Village joins fight against state takeover of local taxes

Staff Report

MOUNT GILEAD — The village formally joined statewide litigation opposing House Bill 49 at Monday night’s meeting.

The claim is this proposed legislation is in violation of the Municipal Home Rule Amendment of the Ohio Constitution.

According to the filing, the amendments and enactments made changes to municipal tax provisions which limit or interfere with the municipalities’ “authority to administer, collect, audit and receive net profit taxes,” violating their right to self-govern locally.

Cost to the village for participating in the suit is $1,000, based on population under 5,000 residents. Village Solicitor Matt Griffith recommended joining the effort and Mount Gilead village council approved a resolution to do so.

Numerous cities and villages across Ohio have joined the fight. In a lawsuit filed last week by the law firm Frost Brown Todd, dozens of Ohio villages, cities and towns — including Columbus, Cleveland and Cincinnati — asked the Franklin County Court of Common Pleas to block House Bill 49’s municipal income tax provisions.

Some Ohio lawmakers contend the provision will make filing taxes easier for companies that frequently do business in more than one municipality.

But in testimony before the Ohio House Ways and Means Committee in March, the Ohio Municipal League called the budget proposal a “bad idea” for the state and local taxpayers and said the bill would rob villages and cities of income-taxing authority.

The Ohio Municipal League strongly opposes the bill.

“This ‘power-grab’ by the state and equally alarming ‘money-grab,’ would strip the ability of municipal officials from over 600 cities and villages the ability to manage approximately 15 percent of their general operating budgets or $600 million annually of municipal taxpayer dollars, instead surrendering this revenue to the state, for its management and promises of return,” Ohio Municipal League Kent Scarrett said in a prepared statement.

Staff Report