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Thursday, 14 November 2013 07:37

Controversial municipal tax bill approved in Ohio House

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Villages, cities worry law would cut into local tax revenue

COLUMBUS, Ohio — A bill that proponents say would make the state’s municipal tax laws easier for businesses to navigate was approved by the Ohio House on Wednesday. But critics contend the end result is that cash-strapped cities and villages will have to pare down on public services.
Substitute House Bill 5 was approved 56 to 39 on Wednesday. Companies and self-employed individuals who do business in multiple cities, such as construction contractors, potentially have to navigate various rules and forms in each city they work. Ohio has nearly 600 municipal tax districts.
But Democrats were united against the bill — though many said they would support the idea of uniformity — because it also would mandate changes to tax policy that will reduce revenues for certain communities. They argued that the bill would be tantamount to giving pink slips to police, firefighters and paramedics or forcing communities to maintain services through local taxes alone.
Republican Rep. Andrew Brenner did not deny that revenue losses were likely, but said the impact was being overblown. Fellow Republican Rep. Ron Amstutz of Wooster said that opponents of the bill were resorting to “hyperbole."

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