Nick McWilliams reporting – A proposed Ohio House bill is drawing the attention of the Ohio Farm Bureau, who have expressed concerns over tax changes.

Under House Bill 1, supporting lawmakers want to create a flat income tax of 2.75-percent, which they say will be a benefit to citizens by reducing the amount they pay the government each year on income.

However, part of the bill also deals with property tax, something that could prove costly to state farmers, resulting in an increase of some $929 million in property taxes, according to OFB Senior Director of State and National Policy Brandon Kern.

“Property taxes are the most costly tax a farmer pays due to the nature of how they impact production agriculture directly. Property tax is a tax on agriculture’s most important production asset — farmland. The proposal in HB 1 to repeal the 10-percent property tax rollback is a significant concern for our members.”

Other groups expressing concern include some local governments and school districts, who are estimated to lose $1.2 billion annually under the bill.

Kern says that the OFB supports tax reform, but urges all to research the impacts of the new bill that can have a chain-reaction to other sectors.

“House Bill 1 is a good example of [change.] It can present mixed results when you view the proposal through the lens of our tax policy. While we welcome policies that help lower the income tax burden on our members, we are very concerned HB 1 will increase property taxes on many farm operations across the state.”

Under the bill, the elimination of the tax rollback will raise property tax owed by 3.5-percent, the main driving force behind OFB and other groups’ objections.

Other supporters of the bill say that it will kick start the Ohio economy by reducing the state income tax burden on residents by $2 billion.

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