Media Advisory

For Immediate Release: June 13, 2011
Contact: Charlie Winburn at (513) 352-5354 or (513) 884-7832

Winburn proposes property tax relief for commercial and residential property owners in order to attract new and retain existing businesses, create new net jobs, and increase new home ownership in Cincinnati

Cincinnati, Ohio – Cincinnati City Councilmember Charlie Winburn is calling upon Council conservatives to use the annual property tax budget proposal and process for 2012, which is due to the County Auditor by Friday, July 1, 2011, to pave the way and take advantage of the following:

  1. Develop a city budget plan with view towards establishing a permanent structurally balanced city budget.

  2. Identify approximately $26 million in permanent, annual city budget cuts.

  3. Use this tax budget process to offer residential and commercial property owners property tax relief.

Winburn believes it is time to give property owners who pay taxes to the City of Cincinnati year after year some of their money back. “In light of the County’s reevaluation of properties which has resulted in decreased property values for a significant number of property owners, we owe it to them” Winburn said. “Property owners should not have to pay the same amount that they are paying today when their property values have decreased as reflected in their 2012 property valuation.”

Winburn noted the following:

  1. He will be meeting with Council members today to discuss giving residential and commercial property owners property tax relief by maintaining property taxes between 4.0 and 4.6 mills, which a majority of Council would have to make up approximately $4 million in city budget cuts and spending to offset this tax break. Approximately 4.6 mills will generate approximately $24 million in property taxes for the City. Cincinnati is currently taking in approximately $29 million annually in property taxes. However, the property tax relief will be predicated on the reappraised value by the County auditor. If the property values go down by 7.3% or more the property owner will get a tax break. Therefore, if the City Council sets the millage between 4.0 and 4.6 mills it will also ensure property tax relief for a significant number of property owners.

  1. Winburn will be requesting that Council Members oppose the City Manager’s plan to increase property taxes. An increase will undermine efforts to attract new businesses, create new net jobs, and attract new homeowners. This un-voted 6.1 mill tax rate will result in a significant tax increase on commercial and residential property owners. The City Manager’s property tax increase will generate an additional $3.1 million in new property tax revenue for a total annual tax revenue of approximately $32 million.

  2. If City Council and the City Manager want to increase commercial and residential property tax on city property owners then they should have the courage to put it on the ballot and let the voters decide.

  3. Winburn is working on a budget reduction and cost-savings plan that calls for reducing city spending in the general fund budget by approximately $25 million per year which will move the city towards a structurally balanced budget.

  4. Winburn plans to commission a property tax survey asking thousands of Cincinnatians if they prefer property tax relief or whether they support a property tax increase to offset future budget deficits.

  5. Winburn will be asking the Mayor and Council to pass a budget priority resolution that establishes criteria for all future developers, contractors, etc. who seek funding from the city. The criteria would include the following questions for the developer:

  • How much private sector money will they be bringing to the project and how much are they requesting from the city, i.e., loans, grants, Tax Increment Financing, Job Creation Tax Credits, Community Reinvestment Area (commercial only), Tax Abatements, Property Investment Reimbursements, and New Market Tax Credits?

  • How many net new private sector jobs will be created?

  • How much will the city receive in property or earning income tax due to the investment?

  • How many other businesses and will be attracted to the city due to the investment?

  • How many new home owners will this project bring to the city?

  • What is the long-term commitment to the initiative or project?

Winburn believes that Cincinnati citizens have been taxed enough already and it’s now time for five members of Council to come together to cut the budget. They should consider other alternatives to raising taxes such as privatizing some city departments like Transportation, Planning, Building & Inspections, Enterprise Technology Solutions, in addition to significantly cutting police and fire administration, public service administration, as well as various department and division heads. “This is the way to pave the way for a strong economic foundation for Cincinnati. Raising taxes won’t,” Winburn said.

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