County commissioners are firing back at a proposal coming next week from a Republican state lawmaker that would restrict their legal power to raise county sales taxes.
Republican Rep. Niraj Antani’s bill would require commissioners to put a county sales tax increase before voters, as schools and municipalities do, and only in a primary or general election of an even numbered year.
Jon Honeck with the County Commissioners Association of Ohio said voters already can launch a ballot campaign to take back a tax hike. But cuts in state funding and the opioid crisis have made tax increases necessary.
“Let’s just give county commissioners the discretion they need to make the difficult decision on these budget issues that are facing their county,” he said.
Honeck noted counties can only add up to 1.5 percent to the existing 5.75 percent sales tax, and about 50 counties are already at that maximum. Franklin and Cuyahoga counties have sales taxes at 7.5 percent and 8 percent respectively due to additional transit tax rates.