Bethany J. Royer
PIQUA — House Bill 5 (now Substitute House Bill 5 or subHB5) was on Tuesday’s commission meeting agenda after it passed to the Ohio Senate for consideration on Nov. 13.
The bill, as cited by advocates and supporters such as Representative Cheryl Grossman (Grove City, District 23) is due to the state’s 600 municipalities utilizing 300 different municipal income tax collection forms. The goal -make Ohio more competitive in the job market and strengthen the economy by streamlining the tax collection process.
The next closest state with such complexities, according to Grossman, is Pennsylvania with three forms. A big difference in comparison to Ohio’s 300, as she spoke on municipal income tax collection as the second highest negative factor to attracting new employers into the state back in November.
By eliminating some of the paperwork, said Grossman, the state will attract new businesses and jobs, but some municipalities do not see it that way, including Piqua’s city leaders and commission members.
While agreeing a streamline of tax collection is needed, a fear of a potential centralized collection and loss of revenue neutrality remains high, among other factors that have been expressed at previous Piqua city commission meetings. Those concerns were evident Tuesday where a second resolution in a year was adopted so as to send a clear message of disapproval to the state senate.
Even Grossman’s own Grove City adopted a resolution opposing subHB5 on Nov. 18.
However, whether or not such fears will be heard and whether or not a streamlining of the municipal tax collection will result in job creation remains to be seen. Conservative estimates from several cities such as Dayton, citing a revenue loss of $2,415,000, stating their only recourse would be a reduction in city staff.
Gary Huff, Piqua city manager, said Tuesday and in past commission meetings, a quarter of million dollars to as much as $1.2 million would be lost annually should subHB5 pass.
Not much of a job creator, as expressed by Rep. Matt Lundy (Elyria, District 55) who stated last month communities were about to be run over.
“The jobs of police officers, firefighters, dedicated public employees are on the line,” said Lundy, stating the bill will see to millions in revenue losses with an added “punchline” being the legislature may come to a municipality’s aid if they suffer a financial loss. However, if state budget slashing is any indication, with decline in tangible personal property tax and elimination of the estate tax. “The real story is, it all gets kicked down to the local level where taxes must be raised just for government to survive. Isn’t enough enough?”