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Property tax circuit breaker introduced in Ohio Senate

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(The Center Square) – A recently introduced bipartisan bill in the state Senate would create a property tax circuit breaker that supporters say could help hundreds of thousands of Ohioans.

Senate Bill 271 would create a $1,000 tax credit if a property tax bill amounts to more than 5% of a person’s income. If passed, Ohio would join 29 other states and Washington, D.C., with some type of tax circuit breaker.

The idea, introduced by Sens. Hearcel Craig, D-Columbus, and Louis Blessing III, R-Colerain Township, came from the recent report and recommendations from the Senate Select Committee on Housing.

The committee spent months traveling the state, conducting public hearings to receive input and hear concerns about housing throughout Ohio.

“I commend the tremendous amount of effort that went into this report,” Blessing said. “The findings from the committee hearings and conversations with Ohioans from across the state have been crucial to this work. I look forward to more dialogue and legislation that will come forward as a result of these collaborative efforts.”

One piece of legislation is the property tax circuit breaker, which proponents say would reduce the load on property owners and renters when taxes become too high as a share of income.

Under the plan, a qualifying household would pay property tax up to 5% of their income. If the tax bill is higher, Ohioans could receive up to $1,000 over that amount in a refundable tax credit.

“A key aspect of the circuit breaker is that it is paid for by the state,” said Bailey Williams, Ohio Policy Matters tax researcher. “On the one hand, schools, libraries, and human services will receive the same revenue they do now to provide their indispensable services. And on the other, it is inclusive enough to help homeowners and renters, seniors living on fixed incomes, and those living in gentrifying neighborhoods across the state. This is a true win-win for Ohioans.”

The bill would:

• Cover both homeowners and renters, who pay property tax indirectly through rent.

• Be worth up to $1,000 for homeowners and renters of all ages with income under $60,000.

• Additionally target relief by limiting eligibility to those with home values or rent payments below certain levels.

• Be paid as either an income-tax credit or a standalone rebate for those who don’t pay income tax.

A recent analysis of a similar proposal by Policy Matters showed it would benefit about 1 in 6 people in Ohio. The Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy in Washington, D.C., also estimated the annual cost at about $768 million.

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