POLICY GOAL: An Effective, Competitive Ohio Tax System

For Ohio to be successful in a global economy, the state’s tax structure must encourage investment and growth and be competitive nationally and internationally. A globally competitive tax system is characterized by (a) certainty, (b) equity, (c) simplicity and (d) transparency. Economy of collections and convenience of payment also are important considerations.

Generally, manufacturers support efforts to broaden the tax base, which enables lower rates. To preserve the integrity of the broad tax base and ensure fairness, credits and exemptions should be reduced and discouraged. Where needed, government incentives are best structured as grants rather than as tax credits. And, in general, earmarking and dedicating tax revenues should be discouraged.

Good tax policy also generates necessary revenues to support the essential functions of government. To ensure transparency regarding the true cost of government and the rate of its growth, however, funding government programs with fee revenue instead of general fund revenue should be discouraged. Good budgeting and spending restraint at all levels of government are vital to ensure a competitive tax environment.

Major tax reforms approved by the Ohio General Assembly in 2005 have led to significant improvements to a tax system that was for many years widely regarded as outdated. Reforms included reducing overall tax rates, eliminating tax on investment, broadening the tax base, providing more stable and predictable revenues, and simplifying compliance. While progress has been made, additional policy reforms are needed to support manufacturing competiveness, economic growth and prosperity in Ohio.

Tax policy priorities include the following: