New Carlisle seeks to block income tax change from November ballot

Residents who collected petitions to change how income taxes are collected says the process is unfair, but city leaders say it could lead to huge cuts if approved.

The Clark County Board of Election approved Monday putting an initiative petition to change how New Carlisle collects income taxes on the November ballot but city leaders have said the issue would be devastating and filed a protest against it.

Ohio residents pay income taxes both in the city where they work and where they live. Some cities give their residents credit if they work elsewhere but New Carlisle doesn’t. Springfield gives residents a 50 percent credit and Columbus gives a 100 percent credit.

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New Carlisle resident Kelli Bartlett believes she’s unfairly taxed twice and gathered signatures to put the issue on the November ballot to force the city to provide a 100 percent credit if voters approved it.

“(The goal is) to enact a tax credit where residents who work in another city get a credit for what they are paying to other cities,” Bartlett said.

The Clark County Board of Elections will review the city’s protest. New Carlisle claims the petition doesn’t use the form set forth by the Ohio Secretary of State, doesn’t meet the requirements of the Ohio Revised Code and lacks a required warning about the penalties for election falsification.

The county board will review the protest at 10 a.m. Thursday, Aug. 31.

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About 60 percent of the city’s income tax revenue comes from residents who work outside New Carlisle, according to public records. If the city can no longer collect from them, New Carlisle City Manager Randy Bridge has said it faces severe cuts.

Bartlett pays a 2.5 percent income tax in Dayton and she believes it’s not right that she must pay an extra 1.5 percent to New Carlisle because she lives there but doesn’t work there.

“I would receive a credit for any taxes I paid to another city,” Bartlett said. “Essentially I would end up if New Carlisle kept their income tax rate of 1.5 percent, I wouldn’t be paying anything to the city of New Carlisle.”

Local leaders said this would cripple New Carlisle financially and could even lead to the city dissolving.

“The only problem with that is, if this goes through, people will think they’re actually voting to cut their taxes but they will actually be paying more taxes,” City Councilman Ethan Reynolds said.

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If voters approved the ballot issue, he said the city likely would have to raise taxes to stabilize itself or many essential city services would be cut.

“We could lose up to maybe right around $1 million, $750,000 to $1 million dollars to the budget,” Reynolds said. “So that means no pool, no police, nothing.”

He hopes voters do some digging on their own and don’t go off what they’ve been told.

“Telling them it’s going to be lollipops and yellow brick roads but it’s going to be no roads, no cops, nothing,” Reynolds said.

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