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Ohio sues Biden over key element in $1.9T COVID-19 relief package

President Joe Biden's $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief package forces states to choose between receiving billions in funding and keeping the power to reduce taxes, Ohio's attorney general said. Photo by Chris Kleponis/UPI
President Joe Biden's $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief package forces states to choose between receiving billions in funding and keeping the power to reduce taxes, Ohio's attorney general said. Photo by Chris Kleponis/UPI | License Photo

March 17 (UPI) -- Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost sued the Biden administration Wednesday, saying the $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief package signed last week forces states to choose between receiving funding and lowering taxes.

The lawsuit, filed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Ohio, seeks a preliminary injunction against part of the American Rescue Plan Act. Yost said Congress exceeded its authority when it added the so-called tax mandate to the stimulus plan "at the last minute."

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"The federal government should be encouraging states to innovate and grow business, not holding vital relief funding hostage to its preferred pro-tax policies," Yost said.

The legislation grants billions in funding to states under the provision the states don't use the money to directly or indirectly offset tax cuts or credits. The attorney general's office said the mandate infringes on Ohio's "sovereign authority to reduce taxes."

The lawsuit said Ohio is being forced to choose between accepting the $5.5 billion allocated to it under the act and keeping its ability to reduce taxes.

"Slipping last-minute conditions into a plan meant to help people that instead handcuffs Ohio is why people don't trust government," Yost said. "And it almost always leads to constitutional mischief."

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