Senate District 17
Bob Peterson
Putting Money Back Into the Hands of Those Who Earn It
A Guest Column by State Senator Bob Peterson
May 14, 2021

If you haven’t already filed your state income taxes, I am sure you will soon as the deadline quickly approaches on May 17, 2021. Because of the coronavirus pandemic the Ohio Department of Tax extended the deadline a month. But, how would you feel if the State Tax Department told you that you owed an extra $350? An extra $500 or even an extra $1,000? 

Would you care?  I assume you would – I know I would. Taxes are necessary for the proper functioning of our communities, but only when spent responsibly. However, here in Ohio you won’t be subjected to increased taxes because we have made a commitment to fiscal responsibility and have worked hard to reduce your income taxes over the last several General Assemblies, resulting in savings for every Ohio taxpayer.

In 1984, the highest personal income tax rate was an astounding 9.5%. As of tax year 2020, Ohio’s highest personal income tax rate is 4.797%, a nearly 50% reduction. Almost all brackets have been reduced or eliminated by the same percentages. Additionally, Ohio has reduced the number of overall income tax brackets from 9 to 5, resulting in the lowest number of tax brackets since the creation of the state income tax. In fact, Ohioans making less than $22,150 pay zero state income tax, and in 2019 the Ohio Senate implemented another 4% across-the-board income tax reduction for the remaining five brackets. 

The chart below provides a real-life perspective of how personal income tax liability for all Ohioans has fallen from the current tax rates compared to several points throughout Ohio history.

Since joining the legislature in 2015, I have taken every opportunity to vote in favor of cutting income taxes. If it weren’t for these votes, and my commitment to lowering income taxes for Ohioans, my hypothetical example of you paying an extra $350 or $500 would make this tax filing season even more unenjoyable.

The prudent stewardship of your hard-earned tax dollars is my job and returning money to you wherever possible is my responsibility as your State Senator. Indeed, Ohioans earn their money to support and take care of their families, not to take care of big government. 

Every two-years, the General Assembly is tasked with passing a two-year operating budget —one of the most complex and important pieces of legislation we will consider. I trust the Senate will work diligently, efficiently and transparently to provide our great state with an operating budget that is both balanced and fiscally responsible, keeping the hard-working taxpayers of this state in mind with each decision made.

By working together, we’ve come a long way in the last several years, but there’s more work to do. We must keep Ohio moving in the right direction, and continue enacting tax relief that is vital in keeping our economy healthy and growing.
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