Ohio AG Files Suit Against Biden Administration Over 'No Tax Cuts' Provision In Federal COVID-19 Stimulus Plan

Attorney General Dave Yost speaks to reporters at a press conference in February 2020.
Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost speaks to reporters at a press conference in February 2020. [Karen Kasler / Statehouse News Bureau]
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Updated: 12:55 p.m., Thursday, March 18, 2021

President Biden will travel to Columbus next week to promote the federal COVID-19 relief package that will send $11.2 billion to Ohio and its local governments. But the state’s attorney general went to court Wedensday to stop a provision in the $1.9 trillion stimulus.

U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH) had the news of the Biden visit in a conference call this morning, saying Biden will come to Ohio to “talk about the American Rescue Plan.” Brown didn't have details at the time, but the White House made an announcement confirming the visit a few hours later.

But later that day, Ohio Republican Attorney General Dave Yost filed suit to stop a part of the package that prevents states from using the federal funds for tax cuts, saying it’s unconstitutional.

“Congress just didn’t have the authority to coerce the states with regard to their tax policy," Yost said.

“They don’t have the authority to require that, even if it were a good idea. And look, the legislature’s not talking about cutting taxes. But Congress doesn’t have the authority to tell the legislature that they can’t.”

Yost’s suit is the first court action on the issue, though 21 Republican AGs wrote to Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen asking her to clarify the provision.

The suit has the support of Lt. Gov. Jon Husted, who said in a Thursday statement: "The precedent Congress is attempting to set here is that anytime the federal government sends money to state or local governments, they could add strings to control the tax policies of all 50 states. This is both arrogant and unconstitutional."

Yost has also sued the Biden administration over a requirement to release U.S. Census data by March 31. A hearing on that case was held Wednesday and oral argument are expected Friday, but that could mean the decision might not come by the deadline Yost requested.

Copyright 2021 The Statehouse News Bureau. To see more, visit The Statehouse News Bureau.

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