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Ohio Senate passes property tax relief bill that helps older Ohioans

Hamilton Journal News - 12/6/2023

Dec. 6—A proposed state law passed by the Ohio Senate Wednesday would temporarily (the next three taxing years) exempt older Ohioans who earn $36,000 or less from paying property taxes on the first $30,000 of their house's value.

The Ohio Homeowners Relief Act aims to extend the Homestead exemption for older Ohioans and people with disabilities during a historic time of property value increases. People who make up to $75,000 could be partially exempt from some of their home's value, if the bill is signed into law.

The bill also temporarily raises the Homestead Exemption that was previously set for disabled veterans from $50,0000 to $60,000.

The bill seeks to modify the role of the Ohio Department of Taxation in reviewing county auditors' proposed property values. Currently, the state taxing department reviews those values and mandates adjustments to ensure that they meet constitutional, statutory, and administrative valuation requirements.

The bill removes this authority and, instead, allows the state taxing department to issue only nonbinding recommendations.

Property values are increasing an average of 37% in Butler County, 34% in Montgomery County and 29% in Greene County following recent triennial reviews.

H.B. 187 was introduced by State Rep. Thomas Hall, R-Madison Twp.. It passed in the Ohio House in a 58-26 vote in October.

"This common-sense bill will protect vulnerable Ohioans from drastic increases in property taxes," said Hall in a press release. "It is my responsibility to protect my constituents and I will continue paving the way on property tax reform."

The County Auditors Association of Ohio opposed the original version of HB 187 and its twin bill SB 153. State senators modified the bill in committee before it passed Wednesday.

State Sen. Bill Blessing, R-Colerain Twp., said on the Ohio Senate floor Wednesday that the modified version of the bill was a "relatively decent compromise." He serves as the chair of the Senate Ways and Means committee.

Blessing said the modified bill is more targeted toward Ohioans older than 65 who have low to moderate income and aims to lower their property tax burden.

State Sen. Kent, D-Euclid, said Ohio Democrats "strongly support" tax relief for seniors, but the party had concerns with funding sources for the tax cut.

A provision to use a $97.5 million chunk of the state's rainy day fund to offset the costs incurred to school districts was tabled on Tuesday.

The bill's changes await approval from the Ohio House before the bill is sent to Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine.

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