Amid the rush on the right to hinder the Biden administration’s agenda, Ohio’s Republican attorney general has made a move to get ahead of the pack.
Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost sued the Biden administration on Wednesday, asking a federal judge to block a provision of the $1.9 trillion stimulus bill which bans states from using federal aid to finance tax cuts.
The lawsuit comes one day after twenty-one of Yost’s fellow Republican state attorneys general sent a letter to Yellen with an ultimatum: if she does not issue guidance allowing them to proceed to use federal dollars to finance state tax cuts by next week, they will take “appropriate additional action” to ensure their freedom to enact “tax relief.”
But Yost got ahead of the group in filing the lawsuit, seeking an expedited court ruling that the federal government has overstepped in imposing conditions on the $5.5 billion appropriated by Congress.
“But if Ohio accepts that money, it will have to accept the conditions that come with it,” the lawsuit reads, before describing those conditions as “coercive” and likening the situation to a “gun to the head.”
Congress enacted a provision that applied to the $350 billion appropriated to states and cities for aid to recover from budget holes created by the pandemic which says that the money cannot be used to finance tax cuts.
Yost described this in the lawsuit as a “tax mandate,” saying that it’s unconstitutional and draconian because it would constitute an invasion of the federal government on states’ sovereign right to lower taxes.
“The Tax Mandate thus gives the States a choice: they can have either the badly needed federal funds or their sovereign authority to set state tax policy,” the case reads. “But they cannot have both. In our current economic crisis, that is no choice at all. It is a metaphorical ‘gun to the head.'”
Ohio lost $1.1 billion in tax revenues during the pandemic.
Read the lawsuit here: