Property tax bill moves to Ohio senate

Larry Limpf

News Editor

After passing in the Ohio House of Representatives a bill that would alter how the valuations of property taxes are calculated had its first hearing last week before the Senate Ways and Means Committee.
Representative Thomas Hall, R- 46th District, provided sponsor testimony on House Bill 187, saying increases in valuations are untenable for property owners who are financially stable let alone those who are on fixed-incomes, elderly, veterans or others dealing with financial insecurity.
He said 13 counties that have undergone re-evaluations have seen estimated increases of more than 30 percent.
“As many of you know there is a triennial re-evaluation of property values that takes place by the Ohio Department of Taxation. This process currently allows our friends at the Department of Taxation the ability to unilaterally decide the numbers and weight they are going to attribute to the individual years for the re-evaluation,” he told the committee. “Due to the substantial inflation we experienced in late 2021 and throughout 2022, the tax department chose to weight the latter years more significantly than the minimally inflationary 2020.”
That calculation has left Ashland County facing an estimated increase of 39 percent, he said. Ashtabula, Fulton, and Greene counties face increases of 32 percent.
“This bill will adjust the formula that is used to re-evaluate those values by a few ways,” Hill said. “It will ensure that the individual years used to re-evaluate the property values will be equally weighted in order to prevent inflationary outliers like 2022 from drastically increases in values. Secondly, it will give greater authority to our county auditors throughout the re-evaluation process, allowing local officials elected by our constituents to provide the most accurate figures rather than appointed officials.”
A Current Agricultural Use Valuation provision has been added to the bill to address increases in farm land and another provision would make the bill become effective for the 2023 tax year.
Scott Williams, chief executive officer of Ohio Realtors, said the rise in valuations puts many Ohioans at risk of being taxed out of home ownership.
“There is no doubt that property taxes are critical to the functions of local governments,” he told the committee. “This revenue stream finances our schools, police, and fire departments, as well as parks and other services. However, with this historic rise in property values, we run the risk of unfortunately taxing Ohioans out of home ownership.”

2nd hearing on “70 under 70 plan”
Another bill sponsored by Rep. Hall pertaining to property taxes had its second hearing last month before the House Ways and Means Committee.
House Bill 263 would provide tax breaks to senior citizens 70 and older who own and occupy their homes.
Qualifying seniors would also have to have annual incomes of $70,000 or less and owned their homes for at least 10 years. Home values couldn’t exceed $1 million.
In her proponent testimony to the committee, Danielle DeLeon Spires, policy advocate for the Ohio Poverty Law Center, said that despite a decrease in Ohio’s poverty rate, the state’s poverty rate is higher than the U.S. poverty of 12.3 percent, including 8.1 percent of Ohio seniors (age 65 and older) who were in poverty in 2019.
“This legislation would provide assistance to seniors at a time of record increases in property values,” she said. “Creating this opportunity will allow for more Ohioans to remain in their homes as they age and provide stability amidst rising economic costs.”


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