Bill to alter taxes cities can collect may lead to cuts in fire and police

Local News

COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — This week the Ohio House of Representatives passed a bill that will put an end to employees paying income tax to cities they no longer work or live in.

Cities are warning this could be catastrophic to their budgets.

During the initial pandemic shutdown many people went home to work. At the time lawmakers passed a bill allowing cities to continue collecting income tax from those people.

That policy is in place until the end of the state of emergency. Lawmakers now say that it’s gone on long enough.

“Employees have been taxed by the municipalities where they haven’t lived in, nor performed any work in for over a year,” Rep. Kris Jordan, (R) Ostrander.

This week the House passed House Bill 157 which would allow home workers to request a refund for the money they’ve paid since January 2021.

“Municipal spending makes where you are the place where you want it to be,” said Matthew Stiffler, Director of Finance, City of Dublin.

Mayors across Ohio warn that making them refund money that’s already within their approved budgets could be disastrous.

“We’re talking a significant sum of money,” said Stiffler. Income tax is a majority of Ohio’s cities revenue, Stiffler says this could lead to cuts in services like police, fire and parks.

“As we cut services and this becomes a less desirable state to live in as cities across the state are impacted, we’ll be competing with other states for these economic development projects that bring jobs,” said Stiffler.

Lawmakers argue with the federal money going to these cities, they don’t need the tax dollars.

“Cry me a river, cities. What is your problem, when we heard today that the city of Cuyahoga Falls is getting more federal money than their entire federal fund budget,” said Rep. Bill Seitz, (R) Cincinnati.

This bill now goes to the Ohio Senate.

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