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The Statehouse News Bureau provides educational, comprehensive coverage of legislation, elections, issues and other activities surrounding the Statehouse to Ohio's public radio and television stations.

Ohio House Passes Levy Ballot Language Bill That Opponents Say Could Be Confusing

[Statehouse News Bureau]

State senators will soon take up a House-passed bill that its sponsor says will clarify descriptions of school and local levies and other property tax issues before voters. But opponents say it will make it harder for those money questions to pass.

Rep. Derrick Merrin (R-Monclova Township) said the bill fixes antiquated ballot language about millage to express how much a levy would bring in and would cost homeowners.

Merrin said the bill would change the language to reflect how much would be raised based on a a $100,000 home. He said right now the language, which has been in place since 1939, is based on $100 of taxable value, which he said is confusing to voters.

“If you provide clarity and are honest with people, they’re more likely to vote yes. I actually think this will make it easier for a lot of township levies, county levies that are very low dollar amounts to pass," Merrin said.

But Democratic Rep. Jessica Miranda (D-Forest Park) said it’s opposed by school, township and library groups because it’s full of unintended consequences. She said she appreciates transparency and accountablity in government, but is missing several technical elements that make a difference in how levies are enacted.

“To include this measure actually makes it more confusing, contradictory and difficult and presents an unnecessary burden on school boards," Miranda said.

Five Republicans joined all Democrats in opposing the bill, which passed 54-39.  

Earlier this year Gov. Mike DeWine vetoed similar language that was in the state budget, but he says he hasn’t looked at this bill.

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