COLUMBUS -- Gov. John Kasich stopped at a suburban Columbus restaurant Friday morning to eat breakfast and tout his latest tax cuts.
The latter apparently were a surprise to some of the local chamber of commerce members on hand for the session, including the owner of the eatery, who were unaware of the lengthy and widely reported budget debate that took place earlier this year at the Statehouse and the resulting tax law changes.
"I hope you can get the word out on these tax changes," the governor told reporters afterward. He added, "It's a little complicated; taxes are always complicated. ... That's why you do these things, so we can get a little bit more attention and now it becomes... a little bit more relevant."
Ohioans should notice the income tax change starting next week, as employers switch to new withholding tables and take less out of each paycheck to cover tax obligations.
State rates were reduced by lawmakers and Kasich by 9 percent this year and 10 percent over three years as part of the $62 billion biennial budget.
In addition to lower withholding, tax filers will see bigger refunds or lower tax bills come next filing season, since the reduction covers the whole year.
The state sales tax rate also increases as of Sunday, leaving consumers on the hook for an extra quarter for every $100 in taxable goods they purchase.
Kasich said Friday he hopes to continue cutting Ohio's income tax rates, saying the decrease is needed to make the state more attractive for businesses considering expansions or relocations.
"The issue is economic growth," he said. "I believe that the less you tax work, the less you tax investment, the less you tax risk taking, the more you will get of all those very desirable things."
But Democrats are downplaying the significance of the income tax cut, particularly in relation to the sales tax increase taking effect this weekend.
"All Ohioans will soon be hit by a higher sales tax every time they go to the store or buy a car thanks to Gov. Kasich and Republicans in the general assembly," Senate Minority Leader Eric Kearney, D-Cincinnati, said in a released statement. "That's unfair to families and individuals with the least disposable income because they will suffer the most from a tax increase on day-to-day necessities."
He added, "Ohioans shouldn't be fooled when the governor holds news conferences touting a small income tax cut that disproportionately benefits the wealthy. His tax scheme amounts to nothing more than putting money in one pocket and taking it out of the other."