Grove City Record

Grossman: H.B. 5 will be 'revenue neutral' for cities

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Ohio House Bill 5 is a proposed piece of legislation in the Statehouse intended to create uniformity in Ohio's municipal tax system, creating common definitions and deadlines among other changes.

One of the bill's sponsors is state Rep. Cheryl Grossman (R-Grove City), the House majority whip and former mayor of Grove City.

Grossman said the bill, introduced in January and currently in the House Ways and Means Committee, is a priority bill that she's hopeful will pass in this General Assembly.

"This bill is being worked on as we speak," Grossman said. "We're still in the cooking stage of the bill. ... It is very likely this bill will continue to undergo revisions."

Reform of the state's municipal tax system, Grossman said, is needed to to make Ohio more competitive with other states, make it more business friendly and to be more fair to employers and employees.

"The municipal income tax system in Ohio is the worst in the nation," she said. "We're trying to make it easier for everyone to file."

Opponents of the bill in its current form -- including Grove City officials -- say the bill is clearly another budget cut to the state's municipalities, and it infringes on their home rule rights.

In a June 17 letter to Grossman, signed by Grove City Mayor Richard "Ike" Stage and all but one member of City Council, city leaders said while they appreciate efforts to create uniformity in the tax code, they cannot support the bill as long as it, "contains requirements to allow businesses to carry forward and deduct net operating losses for five years."

On the General Assembly's website, a fiscal analysis of the originally submitted bill notes it would most likely create a net revenue loss for municipalities that could total millions annually.

Grossman said that fiscal analysis was based on the bill as it was first submitted, adding the analysis is now out-of-date and does not take into account revisions.

Municipalities are not going to be losing millions, she said.

"That's not going to be the situation," she said. "We're trying to be as revenue neutral as possible for all parties."

As for the net operating losses provision opposed by Grove City, Grossman said that too will likely see revisions but added that both sides will need to make concessions to reach a reasonable consensus.

"There has to be give and take on both sides," she said. "It needs to go both ways."

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