(LFC Comments: We are pleased to have a new contributor to our site that will be be writing about issues in the City of Euclid)
“Responsible Euclid Citizens for Equitable Taxation”
In 1994, the voters in Euclid passed a .85% income tax increase with .47% going to the Euclid schools and .38% going to the city’s general fund. While many other cities in our area were paying between 1-2% city income tax Euclid was paying 2.85% – the highest in the county and possibly in the state.
The school’s portion of this tax generates between $5-6M per year. The reason behind this tax was an experiment in alternative funding for schools while lawsuits on school funding were working their way through the Ohio courts. No other city in Ohio adopted this form of taxation and, in fact, it is no longer permitted under state law. (Euclid was grandfathered in).
This failed tax plan has contributed to the outflow of both tax paying businesses and residents as they seek other communities with more equitable rates. The resultant 20 plus years has devastated this city and has been a large contributing factor to the de-stabilization of our neighborhoods. This has led to the poor state ratings for the Euclid schools.
Euclid is now at a point where we can no longer afford to fund our schools this way. Our once “City of Superior Services” can no longer repair it’s infrastructure, is now laying off or not replacing safety personnel, and is in real danger not being able to pay on its debt without further cutting services.
The repeal of this shared tax and replacing it with a .6 general fund tax (setting the tax rate at 2.6%) will offer both residents and businesses tax relief as well as bring an additional $2.5-$3M into the general fund. This increase in the general fund balance will go a long way to stabilizing the city’s finances allowing us to return safety forces to the streets and fixing our roads.
It is not an easy decision to re-allocate funding the schools have had for nearly 25 years, but it is necessary. The schools will have to maximize their efficiencies much as the city has done for years. By stabilizing the city’s finances and offering tax relief to residents and businesses it is a first step to growing our city to prosperity and returning our schools to better days.
After all “a rising tide lifts all ships”.