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Proposed income tax increase on Peninsula ballot

10/10/2013 - West Side Leader
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By Stephanie Kist

PENINSULA — Peninsula Village voters are being asked again this year to approve an increase in income tax from 1 percent to 2 percent.

The proposed increase, Issue No. 29 on the Nov. 5 General Election ballot, would bring in an additional $180,000 per year to help the village, which has been subject to state revenue cuts, as well as reductions in other revenue sources, said Fiscal Officer John Stiegel.

“We need this revenue to keep our heads above water,” he said.

Most of the municipalities in Summit County already have a 2 percent income tax in place, Stiegel said.

According to village officials, 85 percent of the new tax dollars would be paid by businesses outside of the village and by employees who do not live in Peninsula, and the majority of the municipal income tax would be paid by nonresidents. Stiegel said Peninsula residents who work in Peninsula would be affected by the increase, as well as some employees of Peninsula businesses who live in townships.

According to a fact sheet prepared by village officials on the proposed increase, the additional funds would allow the village to continue to offer its present level of services, as well as make improvements. The village also would be able to apply for grants that require local matching funds.

Without the increase, a reduction in services is possible, according to village officials.

According to the fact sheet, many people would not be affected by the income tax increase. Those include:

  • nonresident taxpayers who live in municipalities with a 2 percent municipal income tax rate with a 100 percent credit;
  • residents who work in other cities that have a municipal income tax of 2 percent or more;
  • senior citizens who do not work; and
  • residents who have lost their jobs or been laid off.

In addition, Social Security, pensions, annuities, dividends, interest income, individual retirement accounts (IRAs), payoffs on life insurance policies and other retirement income would not be affected if the increase were approved. Government benefits and assistance also would not be affected.

Stiegel anticipates informational community meetings will take place to offer more information about the ballot issue. Those meetings have not yet been scheduled, he said, but he hopes better education of voters will improve the issue’s chance of passing this year. This is the fourth time the village has asked voters to increase the income tax; three previous attempts were unsuccessful. In 2012, 55 percent of voters cast votes against the proposed increase.

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