Bill seeks to delay elimination of tax break

LISBON – State Rep. Nick Barborak has introduced a bill seeking to delay a provision in the new state budget that eliminates a long-time state property tax break.

The so-called rollback property tax break on the first 12.5 percent of levies has been in place since 1971 but was eliminated as part of the budget recently passed by the state legislature. In the 42 years the tax break was in place, the state paid that 12.5 percent instead of the property owner.

This means any new or replacement levy passed by voters would result in the property owner paying the full 100 percent of the property taxes instead of 87.5 percent. In his bill, Barborak seeks to delay elimination of the tax until 2014 so it will not impact new or replacement levies put on the Nov. 5 election ballot.

“Many levies were planned well before the budget was passed, so now what we’ve done for these districts is changed the rules in the middle of the game,” Barborak said, in a news release issued by his office.

The 12.5 percent state tax break would remain for existing levies that are renewed at regular renewals instead of as replacement levies.

“At the very least we need to delay this tax hike until after this year’s fall election. It’s not fair to our homeowners and schools, especially in communities like Columbiana,” he added.

The Columbiana school district had been trying to get a new 1.23-mill bond issue/levy passed, and school officials have indicated elimination of the rollback would make that task with voters more difficult. School officials have said the owner of a $100,000 home would pay an extra $37.67 a year in property taxes if the bond issue passes. Without the rollback, the same homeowner would pay $43.04 a year.

Other agencies with new or replacement levies on the Nov. 5 ballot besides Columbiana include Center Township, New Waterford, St. Clair Township, Salem Township, Salineville, and the United Local school district.

According to the Associated Press, the state estimates elimination of the rollback would result in the owner of a $100,00 home paying $4.38 more a year in property taxes on a new 1-mill levy.

The House bill introduced by Barborak, D-Lisbon, is similar to the Senate version introduced by state Sen. Joe Schiavoni, D-Boardman, who represents Columbiana County. Both of them voted against the state budget.

“I want to make sure the state is being fair to our residents and schools,” Barborak said. “I hope that my fellow legislators, regardless of party, will recognize the importance of this measure for our local communities.”

At the time the rollback was eliminated the Associated Press quoted a spokesman for the state Office of Budget and Management, who said in a sense the property owners never really received the break because they and non-property owners paid for it in the form of higher state taxes to cover the cost.