Thursday, September 28, 2000

End to property transfer tax asked

It puts $4.5 million a year into county fund

By Dan Klepal
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        Hamilton County commissioners are considering a repeal of the tax property owners pay when they sell their homes.

        Commission President Bob Bedinghaus, up for re-election this year against Cincinnati Councilman Todd Portune, said he is in favor of repealing the so-called real estate transfer tax, which generates about $4.5 million an nually for county coffers.

        The 1.5-mill tax has been on the books for years. It was raised to 3 mills in 1991 when the county was facing a serious budget crunch, then was lowered to the current level in 1996. (A mill is equal to $1 dollar of tax for each $1,000 of assessed property value.)

        “We're benefiting from good economic times; so if we can't eliminate this tax now, I don't know when we could ever eliminate any tax,” Mr. Bedinghaus said.

        Commissioner John Dowlin, who is also up for re-election, thinks the tax should stay on the books. If property taxes are too high, he said, the county should think about rolling back a few of the special levies so all property owners benefit.

        Mr. Dowlin said that because sellers are responsible for paying the transfer tax, removing it would benefit people leaving the county.

        “Pick a number and roll back a special levy by that amount, then subsidize it with the general fund,” Mr. Dowlin suggested.

        Commissioners are expected to discuss the issue within two weeks.


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