A Dog and His Bone: Lake County Sales Tax Increase Will Cause a Decrease
By: Mason Morgan / January 14, 2023
There’s an Aesop Fable of a dog that found a delicious bone while out for his daily walk in the woods…..but first things first.
Our County Commissioners have arbitrarily raised our sales tax by one-half percent bringing it to 7-3/4%. Surely there must be an emergency; a need so dire, an account so low that drastic and immediate action must be taken to head off disaster. So, I checked some numbers on Lobbyists For Citizens, and I was shocked at how bad the situation in Lake County really is:
- The total amount in the County portfolio is only $420 million dollars
- Laketran has a tiny $42 million in the bank, soon to be $57 million
- Deepwood is doing a little better than Laketran but still has only &55 million dollars to work with
- Metroparks, $19 million
- Crime lab, $7 million
- ADAMHS, $5 million
- and proceeds from an opioid lawsuit will add only $306 million
Surprised? Did you know we were this poor? In all seriousness, this is a ridiculous amount of wealth and there is no reason to raise taxes. Zero. But what about the dog? We’ll get to that in a minute. With such a surplus our taxes should be headed in the opposite direction. There’s a chance this increase may backfire and the county stands to lose taxes in spite of the higher rate for at least two reasons:
Reason One, Chardon. Because Lake County is so small, it’s not a very long trip to head south to Geauga County where the sales tax is a full point lower than the new rate. A quick trip down Rte. 44 and you’re in Chardon with stores like Home Depot, Wal-Mart, Aldi, Giant Eagle, Heinens, Tractor Supply, Big Lots…… and scores of lawn and garden suppliers, farms, and orchards just over the county line. And that’s just one city. Your sales tax leaves Lake County and now goes to Geauga County. We didn’t just lose the increase, we lost the entire amount.
OK, but what about the dog? Almost there……
Reason Two, Euclid. For the reason you will now be going to Geauga County, Euclid and Cuyahoga County residents had been coming to Lake County. Cuyahoga residents flocked to Lake County to save on sales tax. Now that the two rates are within a ¼ point it’s not worth the trip and the money will leave Lake County and go back to Cuyahoga. Again, we didn’t just lose the increase, we lost the entire amount.
(Hold on, we’ll get to the dog).
See how this works? You take your business and taxes elsewhere. Simple. Unfortunately, this will impact some businesses in Lake County and cause degrowth. The greedy Commissioners are entirely to blame.
Now, the dog. There’s an Aesop Fable of a dog that found a delicious bone while out for his daily walk in the woods. While crossing a stream on his way back home the dog saw his reflection in the water. Thinking it was another dog he admired the bone and thought “that is much nicer than mine and I shall have it for myself”. He opened his mouth to snatch the other, his bone dropped in the water and floated away. The dog went home with nothing.
Take a ride to Chardon this week and see what’s there for you. Then call your Commissioners and ask them not to drop the bone.