COLUMBUS- State Rep. Daniel P. Troy (D- Willowick) gave sponsor testimony Tuesday on House Bill (HB) 207, his legislation to update Ohio’s Homestead Tax Exemption program.
“By updating the eligibility threshold and increasing the amount of the exemption, we will be helping our older Ohioans and those with disabilities reduce their property tax burden and save them dollars often needed for other essential necessities,” said Rep. Troy.
Ohio voters approved a constitutional amendment permitting a homestead exemption that reduced property taxes for lower income Ohioans 65 years or older back in 1970. In 2007, the General Assembly temporarily expanded the program to include all homeowners who were either 65 or older or permanently and totally disabled regardless of their income. Also eliminated at that time was the tiered benefits eligibility that spelled out differing amounts of deductibility, and replacing that with a fixed deductibility of $25,000 in value.
In the 2013 budget bill, and effective in 2014, eligibility was returned to an income limit of $30,000 or less to achieve that $25,000 reduction. Those receiving it regardless of income from 2008-2013 were grandfathered and continue to receive that reduction.
Since the homestead exemption program has not always been updated and adjusted for increases in the cost of living over its 50-year history, Rep. Troy set out to make three notable changes to this law by introducing HB 207.
The changes in HB 207 include:
· Increasing the income amount at or below a homeowner can apply for the exemption from its current $34,200 to $37,500 in annual income;
· Increasing the taxable value exemption from $25,000 to $31,200;
· Indexing the property value exempted so that it is annually adjusted for inflation.
Rep. Troy noted that his proposal was modest and fiscally responsible. The proposal is targeted to bring some needed relief to older Ohioans and disabled citizens on lower fixed incomes that want to stay in their homes.
“As our state’s population rapidly ages, property tax reform and relief should be one of our foremost public policy objectives. Ohio can surely afford to help our older citizens who have contributed so much over their lives for the common good and welfare of our state,” added Rep. Troy.
HB 207 awaits further hearings in the House Ways and Means Committee.