AKRON, Ohio -- Income taxes could see a slight increase if voters give the OK.
Akron City Council unanimously passed legislation Monday night to place a 1/4% income tax increase on the upcoming November 7 ballot.
City officials say the hike would bring an estimated $16 million extra per year to support police.
“The revenue generated will help maintain current police and fire/EMS staffing levels and fund overdue investments in capital infrastructure and equipment,” according to a press release from city officials. “Immediate needs include replacing outdated police cruisers and crumbling fire stations and paving an additional 43 miles of Akron streets each year.”
Mayor Horrigan announced the proposal last month after nearly two years of community outreach and listening to residents’ needs and concerns.
“For years, the city has reduced personnel and consolidated services to save money, but after 36 years with no income tax increases for essential city services, and $15 million per year in lost tax-sharing from the State of Ohio, our community needs this increase now,” Councilwoman Margo Sommerville, chair of the Rules Committee said Monday.
If successful, the increase will be spent approximately equally between police, fire/EMS and roads.
“This proposal is fair. Workers in the highest income bracket will pay more, workers in lower income brackets will pay less, and those who are not working will not pay anything at all,” the City’s Director of Finance, Diane Miller-Dawson, said.
The additional 1/4% income tax is not a property tax and will not affect retirement/pension income, social security or other government benefits.
If passed, this proposal would raise Akron’s income tax to 2.5%, consistent with cities like Cleveland, Columbus and Dayton. The cost of the additional 1/4% tax is $1.68/week, for a resident earning Akron’s median income of $35,000, according to Akron city officials.
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