Legislative Push Over a Dozen Bills Aim to Alleviate Ohio Property Tax Burden

WCMH – Columbus, Ohio Since the House and Senate are currently debating at least a dozen bills, several legislators on Capitol Square are very concerned about relief from property taxes.

“We simply cannot ignore it and tell people that life is unfair even though it is a fact of life,” said Willowick representative Daniel Troy, a Democrat. “I believe we can make things a little more equitable in the case of property taxes.”

“Whether you’re a Republican or a Democrat, property taxes don’t care,” stated Madison Township Representative Thomas Hall, a Republican. “They have an impact on everyone.”

Currently pending in the Statehouse are several property tax measures, four of which Hall is supporting.

“Our property tax system is 200 years old, and we haven’t prioritized property tax until last year,” Hall stated. “There is no getting around this issue. It seems like things will only get worse.

One of such proposal is House Bill 263, a bipartisan endeavor led by Representative Dani Isaacson (D-Cincinnati).

Troy stated, “You don’t have the wherewithal to meet that increase even if you are property rich and your property values increase by 35 percent.”

The initial intent of HB 263 was to freeze property taxes for seniors who qualify if they are 70 years of age or older, their annual income is under $70,000, and they have owned their house for ten years or longer. The measure has undergone revisions and multiple committee hearings. The new requirements include being 65 years of age or older, having an income cap of $50,000, and needing to live in the area for two years rather than ten.

Many seniors came to us and said, “You’re punishing us for cutting back,” according to Hall.

House Bill 344 aims to mitigate some of the rising costs by doing away with replacement charges.

Moreover, House Bill 57, which addressed the homestead exemption and made it into the budget, is still being worked on.

Ohio’s homestead exemption is falling behind other states, according to Hall.

Troy stated, “I believe there is a bipartisan sentiment that we want to do more on the homestead exemption.” “I don’t think we should go to a point where we want to cut property taxes for everyone; instead, I think we should start by helping those who are truly struggling and need to make difficult decisions. Do they make the necessary payments for food, medication, and property taxes?

However, House Bill 187 is the legislation that is most nearly complete.

“To curve out the steep property tax increases that we are seeing was its goal and aim,” Hall stated.

The House nearly split along party lines when it rejected the bill.

Troy remarked, “That’s kind of in limbo.” “I considered that to be poor public policy.

After a few modifications, it did get bipartisan support in the Senate. According to Hall, the main goal of the original law was to let the Ohio Department of Taxation (TAX) to temporarily review property values using a three-year average rather than the standard one-year average.

Troy stated, “It was only going to take a 40% increase from your value to a 29% or 30% increase.” “Therefore, your value was still going to increase significantly.”

Hall claimed he tried to change the TAX evaluation period from one year to three years, but he encountered resistance.

According to Hall, “they essentially told us that if you want any change, you have to come after us and change the law.” They refused to cooperate with us. We were only trying to gain relief for our constituents from the sharp property tax hikes they are facing, so it was certainly one of the worst sessions I have attended in my capacity as a state representative.

A TAX spokeswoman issued a statement, stating that the organization has always insisted that legislation like HB187 would be required to amend this particular section of the statute.

A recent case using the “three-year average” was heard by the Ohio Board of Tax Appeals (BTA). The BTA came to the conclusion that Taxation complied with Ohio law by using the most recent sales data instead of averaging over the previous three years. By averaging sales data over a three-year period, the Ohio Tax Commissioner is not entitled to unilaterally reverse her constitutional and statutory obligations. This formed the basis of the discussion at the meeting that Representative Hall might be alluding to. The Department of Taxation stated in a statement that it “offered to review any language the members present drafted.”

However, the Senate struck that section of the legislation. The plan now places a greater emphasis on homestead exemptions, makes up for lost revenue to school districts through property tax cuts, and includes an emergency clause that makes the bill effective right away upon the governor’s signing. According to Hall, the leadership in each house is trying to reach a compromise. He stated that passing the measure by fall is his main objective.

“I have received reports from individuals stating that their taxes are increasing by $200 or $15,000 annually,” Hall stated. I want to finish paying the property tax payments tomorrow. I’m more concerned about those measures than any other legislation we’re working on.

However, if that law and other property tax legislation are approved, county programs and public education may be the most negatively impacted by the revenue reductions. Public schools receive 66% of property tax money, according to Hall.

According to Hall, “their voice is just as important in the room as anyone else’s.” “Public schools are not the biggest fans of our property tax bills because, in some way, less money will be coming into the schools.”

According to Hall, there will always be some who gain and some who lose when property taxes are changed.

Troy stated, “We have to make sure that the revenue stream is still there to fund these critical services, but make sure the contributions to the revenue stream are as fair and uniform as possible.” “Our school systems are still heavily dependent on local property taxes,” Troy said.

The Joint Committee on Property Tax Review and Reform was founded with Troy’s assistance. The purpose of this committee’s meeting is to assess Ohio’s tax laws and provide recommendations for best practices.

Troy stated, “I believe that learning about the workings of the system as legislators is the first step in this entire process.”

Troy stated that the committee is assessing several proposals to assist in providing Ohioans with relief. He claimed that in order to fund programs like developmental disability ones, which are now more akin to local taxes, the state has “diminished their participation.”

Therefore, Troy stated, “I believe that increasing state funding for these services is one thing we can do to help control the growth of property taxes.”

However, Troy stated that ultimately, everything is a delicate balance.

He stated, “We need to make it more equitable, more uniform, and again ensure that no one is overworked but also ensures that no one is underworked.” “Because you will overburden someone else when you underburden someone else.” All you’re doing is moving the blame around.

This Wednesday is the next meeting of the Joint Committee on Property Tax Review and Reform.

By Caleb Anderson

Caleb, a seasoned journalist with a passion for storytelling, has dedicated his career to bringing the latest news to the public. With a keen eye for detail and a commitment to unbiased reporting, He navigates the dynamic world of journalism, covering a wide range of topics from local events to global issues. Caleb's insightful articles reflect his dedication to keeping readers informed and engaged in the ever-evolving landscape of news.

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