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Rep. Robinson opposes bill that would cut local revenues amid coronavirus pandemic

Modified income tax rule would threaten funds for public safety and essential services
May 26, 2021
Phillip M. Robinson, Jr. News

State Rep. Phil Robinson (D-Solon) voted in opposition Wednesday to House Bill (HB) 157, legislation that would prohibit the collection of income taxes from workers who aren’t physically in an office inside the city or village limits.

“Mayors and local council members from both parties have reached out to me in opposition to HB 157. They have told me how this legislation will seriously hurt their communities by bringing revenue instability and could lead to tough budget choices compounding  the struggles they are already facing from COVID-19. I don’t want our communities making choices between their fire fighters versus their police. Our local governments are on the frontlines of addressing the pandemic and its repercussions. How can we ignore their concerns and leave them with one hand tied behind their back trying to maintain essential services?” said Rep. Robinson. “I strongly urge Sen. Dolan and my other colleagues in the Ohio Senate to oppose HB 157, which will only hurt our communities.”

The bill comes as many Ohio workers remain on work from home status amid the coronavirus pandemic. Opponents of the bill say the changes could undercut local government budgets, with some cities set to lose millions of dollars in revenue. Democrats said these shortfalls could threaten the ability for communities to fund emergency services and other essential programs.

Rep. Robinson is a supporter of HB 264, which extends the COVID-19 relief, emergency municipal income tax provisions of HB 197 of the 133rd General Assembly, for temporary worksites until the end of the 2022 tax year.

Democratic lawmakers offered several amendments to the bill during House session Wednesday, including measures that would:

  • Extend current temporary tax rules that charges taxes for people’s worksite location through 2022. Democrats said that cities could lose millions of dollars in revenue and threaten funding for emergency and essential services.
  • Requires the Director of Public Safety to study and report on reductions in law enforcement personnel and other public safety services due to revenue losses resulting from the bill.

House Republicans rejected both amendments.

After clearing the House, HB 157 moves to the Senate for consideration.