Income Tax Renewal For Athens City Schools On May Ballot

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Athens City School District will be looking to the voters of the district for the renewal of a one percent income tax during next week's primary election.

First approved in 2006, the one percent income tax was renewed by voters in the district in 2010. The measure places a one percent tax on all earned income for a four-year period. There are no changes from the previous ballot levies approved by the voters.

Since the tax is on earned income, it will be effective on wages, salaries, tips and net business income from self-employment. Residents will not pay income tax on social security, pensions, disability or unemployment. Corporations are exempt from paying the school district income tax.

By law, the income tax is only placed on residents of the district and not those who work in the district as is the case with city taxes which are placed on all those who earn income in the city. The tax is collected in the same manner as state income tax and is distributed to the district quarterly. Residents must also file a school district tax return annually when filing in state return.

The one percent income tax generates approximately $3.5 million annually, which equates to nearly 12 percent of the district's budget according to treasurer Matt Bunting. That amount would be equal to a 6.8 mill property tax levy in the district.

"The income tax is an important piece of our total funding at over 10 percent of the general fund," said Supt. Carl Martin. "It is important to keep in place."

Bunting noted the increasing importance of the tax given the state funding cuts of more than $2 million over the past few years.

"I want to thank the citizens for their support for the district," added Martin.

The income tax renewal will appear as Issue 2 on the May 6 ballot.

In Ohio, 188 districts have income tax levies, with 42 being earned income tax levies such as the one up for renewal by Athens City School District. Those levies across the state range in value from .5 percent to 2 percent.