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County Commissioners Voice Concerns with Proposal to Give Voters Power in Raising Sales Taxes

photo of Ohio Statehouse
KAREN KASLER
/
STATEHOUSE NEWS BUREAU
Republican Rep. Niraj Antani’s bill would require commissioners to put a county sales tax increase before voters.";

County commissioners are firing back at a proposal coming next week from a Republican state lawmaker that would restrict their legal power to raise county sales taxes.

Republican Rep. Niraj Antani’s bill would require commissioners to put a county sales tax increase before voters, as schools and municipalities do, and only in a primary or general election of an even numbered year. 

Jon Honeck with the County Commissioners Association of Ohio said voters already can launch a ballot campaign to take back a tax hike. But cuts in state funding and the opioid crisis have made tax increases necessary.

“Let’s just give county commissioners the discretion they need to make the difficult decision on these budget issues that are facing their county,” he said.

Honeck noted counties can only add up to 1.5 percent to the existing 5.75 percent sales tax, and about 50 counties are already at that maximum.

Karen is a lifelong Ohioan who has served as news director at WCBE-FM, assignment editor/overnight anchor at WBNS-TV, and afternoon drive anchor/assignment editor in WTAM-AM in Cleveland. In addition to her daily reporting for Ohio’s public radio stations, she’s reported for NPR, the BBC, ABC Radio News and other news outlets. She hosts and produces the Statehouse News Bureau’s weekly TV show “The State of Ohio”, which airs on PBS stations statewide. She’s also a frequent guest on WOSU TV’s “Columbus on the Record”, a regular panelist on “The Sound of Ideas” on ideastream in Cleveland, appeared on the inaugural edition of “Face the State” on WBNS-TV and occasionally reports for “PBS Newshour”. She’s often called to moderate debates, including the Columbus Metropolitan Club’s Issue 3/legal marijuana debate and its pre-primary mayoral debate, and the City Club of Cleveland’s US Senate debate in 2012.