A Taxing Issue

Tax Clash
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Supporters want the Ohio legislature to repeal the penny-on-the-dollar sales tax increase it enacted to balance the state budget. Leading the effort is Secretary of State Ken Blackwell, one of several Ohio office holders who want to run for governor in 2006.

Says State Auditor Betty Montgomery, "Unless it is re-enacted, this tax is going to stop six months beyond when Ken's proposal would take effect, anyway."

Montgomery, like Blackwell, is interested in the governor's office.

"All of these agencies depending on taxpayer dollars will be thrown into budget chaos for six months," she says. "I don't think that's the way to do things."

A relatively warm weekend in Downtown Marietta brought out visitors from throughout the Buckeye State. And they had mixed opinions about the proposal.

"You have to weigh it out," says Tom Statkiewicz of Marietta. "I don't like higher taxes, but no one likes owing money, either."

"If it is to balance the budget, I believe in that," says Scott Lane of Cincinnati. "I don't mind paying a little more, just to get things back in balance."

But Rudy Beavin of Dayton has a different view.

"There are times you have to have taxes," Beavin says, "but hey, not in this case."

With legislative leaders who largely backed the tax hike opposed to the idea, the issue could end up going before voters this fall, but as we reported last week, supporters of the issue are still short of the 99,000 signatures needed to petition the legislature to repeal the tax.

They have until the end of this week to get those signatures.