GALLIPOLIS — This week, Gallipolis City Commissioners discussed concerns with upcoming Ohio tax law changes as well as budget woes that have plagued the general budget over the last few years.
“The state is trying to get a centralized collection system for your tax,” said City Manager Gene Greene. “In other words, they want to collect the tax. They’ll (divide) it up and send it back to us.”
According to City Tax Office Tax Officer Ronnie Lynch, the state has been aiming to integrate such a system for a few years now.
“They (Ohio General Assembly) tried to do it before House Bill 5 as a standalone bill,” said Lynch. “When you do that, you have to allow testimony and all that. It got pretty (controversial). So they just went with House Bill 5. Now, they want to do this as part of a budget reconciliation which means there won’t be special hearings like that. It will just be passed as part of the budget.”
According to Lynch, the system at this time would only address business taxes.
“It’s business profit returns and business withholding tax, which is about 80 percent of what we (the city) collect,” said Lynch. “There is not much as far as personal tax. Twenty percent is roughly what we take on personal. So, they would file through the Ohio Business Gateway which would take us out of the loop with that. Everything is subject to change but with what the proposal is now they are suggesting (the state) keep one percent of the tax and send the city 99 percent.”
Lynch said he was unsure when such an idea would go into effect but that the Ohio legislature had allowed for “phase-in periods” in the past.
“Basically, the state collects our money and keeps one percent of it and then they send it back to us and we all know what’s going to happen next year,” said Greene. “It will be three percent and five percent and so on.”
“Gene (Greene). Why don’t you and Mr. Lynch get a hold of (State Representative) Ryan Smith and have a discussion with him about the continuing damage being done to our community by every cut they (the state) makes,” said City Commissioner Steven Wallis. “It massively cuts our revenues. They’ve got enough.”
Greene said Lynch and he would be heading to Athens soon to discuss with other city officials about the coming concerns with the potential integration of the new tax system. Greene suggested seeing if the officials as well as the Ohio Municipal League would be willing to discuss the issue, as negotiating in groups often is more effective.
Dean Wright can be reached at at 7450-446-2342, ext. 2103.