Where They Stand: Your Taxes

[Editor's note: Tonight, we're beginning series of in-depth stories that we'll be airing about twice a week until Election Day. Each will focus on one major issue that affects Americans – from health care to the environment to education. It's called "Where They Stand," and is designed to help see straight through the rhetoric and find out what impact each candidate's plan would actually have on you. Tonight, Anthony Mason has our first installment, and it's about something that hits every American's wallet … and on which Obama and McCain differ significantly: taxes. Correspondent Anthony Mason contributed this post about his report for tonight's Evening News.]

We headed to Ohio, a critical battleground state, to look at the tax issue. Polls show the race there is in a statistical dead heat.

We spent three days there, driving from Columbus to Dayton to Cincinnati – all to spend time with three different families. Their incomes ranged from $32,000 to $213,000. We found them with a little help from the Ohio Society of CPAs, so we could see how the candidate's tax proposals could affect a cross section of Americans.

Kendra Foos, a mother of three in Miamisburg, Ohio, summed up what a lot of middle income taxpayers seem to be feeling: "We're on our own. That's how I feel. There isn't anybody that's rooting for us. [They think] we're the ones in the middle that can take care of themselves." As she sat around the kitchen table with her husband Andy, a construction manager, Kendra said, "We're the ones that seem to struggle the most, because we don't have any type of program to help us. And the rich are doing just fine."

All three families we talked with felt squeezed by the economy, which polls show is the most important issue in the state. Ohio has lost 200,000 jobs this decade. Second only to Michigan. Joi Beacham, a teacher from Pataskala, summed up what she wanted from the next president in one word: "Relief."

In "Where They Stand" on the Evening News tonight, we lay out both candidates proposals. Matt Yuskewich, a Columbus accountant, crunched the numbers for us to show what it would mean for our three Ohio families. And in doing that, we hope it will show you a pretty good estimate what it could mean for your tax bill. So, join us – and let us know what you think. There are plenty more issues to come – so stay tuned for those, too.

  • Anthony Mason
    Anthony Mason

    CBS News senior business and economics correspondent; Co-host, "CBS This Morning: Saturday"