Hamilton County GOP pushes for sales tax increase to go on upcoming ballot

Hamilton County GOP pushes for sales tax increase to go on upcoming ballot (WKRC)

CINCINNATI (WKRC)- The sales tax approved Monday by the Hamilton County Commissioners would cost the average family about $24 a year but that's not the point according to Commissioner Chris Monzel (R), who was the only one who voted against it.

"I think folks are just getting tired of seeing people, government hit the 'easy' button an raise taxes without really looking to try and see if we can reduce costs and run the government efficiently," Monzel said.

Volunteers will be heading out this weekend gathering signatures.

"This will not be an easy effort. There are a lot of signatures to be collected in a short period of time," Hamilton Co. Auditor Candidate, Nancy Aichholz (R) said.

People in Hamilton County could be voting on four tax issues if the sales tax referendum makes it onto the ballot. A potential admissions tax in Cincinnati, a potential METRO bus tax levy, a Children's Services tax increase and the sales tax increase referendum.

"It's kind of like the straw that broke the camel's back. Eventually it just gets too much and we're just seeing too many come at us," Tom Brinkman, the founder of COAST, a group that says it fights on behalf of taxpayers said.

Jordan Vorst said because it's such a small increase he didn't mind the commission doing it.

"If it's a one-time thing that we can expect to see for the next 3-4 years, then I think that's fine," Vorst said.

Carl Hickman, II said he's happy to hear the group is trying to give voters a shot to vote on the sales tax increase, instead of just taking public comment during meetings.

"If the voters have their shot, it means they're making their voices heard on their own terms so they don't have to be asked. So, I like it," Hickman said.

Hickman doesn't think the commissioners would consider another tax increase without putting it to the voters or else the commissioners could get voted out.

"Next time anything like this happens there's going to be a whole lot of uproar and then it's going to go right back down to how it was. So, I think next time they'll have learned their lesson and that's going to be the end of it," Hickman, II said.

Monzel also pointed out there's no limit on how long this tax increase could last for. He said it should at least have a mechanism to re-evluate it like property taxes.

"Every five years [we] get a chance to re-evaluate and say 'Do we still need to have that money taken out? Are we still using it for the right reasons?' And the public gets a chance to say 'Yes.' Or 'No.' The same thing should be done here with the sales tax but unfortunately, the public was not given that chance," Monzel said.

The GOP leaders also think a referendum could get more people to the polls in November.

"Sure, I think it will have a positive impact at the ballot box for the people we think are right for government," Hamilton Co. GOP Chairman, Alex Triantifilou said.

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