Tuesday, March 6th, 2018

Fort votes to comply with state tax law

By Sydney Albert
FORT RECOVERY - Council members have amended the village income tax ordinance to comply with a controversial state law.
More than 100 municipalities have challenged in court the constitutionality of the law known as House Bill 49, which allows the state government to collect business income taxes on behalf of municipalities and charge an administrative fee for the service. The state argues the new system will make filing taxes easier for businesses, while opponents have said the law is an attack on home rule.
Village grants administrator Erin Minor and village administrator Randy Diller have been keeping council members updated on the lawsuit, but the village had not officially joined the collective of municipalities challenging the law.
Minor told council members at their Monday meeting that a Franklin County Common Pleas judge recently denied the municipalities' request for a preliminary injunction and had entered a final judgment in favor of the state.
"In summary, the judge said that the municipal income tax provisions of House Bill 49 are constitutional because the Ohio constitution says that the state has the right to limit municipalities' power to levy taxes," Minor said.
Given the decision, the provisions of House Bill 49 allowing businesses to file their taxes using the Ohio Business Gateway will remain in place, requiring council members to change the village tax laws.
Minor noted the municipalities have appealed to the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals, however, and village officials would continue to monitor the case.
Diller said the main issue isn't the money the village would lose under this new system but what other authority the state might try to centralize.
"That's what we're afraid of, that they keep eroding what we can and can't do, and that's what we see happening," Diller said.
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