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Columbus to seek income tax increase
Imploring voters to maintain core city services, Columbus city officials announced April 27 they will ask Columbus voters to support a 0.5 percent tax increase on the Aug. 4 ballot.
If approved, it would raise the city's income tax percentage from 2 percent to 2.5 percent.
Mayor Michael Coleman, all seven members of Columbus City Council, Chief of Police Walter Distelzweig, Chief of Fire Ned Pettus, City Auditor Hugh Dorrian and City Attorney Richard Pfeiffer said passage of the plan is essential in order to provide police, fire, health and other basic neighborhood services. They stated the 0.5 percent increase is a key part of the city's long-term plan to sustain the quality of life in Columbus through new jobs, government reforms and new revenue.
"In order to grow our economy and fight for jobs, we must have a safe and clean city and strong neighborhoods," Coleman said. "If citizens support our three point plan for jobs, reform and revenue, we can maintain our quality of life for many years to come."
City Council will vote May 11 on a resolution to authorize the city to submit the income tax increase request to the voters in August. To go into effect, that resolution must be approved by the voters.
"The citizens of Columbus have a choice to make between maintaining core city services such as police and fire protection at the levels our residents have come to expect or experience drastic cuts," said Council President Michael Mentel. "The declining national economy has forced us to find new sources of revenue to fund the basic services and economic development efforts that will help Columbus succeed in the coming years."
In the face of the rocky economy Columbus officials have cut the city's civilian workforce by 30 percent, spent $67 million less than budgeted and cut $155 million from what would have been business as usual since 2001.
However, the Economic Advisory Committee stated the city must have new revenue. Most of the proposed 0.5 percent increase of the city income tax would be paid by commuters who work in the city.
In a statement released April 27, city officials stated, "This is the fairest way to shore up the city's long-term finances, while keeping the city economically competitive. Those with high incomes would pay the most, those with low incomes would pay the least, and those with no incomes would pay nothing at all. For a middle-class Columbus household making $40,000 a year, the increase would cost less than $17 a month."
In a related economic matter, Coleman announced JP Morgan Chase Bank hopes to expand its operations, bringing 1,000 new jobs to the city and retaining another 13,000.
If approved by city council, the city will offer Chase a Jobs Growth Incentive of 35 percent for eight years and a Job Creation Tax Credit of 65 percent for 10 years. As a result of the new jobs, the city would net an estimated $4.5 million in additional income tax over eight years.
|On May 27, 2009 Richard said:
I, for one, am excited to vote against this proposal.
Hopefully this will mean less "Click it or ticket" ad campaigns as well.
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