The Hamilton County Board of Commissioners held a public meeting Dec. 3 to discuss options for balancing the stadium fund.
Board President Greg Hartmann suggested reducing the property tax rollback by 50 percent for two years, but he said he was unsure which way he would vote.
During the meeting, Commissioner Todd Portune, the lone Democrat on the board, gave ideas for possible adjustments to his Nov. 28 proposal to raise the county sales tax by 0.25 percent. Portune said commissioners could set the increase to expire and that he would like to see the sales tax hike reviewed on a regular basis. The expiration is tied to hopes of new revenue from the casino economic growth.
If anything came from the meeting, it’s that none of the commissioners like the position they’re in.
Commissioner Chris Monzel said he had been placed “between a rock and a hard place.” Portune said, “We’re left with two options that none of us like at all.”
Hartmann continued saying he was unsure how he would vote, but he said the two options presented are the only options left.
Portune claimed the sales tax hike was more equitable because it spreads out the tax burden to anyone who spends money in Hamilton County, including visitors from around the Tristate area. In contrast, eliminating or reducing the property tax rollback would place the burden on residential property.
The property tax rebate and sales taxes are both regressive, meaning they favor the wealthy. In simple terms, as income goes down, spending on goods and services take bigger bites out of a person’s income. A sales tax makes that burden even larger.
One analysis from The Cincinnati Enquirer found the wealthy saved more money from the property tax rebate than they paid in the half-cent sales tax raise originally meant to support the stadium fund.