Wednesday, March 14, 2001

Income tax for schools opposed

Most Loveland residents say no

By Jennifer Mrozowski
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        LOVELAND — A Loveland City School District income tax is opposed by a majority of the independent group of residents appointed by the school board in August to study the school funding option.

        An income tax is an alternate way to raise money for district operating expenses other than property tax levies. Voters must approve it.

        The board planned to consider the income tax option for a future ballot when the four-year, 7-mill levy that was passed in November expires. Board members asked the nine-person independent commission to study the pros and cons of the income tax proposal.

        “Simple mathematics tells me we would be better off without a property tax,” said Byron Fowler, a member of the independent commission.

        As part of its research, the commission surveyed 400 residents through a random mailing in February. Of 109 responses, 51 percent ex pressed negative opinions to the option, 33 percent expressed favorable opinions and 16 percent were undecided.

        The commission's findings were presented Tuesday in a 43-page report.

        Some of those findings:

        • School district residents (renters and homeowners) would pay 40 percent more through the income tax option than if the same total revenues were collected from a property tax increase because of the loss of state and local property tax subsidies paid by businesses and utility companies.

        • An income tax proposal could reduce school officials' accountability to the public. With automatic inflation of revenues and less frequent levy campaigns, taxpayers would have less input on how high their taxes are.

        • Income tax receipts would fall if the total district income falls.

        • About 2,000 renter households in the district would be adversely affected by the income tax because those residents likely already pay property taxes through their rent but would still pay the income tax.


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