By Brian Massie, A Watchman on the Wall, Average Citizen
My Christian brother, and good friend Leonard Gilbert and I had an opportunity to speak to the State of Ohio’s House Ways and Means Committee on Tuesday, November 14th at the State Capitol Building. We were there to provide proponent testimony on HB 263. It is proposed legislation that would freeze property tax increases for those citizens 70 years of age, and earn less than $70,000 in annual income. Leonard has spoken before a House Committee before, but it was a first time for this average citizen.
Here is a link to the Committee’s video of the meeting.
Leonard penned a follow-up letter to the Committee expressing our interest in being involved in reducing property taxes for all Ohio citizens.
Chairman William Roemer:
Good afternoon. I hope that this message finds that you are all having a safe day. I wanted to extend my thanks for the opportunity to speak at the meeting on 11-14-23 in support of HB263. I am sure that my colleague (Brian Massie) will echo the same.
Since the testimony was short, I do hope you take the time to look at the additional written testimony that was provided as well as the other information. As stated during the testimony, I am in support of HB263, but hopefully we can add more rigor to the bill to increase the effectiveness.
In the ideal or future state, my challenge to the committee is to eliminate the property tax and find another mechanism to provide funding for the government expenditures. Again, there is something fundamentally wrong tying taxation to my property. Having the possibility of losing my home is not true ownership. I am, in essence, renting or leasing from the state. This destroys the whole concept of true ownership/liberty and generational inheritance.
As Mr. Massie indicated, we are extremely concerned that the ever-increasing property taxes will price seniors and those living on fixed incomes out of their homes that they have worked all their lives to achieve.
The sexennial revaluation will cause additional hardship on seniors, and since it involves inside millage, the taxpayers will not even get a chance to vote on paying more property taxes. We are not on a sustainable path, and government entities in Lake County are growing at a rate that the private sector will not be able to fund in the future.
We also want to make you aware that the system of checks and balances required in the Ohio Revised Code, regarding the County Budget Commission, is not working in Lake County. We would assume other counties are experiencing the same problem.
One of the duties of the Budget Commission is to ensure that there is not excessive taxation collected by the political subdivisions. However, in Lake County the Budget Commission has been neutralized by the Prosecutor’s ruling that the Ohio Supreme Court has ruled that outside millage collected can never be reduced by the Budget Commission. This has, in effect, made the Lake County Budget Commission merely a rubber stamp of any submittals by the political subdivision. This has caused a tremendous surplus in cash reserves, at the expense of the taxpayers, by the political subdivisions.
It is my understanding that Representative Troy has been appointed to the Joint Committee on Property Tax Review and Reform. I am not sure about the dynamics of how you will be moving forward, but Brian and I would welcome the opportunity to continue further dialogue about the property tax issue, and to provide further input/recommendations as well on a solution. I look forward to any updates and meetings. I know that I live 2 1/2 hours northeast of Columbus, but if our schedule allows, we have no issue making the trip.
Regards and have a blessed day,
Leonard Gilbert (LG)