Lakewood made its position on House Bill 601 very clear on Monday night.
Lakewood City Council passed a resolution stating opposition to the proposed state law that would “gut the home-rule guarantees of the Ohio Constitution by imposing a state-mandated tax scheme on local governments.”
Along with the mayor, six out of seven of council members opposed the house bill. Ward 3 councilman Shawn Juris did not sign the resolution, however he said he also opposes House Bill 601.
At-large councilman Brian Powers said that House Bill 601 would take away the city’s ability to enforce the “local tax laws that we have levied on ourselves.”
“We believe that House Bill 601 is being marketed as a tax uniformity bill, but is in reality a Trojan Horse piece of legislation,” Powers read, “sneaking in 129 pages of revisions into tax law so that state politicians can plunder Lakewood revenues and withhold Lakewood’s cash flow for their own purposes.”
The proposed legislation in Columbus could have estimated annual $.5-million impact on Lakewood, should the state measure pass, city officials have said.
“We believe that a small, locally managed tax system is more efficient, more effective and more responsive to the needs of our residents than a large, unwieldy state-wide bureaucracy,” Powers said.
Summers said that other communities have been largely silent on the issue, because “they don’t have the advantage of insight that we have.”
“We’ve seen this coming, and we’ve had some time to prepare,” Summers said.
Ward 1 councilman David Anderson called the resolution “self-defense.”
Ward 2 councilman Tom Bullock agreed. “It seems that what’s going on in Columbus is that these folks are believing their own propaganda,” he said.