Ohio Marriage Tax Bill Makes For Odd Political Bedfellows

Aug 31, 2017

One of the most liberal state lawmakers in Ohio is teaming up with one of the most conservative on a bill to do away with a marriage tax penalty. 

Democratic Representative David Leland of Columbus is sponsoring the bill along with Cincinnati-area Republican John Becker.

Their bill looks to end the $159 annual tax penalty for married couples in which both people work full-time.

“Our tax code encourages people to shack up rather than be married and that’s just plain wrong," Becker says.

Current Ohio law requires filing statuses on state tax returns to match those on federal returns. The bill would let couples file jointly or separately, whichever produces the lower tax burden.

Leland admits he and Becker don't agree on much, but on this issue they do. A press release says Leland filed a similar bill in 1983.

“This is a tax cut that working families, 2.5 million working families in the state of Ohio would benefit from," Leland says.

If it passes, the state could lose $500 million a year. But the representatives say they hope to find a loophole, credit or exemption that could be eliminated to pay for this proposal.

The non-partisan Tax Foundation says Ohio is one of 16 states that requires filing statuses on state and federal tax returns to match.