP). Library officials are concerned because the state has informed them to expect less revenue in 2015. 

News: Ohio Senate legislation would set up a sales tax holiday for back-to-school items, Cleveland Plain Dealer Notes: It is a $78 million gimmick. Sales tax holidays have been passed in other states in hopes of increasing sales and helping local businesses. The research has found that people shift their purchases into the sales tax holiday and do not spend additional dollars. Ohioans would be better served with an expanded EITC and other proven tax credits that help low and middle income families. Ohio would also be better served by investing that $78 million into early childhood education, public safety, senior services, or a host of other areas that are currently underfunded. 

News: Pre-K gaining support and money from both parties, Cincinnati Enquirer Notes: Bi-partisan agreement exists that we need to expand access to preschool. This will require investments and coordination of local, state, and national officials.  Ohio should get the jumpstart now and invest in universal preschool. Evidence continues to demonstrate that preschool expansion is a smart investment for a state, while tax cuts have been shown ineffective strategies to improve states. 

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