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Debate Over Ohio Municipal Tax Bill

By: Jillian Risberg Email
By: Jillian Risberg Email
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It would have a negative impact on revenue and services in Ohio cities, so two local mayors voiced their opposition by traveling to Athens for a press conference.

"I think it's just another bureaucratic way of the state taking money from our municipalities,” says Marietta Mayor Joe Matthews.

They don't want them taking control.

"There’s no way that I believe that Columbus can manage our income tax department better than we do,” says Belpre Mayor Mike Lorentz.

The state would collect and administer Ohio’s tax system, a bad idea according to Lorentz.

"It could be a one or two month, three-month delay and not many cities can withstand that when usually the income taxes are payroll,” he says.

If the bill passes, there could be a big price tag.

"It could end up costing the city of Marietta somewhere in the neighborhood of $240,000 in loss of income,” Matthews says.

Hands off; it’s just another level of government that Lorentz wishes they'd leave alone.

Ohio already lost the death tax, Matthews admits they can’t take much more.

"They're also cutting back on various things in the state, and also the federal government and we're just not very happy,” the mayor says.

The city of Belpre collects a one percent income tax from residents and Lorentz doesn’t see it going in a good direction if they’re legislated by the state.

“There's no way in my heart that I believe we're gonna come out equal,” he says. “Now, how much it'll actually cost -- with the offsets and everything (is something else).

It would also be a blow to Marietta.

"We try to scrape by sometimes with what we got right now,” Matthews says. “To lose that much money out of our budget, almost a quarter million dollars is just like another unfunded mandate, so to speak."

Besides Matthews and Lorentz, other officials attended, including Senator Lou Gentile of the 30th district and Representative Debbie Phillips of the 94th district.
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It would have a negative impact on revenue and services in Ohio cities.

So two local mayors traveled to Athens for a press conference to voice their opposition.

The bill - Substitute H.B. 5 aims to simplify Ohio's municipal tax system.

Then the state would collect and administer it; a bad idea says Belpre Mayor Mike Lorentz.

"It could be a one or two month, three-month delay and not many cities can withstand that when usually the income taxes are payroll," he says. "So it's kind of hard to have that kind of a carryover."

Lorentz says there's no way he believes Columbus can manage Belpre's income tax department better than they do.

It's just another level of government he wishes they would leave alone.

Marietta Mayor Joe Matthews joined Lorentz at the conference.


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