Central Ohio Townships Ask Voters To Approve Income Tax On Some Workers

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Jefferson and Perry Township voters will be asked next month to decide whether they want some workers at local businesses to pay an additional income tax.

Eric Stover is co-owner of Besa Lighting in Blacklick.  He questions why many of this 30 employees could soon face higher taxes without representation.

"The Columbus Dispatch ran an editorial saying this is a license to plunder and a highly undemocratic tax grab, and that's exactly what we feel it's like," said Stover.  "As an employer we'll have to withhold 1.5 percent on all the employees located here - and then it's up to them to get credit back."

Stover says Jefferson Township trustees announced in January they would tax 168 selected parcels, but after political pressure from some local businesses, nine days later they lowered the number.

"In total, now, there are 96 parcels. So they went from 168 down to 96 parcels in a matter of nine days," said Stover.

The joint-economic-development-tax - or JED-Z - is a similar story in Perry Township, where voters will be asked to raise the income tax 2.5 percent on businesses in 53 selected parcels.

Over the weekend, the Worthington Hills Country Club sent a letter to members urging them to vote "no."

The letter said, "We feel this will have a negative impact on our Club and Staff, who will have to pay this extra tax of 2.5%."

Matt DeTemple is the executive director of the Ohio Township Association.

He says what Jefferson and Perry townships are proposing is legal and necessary to provide services.

"I think it's ironic to criticize JEDZ as being undemocratic because there is a vote," said DeTemple.  "If you compare that to some taxes including the municipal income taxes up to one percent it's actually more democratic."

Stover says vote or not - the whole tax idea should be shelved.

"They've potentially mismanaged their money when they've spent over $100,000 to get this on the ballot," said Stover.