2014-01-18 / News

Liberty Union wants to make income tax permanent

By Scott Rawdon

BALTIMORE – Liberty Union-Thurston Schools will place an issue on the May 6 ballot to make its 1.75 percent income tax permanent.

“This is not a new tax,” said Superintendent Paul Mathews. He said Liberty Union-Thurston has a permanent 1.25 percent income tax, which was approved in 1988. In 2005, voters approved an additional 0.5 percent as a fiveyear levy. That same 0.5 percent was renewed in 2010. The board is placing it on the ballot for renewal again in May. “We feel that the (total) 1.75 percent will be necessary to insure the financial stability of the school district, therefore the issue is placed as a ‘permanent’ request,” Mathews said.

Mathews said the 1.75 percent income tax represents almost one quarter of the district’s revenue, at $2.9 million. The district’s annual budget is more than $12 million. The Ohio Department of Taxation has certified that the 0.5 percent portion should generate $725,000 annually.

“Clearly, feedback from our community indicates that income tax is perceived to be the fairest method of funding compared to property tax,” said Mathews, citing two reasons.

First, Mathews said the many farm operations in the school district would potentially pay a much higher portion of the cost if it were a property tax.

Secondly, with income tax, for farmers and all residents, their tax obligation is linked to their income, which means that if there is a job loss or some significant loss of income, residents’ tax obligation also is reduced, unlike property tax, which residents must pay regardless of income.

Mathews said the revenue would continue to be used to meet the district’s general operating expenses.

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