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Ohio Lawmaker Wants Voter Approval for County Sales Tax Increases

Niraj Antani
STATEHOUSE NEWS BUREAU
While State Rep. Niraj Antani says he is against all tax increases, he wants voters to have a voice in county decisions.

A Republican state lawmaker who backed a failed attempt to overturn a county tax levy wants to make it tougher for counties to raise taxes.

Opponents of a sales tax increase on Montgomery County tried and failed to take a repeal to the ballot. So Rep. Niraj Antani said he’s proposing a bill requiring county commissioners get voter approval to raise taxes in the first place.

He said he's against all tax increases, and the measure is about "empowering people" to exercise their will.

"I could have sponsored a bill that would have disallowed any more tax increases, but I thought the fair and responsible thing was to at least say that the people should have a voice in whether a tax is raised or not,” he said.

Counties say they’re capped on how much they can hike taxes, but they need the ability to raise taxes to fund mandated services, especially after losing state revenue in recent years.

Jo Ingles is a professional journalist who covers politics and Ohio government for the Ohio Public Radio and Television for the Ohio Public Radio and Television Statehouse News Bureau. She reports on issues of importance to Ohioans including education, legislation, politics, and life and death issues such as capital punishment. Jo started her career in Louisville, Kentucky in the mid 80’s when she helped produce a televised presidential debate for ABC News, worked for a creative services company and served as a general assignment report for a commercial radio station. In 1989, she returned back to her native Ohio to work at the WOSU Stations in Columbus where she began a long resume in public radio.