Sunday, October 31, 2004

Issue 4 would hurt city,
help taxpayers little

James R. Tarbell
Cincinnati city councilman

I urge you to vote no on Issue 4, the elimination of city property taxes over a 10-year period. The property tax contributes $30 million each year to the city's general fund, which provides revenue for many of the city's basic services, such as police and fire protection and garbage collection. Because the property tax supplies 10 percent of the funding for these services, there is no way that the funding can be eliminated without the services suffering.

Almost every city in the nation is supported by at least two of three important revenue streams: property tax, income tax and fees for service. There are cities without a property tax or without an income tax, but those cities charge fees for services such as garbage collection. Cincinnati has chosen to keep fees for service to a minimum.

There are more reasons to vote no on Issue 4. The property tax is the most stable tax collected, varying little from year to year, so it offers some protection from the wide swings that occur in the income tax. If the property tax were eliminated, much of the benefit would go to landlords who live out of the city and large institutional investors who own commercial property.

And because Issue 4 would repeal only the city's portion of the property tax (15 percent of the total over a period of 10 years), you would save around $15 each year for every $1,000 of taxes you pay.

Don't threaten city services for a very small reduction in your taxes. Vote no on Issue 4.

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