In an effort to highlight its disagreement with the state income tax proposal formerly known as HB 601, the city of Lakewood has taken the lead in crafting an official message of opposition.
The city, working with several Northeast Ohio communities, launched Ohio United, a website to oppose the measure now known as House Bill 5.
Mayor Michael Summers said the city paid about $5,000 for the Wordpress website, but added that he’s hoping other communities will chip in.
Summers said that city “can’t afford to take things for granted that this governor and this legislature have our best interests in mind.”
“They don’t,” he added.
Last year, Lakewood City Council passed a resolution officially opposing the initiative that would “gut the home-rule guarantees of the Ohio Constitution by imposing a state-mandated tax scheme on local governments.”
At the end of the year, the house scrapped the bill, but state Rep. Cheryl Grossman (R) reintroduced the idea in a new measure, HB 5, last month.
“The bill is very threatening to Lakewood,” Summers said. “We risk several hundreds thousands of dollars lost in income tax collection. More importantly, as a self-collector, it puts control of our collections at risk.
“It’s high stakes for us. It’s not an unusual story for the communities like us.”
Summers said that Lakewood took the lead to build the site because “time is of the essence.”