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  • Nick Bates

What is a Mil anyways?

Property taxes are a very direct form of democracy in Ohio – asking Ohioans to fund a specific project like our schools, parks, libraries, public safety, social services, or cultural attractions.

Property taxes are a historical way for local government to collect revenue to fund public services.  Prior to income taxes, property tax was a main source of revenue for our public services. However, this created great disparity of opportunity between communities with a large property tax base and those with a small one – look at the diversity of Ohio’s schools in Appalachia and our urban cities compared to wealthy suburban districts. Through our state income tax, Ohio has made progress in creating more equal opportunity for all to succeed.  Ohio needs a mix of revenue sources to fund services. While property taxes are regressive, we still need them in our current system of funding our schools, parks, and other community services. However, we can offset the regressive nature of property taxes with reasonable state credits targeted at low and middle income Ohioans and with a progressive income tax.

What is a Mil?  A mill is $1.00 for every $1,000 of taxable value of your home. Use .001 to calculate.

How to Calculate If a property has a $100,000 value – here is how you calculate it. 1. You are only taxed on 35% of the value of your home .35 x 100,000 = $35.000 2. $35,000 x .001 = $35

For a $100,000 home in Ohio, each mil is $35

The Property Tax Rollback. This was a policy that ‘rolled back’ your property taxes by 12.5%. Previously, a homeowner only paid $30.63 per mil as a result. It started in the 1970s when the Ohio income tax was created. It used income tax revenue to offset some of the regressivity of property taxes. In last years budget, the policy was eliminated for any new or replacement levy. This furthered Ohio’s trend of cutting resources for local communities and shifting the cost for local services onto local communities. A small increase in millage moving forward will increase the property tax load shared by the owner of the property, but not generate substantially more revenue for the local government entity.

Different kinds of levies:

Renewal Levy: Can only go on the ballot in the November before expiration – will keep property tax paid the same. (3 mil levy passed in 2004, for 10 years could be renewed in Nov. 2014 for the 1.5-2 mils that it actually is collecting now. The money collected will remain the same – but the millage is actually less.

Replacement: This levy will renew the previous millage approved. A 2004 3 mil levy is replaced at 3 mils. This will likely cause a property tax increase – because the 3 mils will now be calculated on your homes current value – normally more  expensive.

New: This is much simpler – where the levy will be new mils assessed on your property.

Capital: A levy to fund a capital project means that the revenue generated can only be used for the building, acquisition, or renovation of physical property. Sometimes, voters get confused when they approve a capital levy and then are asked a year later for an operating levy. The funds generated cannot be used for other functions.

Operating: An operating levy can only be used to fund ongoing operational expenses.

Permanent: A permanent levy will be assessed on your property without an expiration. These are best used for expenses that will be ongoing. An advantage of this type of levy is that the entity will not need to come back every 3-10 years asking for a renewal or replacement. It will settle the issue.

X-Year Levy – These levies are fairly common and often levied in 3, 5, or 10 year time spans. The levy will expire at the end of the term. These are effective for capital projects where funding needs will be limited or in communities that are hesitant about funding programs.  However, this type of levy will likely come back to voters every few years and ask for a renewal or replacement levy.

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