GALLIPOLIS — State Representative of the 93rd District Ryan Smith (R-Bidwell) weighed in on recent legislation passed by the Ohio General Assembly.
The House of Representatives passed Senate Bill 235 with a 81 to 9 vote Monday.
“So the idea here was the Senate came up with the idea of the bill and came over to my committee, ” said Smith, also House Finance Committee chairman. “We changed it around a little but it basically says that if someone wants to go out and build a big shell of a building to incentivize someone to bring jobs to the area, they would freeze their property tax at the current level it’s at.”
Smith used the example that if someone made a $2 million investment in a building, the taxes would not “reset” and go up with the $2 million figure until there was an occupancy permit issued, a transfer of deed or six years passed.
“The idea is that if I’m a developer and I’m going to put $2 million at risk on a building, let’s try and keep our taxes low and our risk as low as we can to bring jobs,” said Smith. “Because in southeastern Ohio we have such a dearth of buildings and available space that I’m hoping this will incentivize these developers to invest in building these buildings and attracting employers. That’s the whole point, to attract employers to the area.”
According to Smith, Gov. John Kasich has 10 days to sign the bill into law. The bill would first go to the House for a signature, then the Senate and finally the governor.
Smith said he felt the governor would be fine with the employment incentivizing part of the bill but that there may be a few other parts of the bill that may cause Kasich to issue a veto.
According to information from the Ohio General Assembly, “local governments must approve the property tax exemption on the increase in value prior to the land being developed. Once there is occupancy or commercial or industrial activity, the exemption ceases and the property taxes due are at the reassessed value. If a developer does not meet the terms of the exemption there are recoupment provisions that can be initiated by the local jurisdiction.”
The Ohio Senate agreed with the changes made with the House. Gov. Kasich is still considering the bill as of this time.
The bill was introduced to the Ohio Senate Oct. 27 and primarily sponsored by Senator Bill Beagle and Senator Bill Coley. It was first looked over by the Senate’s Ways and Means Committee before being passed in the Senate with 22 yeas and 11 nays and making it s way to the House Finance Committee.
Smith first was voted into the House in November 2012. He was voted in a second time in 2014. He serves as a financial consultant with Hilliard and Lyons. His first venture into serving as a public official was with Gallipolis City School Board of Education in 2007.
Dean Wright can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2103.