Publisher's View

Ohio Gov. John Kasich recently proposed a state budget that has many business leaders scratching their heads. It includes reducing individual income taxes, but in return adds a sales tax on many services, including accounting, law, sporting and cultural events, advertising and marketing services. The complete list of proposed taxable services is very long indeed; rest assured you would pay a new tax for either personal and business services (or both) every day.

This proposed taxation shows a lack of understanding of business, both big and small. Using our company as an example, if our customers have a $1,000 to spend on advertising and we pay 5 percent tax on these services, the $50 will come out of Cincy's profit. To think our customers will increase their spending to cover this tax is unrealistic. How many businesses can afford to lose 5 percent of their profits and remain in business?

If these tax changes are made, what will most business executives do? Look at their options, obviously. In Cincinnati's case, the most logical option for businesses is to move across the river to Kentucky where there is no comparable tax on services. If a business owner in these new tax categories can save that 5 percent and the jobs of some of his or her employees, it's a no-brainer. Many Ohio businesses already have offices in the Commonwealth, so it could be as easy as leasing more space and calling the mover.

If that takes place, what would happen to Ohi'™s city and county tax revenues? My guess is that revenue would drop significantly. No other large city in Ohio has such easy access to a viable alternative. So in the end, especially for Cincinnati, this budget is not just a job mover, but also a job killer.

What can be done? Contact your state representative, and tell them that our city and county, our careers and businesses, need their support. We need fearless leadership at the state level. And then keep score. See who makes moves, and alternatively, who sits in the shadows, fearing retribution. The fine print of this proposed budget has now been read. We in Cincinnati have found new life as a thriving place to live, work and play. It's now time to be taken seriously, to spread our piggy wings, and fly north to Columbus to be heard.