Westerville News & Public Opinion

Westerville to Statehouse: We still don't like House Bill 5

City manager: Passage of the 'uniformity' bill would cost the city $300,000 to $500,000 a year

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Westerville leaders again are sending a message to state politicians that they oppose a bill meant to create more uniform local income tax codes in Ohio.

House Bill 5 passed the Ohio House last month and is headed to the state Senate for consideration.

While the bill's supporters claim that it will help businesses by making tax codes more uniform across Ohio's cities and townships, several cities have come forward to say that it would mean lost revenue and increased administrative costs.

Westerville City Council unanimously passed a resolution Dec. 3, expressing its opposition to the bill and saying it would bring financial harm to the city.

Council passed a similar resolution against the bill in March when the bill was being discussed in the House.

City Manager Dave Collinsworth said the bill's effects would far overreach its supporters' goals.

"The overarching purpose behind House Bill 5, according to its sponsor, is to provide uniformity for tax purposes throughout the state of Ohio," Collinsworth said. "House Bill 5 reaches far beyond that."

Collinsworth said the bill will cost Westerville between $300,000 and $500,000 in lost revenue annually.

Some provisions that would lead to lost revenue for the city include allowing businesses to consider net operating losses for up to five years when filing taxes, and a 20-day interim rule that would allow businesses to forego local income taxes for the first 20 days of operation, Collinsworth said.

New requirements for collections of delinquent taxes would add administrative cost to city operations, Collinsworth said.

Collinsworth said he believes the bill detracts from local autonomy.

"Overall, we find that this legislation continues to be the further ... erosion of home rule throughout the state of Ohio," he said.

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