The Stow Taxpayer Bill of Rights

With my final piece of legislation as City Council President, I’m proposing a taxpayer bill of rights amendment to Stow’s Charter.

Most notably, the bill of rights would require voter approval before the city eliminates the residence tax credit, which protects Stow residents from double-paying their municipal income taxes—both to Stow, and to the city in which they work. Presently, Stow has a 100% credit, but City Council can reduce the credit without voter approval.

As a matter of fundamental fairness, our residents should never be taxed twice on the same dollar. I firmly believe a future City Council should ask voters’ permission before pulling that rug.

In 2014, the Canton Repository reported that, out of 592 Ohio cities and villages with an income tax, 239 municipalities do not offer a 100% credit for residents who pay taxes to other municipalities. In contrast to Stow’s Charter, Munroe Falls’ Charter prohibits a reduction of the credit without voter approval.

The taxpayer bill of rights also states that Stow may only place an income tax increase on the ballot by a vote of a supermajority of City Council (5 of 7 votes). Last, my proposal states that any reduction in the tax credit or increase in the tax rate may only be placed on a November general-election ballot—and not on a May or September primary where turnout is lower.

There could be a day when the city truly needs more tax revenue. This bill of rights will not stop it from happening. Instead, I intend to discourage a tax increase in the instances where it is not necessary.

Stow last attempted to raise income taxes from 2% to 2.25% in November 2013. The issue failed by a 68-32 margin. If approved by City Council, the Taxpayer Bill of Rights will appear on the May 2018 ballot.


Major economic development news

In perhaps the biggest economic development “win” of the year, Stow will be adding hundreds of new jobs (retaining more than 100 more), tens of millions in investment, and about $700K in additional revenue to the city.

Best part is, the companies will be repurposing the existing Mac-Tac facility on Route 91, revitalizing an area that has been quiet since Mac-Tac moved manufacturing operations out of the 50-year-old building in 2014.

The first part of this announcement is the arrival of Reserve Investment Group (known as RMG) and its portfolio manufacturing companies, which are moving from Solon and Twinsburg. RMG will bring 450 full-time employees to Stow, and they’re good jobs, in the electronics- and scrap-processing industry. Payroll will reach $17MM, which gives the city $340K per year. (For context, that’s about how much Stow pays on the Fox Den debt annually.) RMG will accept an income-tax sharing grant equivalent to about 5% of the tax revenue coming to the city.

The second part of the news is that Mac-Tac will be maintaining its world headquarters in Stow. The company was actively looking to move into a more modern facility, and had closely eyed Hudson. But we fought to keep them. Mac-Tac has committed to have payroll of $10MM, and it will invest $2.14 in property improvements. Even more, Mac-Tac’s parent company (Lintec Corp.) is also moving to Stow, and the companies are actively seeking to acquire other companies to bring into the space. These are 101 full-time, good-paying jobs. Mac-Tac will accept a business-retention grant, based on a program City Council created when I was finance chairman in 2015.

None of this stuff happens by accident. In the past six years, Mayor Kline, her staff (Ken Trenner in particular), and City Council have focused on keeping jobs here and attracting opportunities from other areas. We do this, in part, so we don’t have to rely on residents to keep the lights on at city hall. More importantly (in my mind), we also do it because good-paying jobs lead to strong families, which lead to steady neighborhoods.

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