Ohio v. Yellen

In April 2021, Congressional Democrats attempted one of the most sweeping takeovers of state policy making in American history. The ill-conceived American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) offered states nearly $200 billion in emergency pandemic-relief funding, but there was a catch.

In exchange for the federal aid, states are prohibited from directly or indirectly using the funds to offset a reduction in taxes. Ohio stood up for itself and taxpayers immediately bringing the first lawsuit against the Biden administration’s tax mandate.

Noting that the tax mandate is “unenforceable and must be overturned,” The Buckeye Institute immediately joined the legal battle and spoke out on behalf of taxpayers with Robert Alt, Buckeye’s president and chief executive officer, saying, “In a sweeping disregard for the principle of federalism, the Biden administration has run roughshod over the authority of States to manage their own affairs. Congress imposed an ambiguous and open-ended requirement on States to give up unprecedented authority to determine their own tax policy. ARPA’s vague language could impact everything from tax rates to any of a myriad of policies that indirectly impact tax collections—which is to say, almost any law passed by Ohio’s General Assembly.”

Case Updates

June 12, 2023 
The U.S. Supreme denied cert in the case.

March 10, 2023
The state of Ohio filed its petition for a writ of certiorari with the U.S. Supreme Court.

November 18, 2022
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit ruled that “Ohio failed to establish a justiciable controversy” and that “[r]egardless of standing, the controversy is moot.”

July 1, 2021
The U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Ohio blocked the Biden Administration’s tax mandate that prohibited states accepting federal COVID relief funds from enacting tax cuts. The decision agrees with The Buckeye Institute’s two briefs in the case which argue that the tax mandate is fundamentally unclear and therefore unenforceable and that the treasury secretary cannot fix Congress’s error through regulatory action. See Buckeye’s statement reacting to the decision here.