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Reps. Sobecki, Jarrells lead Democratic opposition to 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
Democratic Newsroom

House Democrats, led by Rep. Lisa Sobecki (D-Toledo), the Ranking Democrat on the House Ways and Means Committee, 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. 

“After a decade of budget cuts to local communities, Republicans are looking to pull the rug out from under communities again with this bill that will decimate local government resources,” said Rep. Sobecki. “HB 157 will force cities and townships alike to make some tough choices on whether to fund the services essential to our daily lives, from police, fire and emergency services to parks and road repairs.”

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.

“HB 157 undercuts local communities and threatens critical funding for public safety and emergency services, roads and other services essential to our everyday lives. This bill will have a profound impact on our ability to provide Ohioans access to the tools they need to live a better life,” said Rep. Dontavius Jarrells (D-Columbus), who offered an amendment that would require a study and report on reductions to public safety due to budget shortfalls resulting from HB 157.

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.