An economist looking at Vermont statistics can see that the state is benefiting from the U.S. economic expansion, which became
the longest on record last summer: There are more jobs, higher wages, fewer children in poverty.1
At the same time, many Vermonters can look at their paychecks and wonder when the recession is going to end. The state’s
economic growth continues to favor those who are well off, while low- and moderate-income families wait for things to pick up.
Both views are true.
Tens of thousands of upper-income Ohioans are qualifying for tax credits that seemingly are limited to those who have much lower incomes. It’s all legal – and it’s probably costing the state millions of dollars a year.
Not only does Ohio’s state and local tax system fail to produce enough revenue to properly fund schools, child care, transit and more, it’s upside down. In 2018, low-income Ohioans pay almost twice the share of their income in such taxes as the state’s most affluent do. Ohio ranks 13th worst in the nation in terms of state and local tax unfairness.
Property tax abatements caused 180 school districts across Ohio to forgo $125.6 million in revenue, according to financial reports the districts issued covering the 2017 fiscal year. With $43.8 million, or a little more than a third of that amount, schools across the state could refill the positions of 662 librarians whose positions were eliminated between the 2005-2006 school year and 2016-2017. That demonstrates that while the forgone revenue from tax abatement is relatively small compared to total K-12 spending, it’s still quite meaningful.