Ohio Progressives Should Push Ballot Issue — To Revise Ohio’s 2005 Tax Reduction Law

It looks like there will be a big effort by Ohio Democrats to repeal SB5 — the bill curtailing rights of government workers — via a statewide ballot issue in November. Progressives are urged to work to reverse this high-handed union busting legislation.

The problem is, saving public unions doesn’t fit into any general or guiding progressive philosophy. The aim of progressives is that government find ways to operate effectively to best accomplish its aims. Progressives, for example, very much want public education to be effective. Repealing SB5, it seems, is a battleground that philosophically advantages the other side — if the issue is framed in terms of making government more effective. The case for repealing SB5 must be that repeal is in the public good.

Progressives need to push for a battle where progressive ideas can be sharply delineated and advanced. We need a battle that will create more interest in progressivism, more grassroots discussion concerning progressives ideas, more interest in finding and supporting progressive candidates.  A debate on public workers’ unions is not a debate that will stir the passions of potential progressives. I would like to see a second ballot issue — one that creates a debate concerning a core progressive issue.  I would like to see a ballot issue giving Ohio voters the privilege of reversing parts of the 2005 Tax Reduction Act, the law that made Ohio’s tax system more regressive and gave huge tax reductions to the greatest incomes.

The debate worth having is: How do we make the system more fair?  A proposal to give public unions more say-so is a crummy way to frame the debate.  A proposal for a change in Ohio tax code to make the tax system more progressive would be a great way to frame the debate.  If the two issues could be on the same ballot, then the tax reform issue might motivate progressive leaning voters to participate who otherwise would not see the public union issue as worth the effort.  A “tax the rich” ballot proposal would most likely dominate the debate and turn attention to where it should be — the big picture of fairness.  A side benefit would be that a focus on the tax advantages of the wealthy would put attacks on the “privileges” of government workers in perspective.


  1. Solutions To Ohio’s $8 Billion Budget Gap Should Be Focus Of Ohio Assembly Election Campaigns — July 20th, 2010
  2. Ohio’s Budget Crisis: Ohio Must Find A Way To Make Its Total Tax System More Fair, More Progressive — December 17th, 2009
  3. How Much Revenue Would Ohio Gain, If Ohio’s 2005 Tax Reduction Act Was Rescinded For Top Incomes? — March 31st, 2009
  4. Governor Strickland Fails To Explain Impact Of 2005 Tax Reduction Act On Ohio’s 2009 Budget Shortfall — January 28th, 2009
  5. Ohio’s 2005 Tax Reduction Act Was Predicted, By 2010, To Result In Yearly State Budget Shortfall of Billions — December 15th, 2008
  6. Assembly Candidates Should Take Stand: Will Ohio Raise Taxes Or Will Ohio Cut State Services? — October 25th, 2008
  7. Twelve Tax Loopholes Ohio Should Close To Generate $270 Million Additional Revenue Each Year — October 15th, 2008
  8. Chris Widener, Republican Senate Candidate, Boasts About Tax Cuts, But How Will He Solve Ohio’s Budget Crisis? — October 8th, 2008
  9. Ohio’s 2005 Tax Reduction Law Diminished, By 21%, The Progressivity of Ohio’s Tax Code — August 6th, 2008
  10. Study Says Ohio Should Raise State Revenue $817 Million By Revising 2005 Income Tax Reduction Act — August 4th, 2008
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2 Responses to Ohio Progressives Should Push Ballot Issue — To Revise Ohio’s 2005 Tax Reduction Law

  1. Bryan says:

    Besides supporting the overt redistribution of wealth, what ideals do progressives stand for?

    You mention a ‘guiding progressive philosophy’, ‘a battle where progressive ideas can be sharply delineated and advanced,’ and ‘a battle that will create more interest in progressivism, more grassroots discussion concerning progressives ideas’ but are short on details.

    So besides pushing a “tax the rich’ ballot initiative, what are the major tenants of progressivism?

  2. Mike Bock says:

    Bryan, from this web-site: —

    “Progressivism is an umbrella label for a wide range of economic, political, social, and moral reforms. These included efforts to outlaw the sale of alcohol; regulate child labor and sweatshops; scientifically manage natural resources; insure pure and wholesome water and milk; Americanize immigrants or restrict immigration altogether; and bust or regulate trusts. Drawing support from the urban, college-educated middle class, Progressive reformers sought to eliminate corruption in government, regulate business practices, address health hazards, improve working conditions, and give the public more direct control over government through direct primaries to nominate candidates for public office, direct election of Senators, the initiative, referendum, and recall, and women’s suffrage.”

    My point is that progressives want democracy to work to form a government that is effective — to be for the people. The underlying tenant of progressivism is faith in democracy, faith in the potential of democracy to produce a more fair, more just society, the potential of democracy to bring about liberty and justice. Progressives look for ways for government to be effective and this is why the repeal of SB5 is a problem for some progressives to support.

    Progressives should produce a budget as an alternative to the Kasich budget, so the public can see the choices that are possible.

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