Lawmakers Aim To Ease Tax Burden On Working Families
Legislation would exempt heating fuels from sales tax, require state to reimburse local governments
June 02, 2017
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State Reps. John Patterson (D-Jefferson) and Jack Cera (D-Bellaire) today announced the introduction of House Bill (HB) 243, legislation aimed at delivering economic relief to working families who have been hurt by tax shifts enacted in the past several state budgets. The proposal would exempt from sales and use taxes the sale of firewood and certain other heating fuels such as propane, oil and kerosene. Under the initiative, the state would be required to reimburse counties and transit authorities that suffer a loss of revenue as a result of the legislation.

“Governor Kasich and republicans in the legislature have increased the tax burden on those buying goods and services to pay for income tax cuts that have disproportionately benefitted the wealthiest Ohioans,” said Patterson. “For working families struggling to get by, every cent counts. The state has a long tradition of exempting products that serve a basic need from taxation – this bill will help ensure families are able to afford the fuel that heats their homes.”

Ohio commercial and residential consumers currently do not pay sales tax on natural gas. House Bill 243 would bring uniformity to taxes on heating fuel resources and reduce the cost of fuels like propane for Ohio consumers. Municipalities would be held harmless under the bill, ensuring that the reduced sales tax on heating fuel does not adversely affect communities.

“Many communities impacted by tax shifts at the state level have been forced to raise local taxes just to keep providing essential services like police and fire,” said Cera. “This legislation will help working families by reducing the overall cost of heating fuel while reimbursing some of the communities hit hardest by the governor’s past several budgets.”

Since 2010, over $1.2 billion has been cut from local communities. Meanwhile, 31 communities are officially in fiscal distress. Over 70 cities have lost at least $1 million each year due to budgeting and tax decisions by the legislature and 12 small cities have lost at least $2 million each, per year.

HB 243 currently awaits assignment to a House committee.

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