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Fixing Ohio’s tax laws may hurt struggling cities

A proposal to create a uniform set of rules and regulations for all cities in Ohio that impose income taxes has officials in some municipalities worried.

The measure, House Bill 601, would establish one set of rules for withholding and taxation among all cities and villages in Ohio.

That may not seem like a big deal to most readers. …

But for employers that have businesses in multiple Ohio cities, or contractors who send crews to work in a variety of locales, complying with local income taxes can be a challenge. And the cost of compliance can exceed the amount of tax paid.

Care must be taken, however, to ensure the impact of HB 601 would be revenue-neutral. Local governments already are reeling from the loss of estate taxes and cuts in state funding. Some city managers have previewed the impact of the current bill’s provisions and calculated another substantial loss in revenue.

State legislators should keep that in mind when considering HB 601. If it can be amended to eliminate, or at least minimize, the economic impact on taxing municipalities, lawmakers should change the bill. If not, the state should be willing to make up for funding lost by municipalities.

The (Tiffin) Advertiser-Tribune


Ohio will still have voice on impact of health reform

There will be no repealing the Affordable Care Act — at least for the next four years. That much was settled on Tuesday with the re-election of President Obama and the retention of Democratic control in the U.S. Senate.

For the administration of Gov. John Kasich and others at the Statehouse, the question becomes what role Ohio chooses to play in achieving the goals of health care reform.

The deadline is this Friday for states to declare how they intend to establish a health exchange, an online marketplace where uninsured citizens and small businesses can shop for coverage among qualified private health plans. …

The law offers states three options to get an exchange up and running by January 2014. They can set up and operate their own within federal guidelines or the federal government will do it for them. Or states can partner with the federal government, a hybrid setup, to perform certain key functions with federal oversight …

State officials now indicate they are “leaning” toward the hybrid model. As things stand, that would be the most practical option. Many of the activities permitted to states in the exchange model currently are performed by the state insurance department.

In that regard, Ohio still may exert significant influence on how health reform plays out here.

Akron Beacon Journal