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Norwalk resident starts statewide petition in response to city tax problems

By IVY KELLER • Sep 5, 2016 at 9:00 PM

Following Tuesday’s Norwalk city council meeting, one resident has taken her frustration to the internet.

Melanie Robinson was present at the meeting on Tuesday to express her dissatisfaction with the city’s proposed plan to slash its reciprocal tax credit — a move which would charge residents working out of town 150 percent income tax.

They would pay all of their income tax for the city in which they worked, and half of Norwalk’s income tax on top of that. 

This concept of cutting reciprocal tax credits in half isn’t new. In fact, it’s becoming more common, if not more accepted, throughout the state with each passing year.

Many cities like Rossford, Macedonia and Bowling Green have either implemented a similar cut, or are considering one.

After seeing how the problem affected more than just Norwalk, Robinson wanted something to happen at the state level. She started an online petition.

“We are asking the Ohio State Legislature to take action to ensure that there is a standard and fair municipal income tax system in place,” says the petition, which Robinson started on change.org.

She said that, as they use city services the most, residents should pay taxes directly to their own city for those services.

“Therefore, we assert that it would be most fair to implement a statewide (sic) law in which communities were only able to tax out-of-town workers at 25 percent the rate of city residents,” the petition continues.

As of Thursday afternoon, the petition had 27 out of 100 requested signatures, some from people living in cities as far as North Olmsted and Perrysburg, who agreed with the sentiment.

“Every city in our state is in the same boat,” writes Robinson. “They are ALL struggling with budget deficits and they are essentially fighting over scraps.”

Whether the petition could really influence a change the revised code remains to be seen. 

According to Norwalk Law Director Stuart O’Hara, the idea of the state standardizing municipal tax laws is a curious one.

“The right of cities to impose an income tax is guaranteed by the Ohio constitution,” he said on Friday. “But it also gives the state authority to regulate income (them).” 

Whatever the outcome, it would take more than a few thousand signatures and a new law to overhaul Ohio’s income tax system. 

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