There are two bills that would change the way income taxes are collected by Ohio's largest cities. And a community advocacy group is very concerned about them.
The bills would repeal a law passed at the start of the pandemic to protect cities' income tax revenues and redirect taxes paid by workers who work from home to their place of residence, not the cities, where their offices are located.
Alison Goebel of the Greater Ohio Policy Center said the bills would cost Ohio's six largest cities, which generate more than half the state's GDP, over $ 300 million a year.
"You can't just say," Okay, we're going to make this huge change in policy in the way income taxes are collected. Drop the chips where they like. "That is irresponsible and will have many consequences, probably many that we cannot even foresee at the moment," said Goebel.
Goebel also states that a lawsuit by the conservative Buckeye Institute would also damage the cities. This lawsuit alleges that three of its employees who live outside of Columbus should not pay income tax while working while the state is at home.
Goebel said while many offices are still closed with employees working from home, now is not the time to change income tax policy.
“It's been around for six decades. A six-month pandemic is not necessarily the best reason to completely core and reorganize the tax structure without finding a clear solution for the communities that would be most affected by these changes, "said Goebel.
Goebel said while work from home could be close by for a while, offices would still depend on sewage and water, roads and other systems maintained by the cities.