In 2003, Republican Governor Bob Taft attempted a sales tax expansion very similar to Kasich’s currently proposed plan. Taft’s plan included new taxes on a similar set of services like movie tickets, cable TV, lobbying and real estate services.
According to the Dayton Daily News, “Tax Commissioner Tom Zaino, who joined Taft at a news conference to unveil the plan, called it a ‘rebirth’ of the state tax code.”
Taft’s plan was wildly unpopular with the business community and many Republicans in the legislature. Ultimately, the plan was gutted and the sales tax expansion was limited to just a few new businesses. Lobbyists were spared from the tax.
As we reported earlier this week, initial hearings on the plan saw representatives from business groups around the state turning out to protest the tax expansion, including the Ohio Society of CPAs, typically a reliable supporter of Republican policies.
This time around, Tom Zaino is on the other side of the issue. Zaino is now a lobbyist representing the CPAs. Gongwer reports that Zaino recently gave testimony on behalf on his client, telling legislators that ”the sales tax expansion proposal is going in the wrong direction.”
According to Zaino, implementing the tax expansion would cost businesses more money and require expanding state government to administer the program.
The American Council of Engineering Companies of Ohio also testified against the sales tax expansion. In a recent letter to the governor, the organization said his proposal put their members ”at a severe competitive disadvantage to members of our professions located in other states.”
ACEC Ohio is represented by none other than lobbyist Matt Borges, Kasich’s hand-picked Executive Director of the Ohio Republican Party and likely replacement for Bob Bennett as ORP Chairman.
We’ve been told Borges was in attendance at the House Finance Committee hearing when ACEC Ohio testified against Kasich’s budget.
The Ohio Republican Party has refused to endorse the sales tax hike included in Kasich’s budget.