by J.D. Davidson
Ohio senior citizens could save more on their property taxes and that savings could grow if inflation increases under a bill proposed in the Ohio House.
House Bill 207 would raise the state’s homestead exemption by more than $6,000 for elderly or disabled homeowners, tie the exemption to any increase in inflation and increase the income threshold for the exemption, all moves necessary to keep seniors in their homes, according to Rep. Daniel Troy, D-Willowick.
“I believe that every citizen of Ohio deserves a dignified retirement as a reward for a lifetime of hard work. No one should be forced out of their home because their property tax is too high,” Troy said. “My bill will help keep seniors in their homes by lifting the income eligibility threshold and the taxable value exemption and indexing both to inflation, thereby putting money back into the pockets of those who need it most, our fixed-income seniors.”
The state is required to reimburse local entities for property taxes lost by those using the homestead exemption. The estimated local loss from HB 207 is $100 million. Troy said one-sixteenth of the income tax cut passed in June could have covered that cost.
“Seniors are being pushed out of their homes due to property taxes. It’s no secret. We want seniors who’ve lived in their homes to be able to stay in their homes, and they should qualify for the homestead exemption,” Rep. Latyna Humphrey, D-Columbus, said.
Troy introduced the bill nearly a year ago. It had two hearings in the House Ways and Means Committee, with the last coming in May 2021, when Franklin County Auditor Michael Stinziano said the current income threshold of $34,200 does not meet the need of Ohio seniors.
“Increasing the income eligibility threshold, even by the modest amount within this bill, would improve access to this exemption,” Stinziano testified at the last hearing.
At a recent new conference, Troy and other lawmakers urged committee Chair Derick Merrin, R-Monclova, to do something with the bill.
“We’re trying to get some movement on some legislation that is long overdue,” Troy said.
Emails requesting comment from Merrin did not receive a response by the time of publication.
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J.D. Davidson is a veteran journalist at The Center Square with more than 30 years of experience in newspapers in Ohio, Georgia, Alabama and Texas. He has served as a reporter, editor, managing editor and publisher.
Photo “Daniel Troy” by Daniel P. Troy: A Voice Of Reason. Background Photo “Patterson Homestead” by Greg5030. CC BY-SA 3.0.