Bookmark this page on your mobile

QR Code image

What is this?

Daily Court Reporter - News Overhaul to property-tax language bases tax on value of $100,000 home, not mills


Overhaul to property-tax language bases tax on value of $100,000 home, not mills

KEITH ARNOLD, Daily Reporter Staff Writer

A Monclova Republican has resurrected a plan approved by the Ohio House of Representatives during the previous session of the General Assembly that is designed to simplify the sometimes confusing and inconsistent language used on ballots proposing tax levies.

House Ways and Means Committee members listened to testimony relating to Rep. Derek Merrin's House Bill 76 earlier this week during a second hearing.

"The legislation fixes three flaws in ballot language," Merrin began. "First, it updates antiquated ballot language by expressing millage in terms of $100,000 of market value rather than in $100 increments of tax value. Secondly, all tax levies will list the estimated revenue the levy will generate annually.

"Third, it requires all text size and the use of bolded words to be uniform."

It was in 1939 that state law required millage expressed in a dollar amount related to $100 of property valuation, the lawmaker explained.

"It was a great idea," he said. "This is necessary because the mills system is complicated."

For example, Merrin offered, most voters don't know what 4.5 mills, 6 mills, or 9.9 mills levy means and putting a dollar amount in ballot language expressing the impact is important.

Home values have changed, however, rendering dollar amounts expressed in ballot language useless, if not misleading.

"To compound the problem, $100 taxable value is actually $287 market value due to property taxed at 35 percent," the real estate professional-cum legislator noted. "Without that knowledge, voters are automatically misled with current ballot language."

Merrin said, furthermore, it has become standard practice by media outlets, local governments and political advertisements to express levies in relation to a residential property's $100,000 market value.

Current law requires only some levies to provide the revenue amount the levy will generate annually, an inconsistency in law.

"County auditors provide government entities with estimates on how much a levy will generate," the lawmaker said. "This legislation requires the estimate be included in ballot language."

According to analysis of HB 76 provided by the Ohio Legislative Service Commission, the bill would require election notices and ballot language to continue to display the millage rate per $1 of taxable value for each type of property tax levy.

The language, however, is to be standardized to "taxable value."

Ballot language that is prescribed for some levies currently employs terms, such as "valuation" or "tax valuation," while language for others does not specify what value the millage rate is based on.

Another change: Dollar amounts in ballot language are to be displayed numerically.

"Under the bill, the notice and language would continue to convey the 12-mill rate for each $1 of taxable value but, instead of the $1.20 per $100 of taxable value rate, would state that the millage rate translates to $420 for each $100,000 of fair market value," Sam Benham, an attorney for the commission, wrote.

The third part of Merrin's fix calls for uniform ballot language.

"For some school levies and bond issues, current law mandates the purpose of a levy or issue text be bolded and double the size of the surrounding text," he said. "Other levies do not have this requirement.

"The bill removes this mandate so all levies and bond text size is uniform."

He said the doubling of the text size of certain words makes ballot language longer and can cause extra pages to be printed.

"Ballot language should be clear and concise," Merrin concluded. "Tax levies and bond issues should be transparent to voters.

"A calculator should not be necessary when voting."

Eleven fellow House members have signed on as cosponsors of the bill, which had not been scheduled a third hearing at time of publication.

Date Published: April 10, 2019


Copyright © 2019 The Daily Reporter - All Rights Reserved


Fish dealer sentenced for unlawful trafficking in Michigan lake trout

John H. Cross III (Cross) and John Cross Fisheries Inc. (Cross Fisheries) were sentenced recently in Kalamazoo, Michigan, for trafficking in illegally transported and sold lake trout, announced Assistant Attorney General Jeffrey Bossert Clark for the Justice Department’s Environment and Natural Resources Division and United States Attorney Andrew Birge for the Western District of Michigan. Cross Fisheries was also sentenced for making false records about whitefish purchases.

Rural courts, sheriffs convene with feds to combat opioids

The opioid epidemic has created a crime and treatment crisis for all kinds of American communities. But the ones that may be most affected are small and rural jurisdictions.

