CINCINNATI (TDB) -- The Ohio Roundtable is an independent, conservative NE Ohio policy organization that often found itself aligned with the Republican party on national issues. But today the organization is seething with outrage at President George Bush, who intends to push for new federal taxes on workers whose employer-funded health care plans are currently exempt as fringe benefits.
Bush has always opposed new taxes -- even for the War in Iraq. His unexpected embrace of a tax on some health insurance benefits seems to have stunned a segment of his traditional base in Ohio. In a way, some of the outrage echoes the din that former GOP Gov. Bob Taft faced after raising Ohio's sales tax.
Bush mentioned the tax reform in his Saturday radio address and is expected to spell out details Tuesday during the annual State of the Union address. The Ohio Roundtable is already organizing a drive to oppose the President and wants Ohioans to bombard the White House and Congress with e-mail, phone calls, letters and faxes in opposition.
"This is wrong on so many levels. The last thing any American family needs is higher taxes," the Roundtable says in an announcement today headlined "CALL THE PRESIDENT - TELL HIM NO NEW HEALTH CARE TAXES."
The organization said the proposed tax would penalize Americans. ''Many families make significant career and lifestyle sacrifices to keep jobs with good health care benefits. Congress and the President should respect those sacrifices, not seek to penalize families who are taking care of their health care needs."
The Roundtable's Web site is available HERE. Bush would like to tie a tax increase to a new income tax deduction for Americans who must purchase their own medical insurance. He has already run into opposition from business, labor and many Democrats on Capitol Hill
For years, the White House has been closely allied with the anti-tax movement and Bush has repeatedly vowed he opposed raising any taxes. Now there is a change of course, and a fissure with his old supporters who wanted to keep Uncle Sam's fingers out of their pocketbooks. That split surely will grow deeper if the President sticks with his plan.