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Norwalk residents not happy about prospect of paying more taxes

By IVY KELLER • Aug 24, 2016 at 11:00 AM

Some Norwalk residents are upset about a proposal that would reduce income tax credit for out-of-town workers by 50 percent.

Council discussed the legislation recently, and officials said they had not received much backlash about it. However, recent comments from residents suggest that people simply weren’t aware of it.

“The reason they've not had any feedback or heard of any concerns was because we didn't know!” Nikki Hotchkiss told the Reflector.

As soon as Hotchkiss heard about the 50 percent reduction in income tax credit, she became concerned.

“Why should I get taxed double because I live in one city and work in another,” she asked. “I work in Avon so I pay Avon city tax. I live in Norwalk, pay property taxes, and do most of my shopping in Norwalk. You're still getting my tax dollars but want more? It just doesn't seem fair to me.”

Other residents commenting on the post expressed concern over being “double-taxed” simply because they work outside the city.

“My husband and I both work outside of Norwalk and both end up getting screwed by Norwalk at tax time,” said Becky Wiedle-Brutcher, whose husband pays Huron city taxes already.

Before the city council meeting earlier last week, the Reflector covered the work session at which the resolution was introduced.

“I have had numerous people contact me over the past week,” said council member Chris Mushett. “Most have voiced their opposition to it. They were all people who would be directly impacted.”

Although it comes as a surprise to residents, the proposed reduction in income tax credit is something that many Ohio cities have done in recent months. 

Unlike an increase across the board, the tax credit can be cut by council without going to the local ballot.

This allows the resolution to be passed more easily, but it also means the income tax increase will target only people who work outside city limits.

Norwalk isn’t the only community to consider this option to increase funds. Other Ohio cities such as Lebanon are exploring similar measures. Some cities, such as Bowling Green and Rossford, have already slashed their income tax credit.

Section 181.06 of the Norwalk municipal code currently reads: “Subject to division (C) of this Section, the credit shall not exceed the amount of tax levied under this Chapter on such income, qualifying wages, commissions, net profits or other compensation taxable under this Chapter.”

If changed, it will state, “Subject to division (C) of this Section, the credit shall be in the amount of such tax paid to the other taxing jurisdiciton, but shall not exceed fifty percent (50%) of the amount of tax levied under this Chapter on such income ...” 

The change would also add the text “‘Taxing jurisdiction’ does not include the United States of America or the State of Ohio.”

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