A bill before the Ohio House proposes a 5 percent sales tax on legal services as part of the state budget for fiscal year 2014-15 (“Businesses plead to be spared tax; Retailers, others pack hearing on Kasich plan to expand fees,” March 7). This tax, if imposed, would jeopardize access to legal services for many Ohio residents and businesses.
I have several objections to the expansion of the sales tax. The average person can require professional legal services for any number of reasons. Imposing a sales tax will make these essential services more expensive for Ohioans.
The tax proposal presents barriers to consumers and impedes access to justice by adding to the cost of legal representation for those citizens who are most in need. Lucas County’s resources for indigent clients fall far short of the demand.
The tax proposal would impose a burden on businesses, unnecessarily increasing the cost of doing business in Ohio and making our state less friendly to commerce. Other states, notably Michigan, have attempted to enact an expansion of their sales tax to include legal services, only to retreat after problems surfaced. Do we really want to make conducting business in Ohio less competitive?
Ohio residents should petition their state lawmakers to seek an exemption of legal services from the proposed sales tax expansion.
Editor’s note: The writer is president of the Toledo Bar Association board of trustees.
Kasich tax plan fails on local level
Gov. John Kasich has proposed a reordering of Ohio’s tax structure. He fails to align taxation with our basic needs (“Kasich’s tax plan rewards rich, starves public services,” op-ed column, March 3).
Our primary needs include water, sewerage, garbage disposal, schools, public safety, and street and bridge lighting and maintenance. These are supported by local taxes.
Most of our income tax money goes to the federal government. It would be better to reduce federal taxes, personal and business, by 5 percent across the board. Simultaneously, local taxes should be increased by 3 percent and state taxes by 2 percent.
This won’t solve all our problems, but will provide a start for people regaining control at the local level.