New Oh SNAP mobile phone app provides food assistance information

A new Oh SNAP mobile phone application has detailed information about the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and other food programs, not only for Ohioans receiving benefits but for those who think they may be eligible. It’s available for free on mobile devices through the App Store or Google Play.

BGSU research team sheds light on penguin evolution

Dr. Juan Bouzat, a professor in Bowling Green State University’s Department of Biological Sciences, is part of an international research team studying the evolution of penguins. He is a co-author of a study published in the journal of the Society for Molecular Biology and Evolution that demonstrates the importance of island formation in the diversification of penguins and posits the discovery of two extinct penguin species from New Zealand. The research, recently highlighted by the New York Times, was conducted by a diverse team of 19 scholars representing eight countries and 16 research institutions and universities.

Former CFO at publicly traded transportation company charged with $245 million securities and accounting fraud scheme

Big Lots launches spring campaign benefiting Nationwide Children's

Columbus-based Big Lots has announced the launch of its spring point-of-sale campaign, "Serve Families. Give Big." to benefit Nationwide Children's Hospital.

Senate bill would add two weeks to save speedy-trial violations

A state senator and attorney by trade hopes to correct what he and state prosecutors believe is the disproportionate penalty that results from violation of Ohio's speedy trial statute.

Ohio's 2019 wild turkey season coming soon

For many hunters, spring brings the unmistakable sound of gobbling wild turkeys as Ohio’s annual hunt of this popular game bird begins, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR). The state is divided into two zones for the 2019 spring turkey hunting season: a south zone, which opens to hunters on Monday, April 22, and a northeast zone, which opens to hunters on Monday, April 29. Hunters can view the 2019 spring turkey season zone map at

Man indicted for allegedly committing five armed robberies in December 2018

A Cleveland man was indicted for allegedly committing five armed robberies in December 2018.

Three charged with filing $1.9 million in false tax returns

Two defendants plead guilty

2019 Lake Erie fishing outlook is once again great news for anglers

Lake Erie anglers have the chance to experience excellent fishing opportunities on Lake Erie in 2019, according to Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) Division of Wildlife. Walleye angler harvest rates set records in 2018, and numerous large hatches point to a bright future for the Walleye Capital of the World.

Jury finds Toledo pastor guilty of sex trafficking of a minor and other crimes

A jury found a Toledo pastor guilty of sex trafficking of a minor and other crimes, U.S. Attorney Justin E. Herdman and FBI Special Agent in Charge Eric B. Smith said.

Bill would providing privacy shield to mental health workers

A bipartisan effort to expand privacy protections for certain mental health workers cleared the Ohio House of Representatives recently and awaits Senate consideration.

Ohio probate judge publicly reprimanded for presiding over ex-client cases

The Ohio Supreme Court recently publicly reprimanded a Mahoning County probate judge for taking action as a judge on cases in which he previously served as a lawyer. The Court noted there was no evidence that Rusu’s misconduct caused any measurable harm or that it “resulted in anything less than the evenhanded administration of justice.”

New report shows Ohioans pay more taxes than most other states

As the Ohio legislature weighs the pros and cons of Gov. Mike DeWine's proposal to increase the gasoline tax before the end of this month, a recent study found that the state has the ninth-highest tax rates in the nation.

Five men charged in 71-count indictment with defrauding federal programs designed to aid disabled-veterans

Five men were charged in a 71-count indictment with engaging in conspiracies to defraud several federal agencies by paying bribes and fraudulently obtaining at least $15 million in government contracts they were not entitled to though disabled-veteran set asides and other programs.

House mulls fix to antiquated provisions of state's cigarette sales law

The cigarette wholesale business is nothing like it was even two generations ago.

Study finds Ohio is average when it comes to seniors' burden on state economy

When it comes to senior citizens being a drag on a state's economy, Ohio is in the middle of the pack for that group's impact on its economy, according to a recent study.

Arcade games can provide team-building challenges

If you're searching for an exciting way to bring your co-workers together and strengthen camaraderie, one fun option is Dave & Buster's.

Toledo man currently serving time for shooting at police officers now indicted in federal court for his role in a trafficking conspiracy

A Toledo man currently serving 18 years in state prison for shooting at police officers was indicted in federal court for his role in a conspiracy to traffic fentanyl and heroin.