By Susan Tebben
City council stood unified Wednesday in its opposition to proposed legislation it says would take revenue from the city through tax measures.
The council passed a resolution “strongly opposing” the passage of House Bill 5, which would include provision bringing state oversight to municipal income tax administration. The measure would cause a “substantial loss of revenue” and “could lead to a future push for forced state centralized collection of municipal income tax,” according to the resolution that passed unanimously.
“You [the state] want to take our money from Canfield, take it to Columbus, then take some of it and give some of it back to us,” said Mayor William Kay. “It doesn’t make sense.”
The bill was brought to fruition by the Municipal Income Tax Uniformity Coalition, headed by the Ohio Society of Certified Public Accountants, which seeks to achieve a uniform tax code for all municipalities in an effort to ease the burdens of compliance on new businesses in the state, according to the resolution.
Councilman Andrew Skrobola, a CPA himself, said the proposal is simply a “negative bill.”
“It makes it easier for them to do what they have to do,” Skrobola said. “But it is disregarding the efficiencies of city government.”
The language of the bill would take away the employee who collects taxes for the city of Canfield, and send the job to Columbus, Kay said.
With the recent reduction in the state Local Government Fund, the repeal of the state’s tangible personal property tax and the potential elimination of the estate tax, Canfield could not afford for the bill to come into effect, council members said.
The coalition “has drafted and introduced language that is detrimental to the financial stability of municipalities, will drastically reduce revenue for all municipalities in Ohio, and includes ‘unfunded mandates’ which will cripple the ability for municipalities to provide basic services to residents and resident businesses alike,” the resolution states.
Municipal tax figures were not available at the meeting, but Kay said the city uses 1 percent of the income tax the city receives for city operations.
City Manager Joe Warino attended a legislative meeting in Columbus and said the bill is receiving significant push-back.
“There seems to be strong opposition toward it,” Warino said. “And with this resolution passed, I will distribute this to the local legislature to let them know how we feel as well.”