COLUMBUS (WCMH) – Supporters of an upcoming bill say it could help keep the most vulnerable Ohioans from being forced out of their homes.
Monday, State Senator Hearcel Craig (D – Columbus) joined housing advocates and Franklin County Auditor Michael Stinziano in announcing details about a new property tax relief proposal.
“I’ve lived in this neighborhood since 1981 and would like very much to pass the house to my nephew,” said Lela Boykin, who sits on the Near East Area Commission (NEAC). “But if property taxes continue as they are, I might not be able to do that – just as many other seniors.”
Like Boykin, the Affordable Housing Alliance of Central Ohio explained seniors and those on fixed incomes, lower income households and communities of color facing gentrification are at a higher risk of losing their housing because of rising property values and sudden property tax increases.
It’s a challenge advocates say has been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Unfortunately we know these consequences are more dire for our most vulnerable neighbors,” said Carlie Boos, the executive director at the nonprofit.
A report recently released by property information firm ATTOM Data Solutions analyzed nationwide property tax information. It ranked Ohio as the state with the tenth highest property taxes at 1.62%.
Nationally, effective property tax rates jumped by 5.4 percent in 2020 over the previous year. The rate in the Columbus metropolitan area skyrocketed by 9.1% in the same time frame. You can read the full report by clicking here.
“As a result, too many families are being priced out of the neighborhoods that they built and that they nurtured, adding fuel to this already smoldering housing crisis,” said Boos.
Senator Craig and Franklin County Auditor Michael Stinziano explained their plan proposes capping annual property tax increases at 5% for households making less than their county’s median income.
“No homeowner or family should be priced out of prosperity,” Sen. Craig said.
Stinziano added, “We continue to have residents just feeling not only economic concern, but a real pinch of where the current system goes and how it is sustainable for them.”
They explained the proposal, unlike similar legislation introduced at the Statehouse, would also include protection for revenues generated by property tax for schools and local government.
The bill has not yet been formally introduced and Senator Craig said he’s looking to garner bipartisan support.