COLUMBUS (WCMH) — The Franklin County Auditor wants to give a tax break to the families of first responders killed on the job.
The new legislation would give the surviving spouse of a first responder a $50,000 property tax exemption. The tax break would apply to the spouses of police officers, firefighters and paramedics killed in the line of duty.
Franklin County Auditor Clarence Mingo is working with Ohio Representatives Andrew Brenner, R-Powell and Tim Ginter, R-Salem on the new legislation. The bill was introduced and assigned to the House Ways and Means Committee on February 27th.
The bill was announced just three days before Westerville Police officers Anthony Morelli and Eric Joering were killed in the line of duty.
“The irony is tragic, but inspirational in that we all now have motivation to make sure this passes,” Clarence Mingo said.
According to Mingo there have been 120 first responders who have died on the job in Ohio. Mingo’s proposal would give those spouses and future ones, a $50,000 property tax break on their home, “The family would be paying a tax on a lesser amount, the result is a lower property tax bill,” Mingo said.
According to Mingo the savings for the proposed family could be up to $1800 dollars year depending on the home value and location. The cost to taxpayers would be $150,000 annually.
Mingo argues the “These folks are due and owed our absolute best because of the sacrifice they have made,” Mingo said. In addition to being retroactive the bill would apply to future spouses until they remarry.
The Fraternal Order of Police in Columbus supports the legislation.
“We absolutely support this legislation and are thankful Auditor Mingo has recommended its passage,” said local FOP president Jason Pappas. The organization just finished raising money for the wives and children of Westerville Police Officers Anthony Morelli and Eric Joering.
Pappas said the tax break may help a family who has lost a loved one move on, long after the funeral is over and the flowers have stopped coming.
“It’s unfortunate that we have as many as we do, I hope to never have another one,” Pappas said.