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Politics is big in these parts, and we’ve got it covered. John Arthur Hutchison and other staff writers will offer their inside information on the events, big news and little moments of the local political scene in Lake, Geauga and eastern Cuyahoga counties.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Battle over state income tax cuts begins with pizza

Gov. John Kasich believes state income tax rates continue to be too high and he proposes lowering the rates by 8.5 percent during the next three years for all income levels.

Kasich unveiled the tax cut as a key part of his mid-biennium review, and it will be up to state lawmakers to pass legislation to carry out his proposals.

The governor also wants to expand the state’s Earned Income Tax Credit and target new increases to the income tax’s personal exemption for low- and middle-income families.

He said that would help ensure that all Ohioans share in our state’s on-going economic recovery.

The campaign for Ed FitzGerald, the Cuyahoga County Executive and likely Democratic Party nominee for governor, responded in an unusual way to make its point that the proposed income tax cut wouldn’t do much to help lower income people.

Campaign spokeswoman Lauren Hitt said pizzas were delivered to newsrooms (including The News-Herald) and TV stations across the state to illustrate their message that the tax proposal mostly benefits the wealthy.

“We are sending it not just because we care, but also to remind you that John Kasich’s income tax cut plan only amounts to a couple of pizzas for middle class families,” Hitt wrote in an email. “However, if you fall within the top one percent, his tax cut could fund a round trip to Rome to eat pizza under the Colosseum. Not to say we don’t have great pizza here in Ohio, but that just doesn’t seem fair.”

FitzGerald also told the Associated Press in a statement that he would “focus on growing our economy from the middle out, rather than top down.”

Kasich campaign spokeswoman Connie Wehrkamp replied to a Twitter post by me regarding the delivered pizza that the governor’s “tax cuts would give a single mom making $30k more than $350 in tax relief per year — 66% cut since 2011.”

The nearly $2.2 billion reduction would be made up through increases in taxes on commercial activity, cigarettes and drilling, according to the Associated Press.

What is proposed for the commercial activity tax is an increase from 0.26 to 0.30 percent on gross receipts and inventory.

That cost of cigarettes would also rise with a 60-cent per pack on cigarettes and other tobacco products and it would include subjecting electronic cigarettes to the tax.

Lake GOP Lincoln Day

U.S. Rep. Dave Joyce is slated to be the keynote speaker for the Lake County Republican Party Lincoln Day Dinner and Silent Auction on March 19 at the American Croatian Lodge in Eastlake.


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  • Chris Galloway, candidate for Lake County commissioner, hosts St. Patrick’s Day fundraiser, starts at 5 p.m. March 15 at home of Dave and Beverly Vitaz in Concord Township. See Galloway.
  • Geauga County Democratic Party hosts pre-St. Patty’s Day Dinner, 6 to 9 p.m. March 15 at party headquarters in Newbury Township. See Janet Carson.
  • Lake County Commissioner Robert E. Aufuldish hosts St. Patrick’s Day Celebration, 5 to 7:30 p.m. March 20 at LaMalfa Party Center. See Kathie Aufuldish-Freshour or Ernie Koenig.
  • Kenny Yuko, candidate for Ohio Senate District 25, hosts fundraiser, 5 to 7:30 p.m. March 23 at Tizzano’s Party Center in Euclid. See Pamela Yuko.
  • Willoughby Hills Councilman David M. Fiebig hosts annual Spring Fever fundraiser, 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. March 24 at Willoughby Hills Community Center. See Joyce Hribar Fiebig or John Plecnik.
  • Michael Wager, candidate for 14th Congressional District, hosts a fundraiser, 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. March 27 at Little Mountain Brewing Company in Mentor. See Ashton Narzisi.
  • Ron Graham, candidate for Lake County Common Pleas Court judge, hosts cocktail party fundraiser, 5:30 to 7 p.m. March 27 at LaMalfa Party Center in Mentor. See Gabe Cicconetti or David Eva.
  • Mitchell D’Amico, candidate for Lake County Common Pleas Court judge, host fundraiser at 5:30 p.m. April 10 at the Patrician Party Center in Eastlake. See Lynn D’Amico.
John Arthur Hutchison


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