Municipal income tax reform meeting sparks lively debate

Aug 09, 2012
Over 100 people attended a meeting of interested parties on the subject of municipal tax uniformity on Aug. 8 in Sharonville, a continuation of the ongoing debate surrounding reform. The majority of the representatives were from municipalities, although OSCPA and several Municipal Income Tax Uniformity Coalition partners were also present.

Rather than the formal testimony of previous hearings, the meeting was informal, with community leaders providing opinions and commentary on the major sticking points surrounding reform.

Rep. Peter Beck, R-Mason, a CPA and OSCPA member, called upon city officials and business leaders to bring concerns to the table and emphasized that reform must happen.

“We can’t continue to operate the way we are,” Beck said. We have to try to work together to see if we can make the necessary changes.”

Jack Cameron, from the Village of Evendale, went as far as to question the need for a discussion.

“What is the problem? I recognize the tax code is complicated but I’m not convinced that businesses don’t want to come to Ohio because of municipal income tax,” he said.

The Coalition, which is comprised of OSCPA and 18 partner organizations, believes that a uniform municipal income tax structure is important at both the state and local level for Ohio to compete for jobs. Site selection experts have repeatedly identified Ohio’s municipal income tax structure as a disincentive to economic development efforts.

“Our goal is a simple, predictable and uniform set of rules to increase compliance while mitigating negative economic impact for all parties,” Amy Mignogna, OSCPA’s Director of Tax Policy, said while addressing the group.

“The whole purpose is to create an environment where businesses want to thrive, to move to Ohio, to hire employees and to expand operations,” Beck said.

Other areas of concern discussed included NOL carry forwards, definition of tax treatment of pass through entities and an animated conversation around the 12-day occasional entry rule.

“Eventually we’re going to get to a point where we going to have a few issues where the sides are going to disagree and we’re going to have to make a compromise,” Rep. Michael Henne, R-Clayton, said. “As long as our goal is uniformity, and we keep revenue neutrality in focus, I feel confident we’re going to get there.”

The next interested party meeting will be held at Cleveland State University on Sept. 5. It is open to members of the public. Additional details will be forthcoming.