Bill Would Restore Homestead Tax Exemption To All Ohio Seniors

Sep 18, 2013

Some Ohioans who are now turning 65 will not get the property tax break that Ohioans just one year older are getting.

The new tax reform plan that went into effect recently eliminates the homestead tax exemption for all Ohio senior citizens in the future. Ohio Public Radio’s Jo Ingles reports, they are backing a plan to change that new law.

This is the tale of two Ohio brothers.  Joe Smith turned 65 in January.  He signed up for the homestead exemption….the provision that allows seniors to get a break on their property tax bill.  His brother, Bob, turns 65 next January but he’s not going to be allowed to sign up to take that same exemption.  That’s because of changes made in the newly passed tax reform package.  Now, under state law, those who already had the exemption before the new tax law passed, are grandfathered in so they can keep it.  But those who weren’t old enough to take advantage of it yet must now pass a means test in order to qualify for it.  Democratic State Senator Lou Gentile says thousands of Ohioans who would have gotten the tax break months ago won’t get it now.

Gentile – We believe that amounts to a tax increase.

Gentile and Democratic House Representative Nick Barborak, support a bill that would remove the means testing and go back to allowing all Ohioans 65 or older to take advantage of the property tax break. 

Barborak – Policies like this ought to be vetted in the open and debated in public.  This policy was enacted, put in the budget in the dark of night without any opportunity for those affected to have any input.  Our constituents were not given the opportunity to weigh in.

Barborak and Gentile say the people they represent are weighing in now and they are not happy about the change that many view as an unfair tax increase.  At least one Republican is also weighing in to support the plan.  Barborak says Republican House member Ron Hood, one of the most conservative in the Statehouse, is supporting the bill.  Hood did not return requests for an interview prior to deadline for this story.