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Proposed tobacco tax hike debated by Ohio groups

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COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) - An Ohio legislative panel is delving into an election-year policy plan from Gov. John Kasich that includes cutting Ohio's income tax through increases in drilling and tobacco taxes.

The chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee said Wednesday the governor's proposal could be broken into 15 separate bills to be further studied by as many as 11 legislative committees. State Rep. Jeff McClain says that will help lawmakers examine the ideas more carefully.

Kasich proposes cutting income taxes by 8.5 percent over the next three years, taking the top tax rate to 4.88 percent by 2016. Commercial activity, cigarette and drilling taxes would rise to pay for the reduction.

Kasich's budget director, Tim Keen, told the panel the proposal would enhance the state's economic competitiveness and job growth.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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