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Senate Vote on HB5 Likely During First Week of December

Senate Vote on HB5 Likely During First Week of December

Testimony on House Bill 5, the municipal tax uniformity and reform bill pending in the Senate, appears to have concluded. Senate Ways & Means Committee Chairman Bob Peterson indicated that amendments will be prepared over the Thanksgiving holiday, followed by committee and full Senate votes during the week of December 1st. If passed by the Senate, HB 5 would then go back to the House for a concurrence vote on Senate amendments before going to Gov. John Kasich for his signature.

Last week, both proponents and opponents of HB 5 got their final opportunities to tell Senate Ways & Means Committee members how the legislation would affect them and why they support or oppose it. Predictably, most municipal opponents of HB 5 continued to recite their customary but undocumented claims of revenue loss.

On the other hand, small business representatives gave the committee real world examples as to the negative impact the current municipal tax system imposes on their businesses. Echoing Hills Village CFO John Swanson told the committee that six of the 10 municipalities in which they do business require monthly withholding payments, while four require quarterly payments, with two asking that payment be made electronically and the remaining eight cities allowing payment by check. He said the uniformity provisions of HB 5 would relieve them of the burden of complying with all the different payment and filing requirements.

Eagle Heating and Cooling is a 14-employee residential and commercial contractor whose president, Tammy Schrock, told the committee the company filed 95 city withholding and net profits tax returns in 2012 and 104 in 2013. Since the company pays an accounting firm to prepare those returns, she said HB 5 goes a long way toward cutting those administrative and overhead costs and maintaining the company’s profitability.

The next hearing of the Senate Ways & Means Committee is likely to be on Tuesday, December 2nd, when a substitute bill and possible amendments will be debated. 

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