House Bill Changes Ballot Language For Tax Issues

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COLUMBUS, Ohio (Statehouse News Bureau) — The Ohio House approved a bill that would make tax ballot issues use specific language to describe the potential cost of the levy to voters.

The Ohio Statehouse building
[Karen Kasler | Statehouse News Bureau]
H.B. 140, would require all tax levy and bond issues to state in the ballot language how much the levy would cost per $100,000 of appraised property value.

Rep. Derek Merrin (R-Monclova Township) said this helps simplify issues for voters.

“For example, most voters do not know what 5.5 mills or 9.9 mills means. Putting an actual dollar amount in ballot language expressing the physical amount is very important.”

Opponents include groups that put tax issues on ballots.

They said the bill would create more confusion and that basing an estimate cost per appraised value is misleading and imprecise.

A coalition of groups which include, the Buckeye Association of School Administrators, Ohio Association of School Business Officials, Ohio Library Council, Ohio School Boards Association, and Ohio Township Association, wrote in testimony for a House committee, “By necessity, ballot language is technical in nature and not meant to be an accurate estimate of the taxes owed by each individual taxpayer should the levy pass. Instead, the current ballot language describes the taxes that will be levied on behalf of the taxing entity.”