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Akron, Ohio

Mayor Horrigan Announces Proposal for % Income Tax Increase to Fund Public Safety & Roads

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City of Akron Press Release
From the desk of Ellen Lander Nischt, Press Secretary
Published: 06-22-2017

Akron, Ohio, June 22, 2017– Today, Mayor Horrigan announced his proposal for a ¼% earned income tax increase to fund capital and operating needs for police, fire/EMS, public service and roads in the City of Akron.  The income tax proposal, if passed by City Council, would be placed on the November 7, 2017 ballot for approval by Akron voters. 

“Over the last several years, the City of Akron has continued to do more with less.  We have made cuts across the board, reduced personnel, and consolidated services to reflect the City’s revenue challenges. However, we simply cannot cut our way to prosperity,” Mayor Horrigan said of the proposal. “It has been 36 years since our last income tax increase for essential city services, and as we seek to grow our population and revitalize our neighborhoods, our city needs and deserves this funding. The time is now.” 

On average, the funds would be spent between police (1/3), fire/EMS (1/3), and streets (1/3).  “It is essential that we provide our police and fire/EMS personnel with the equipment and facilities they need to protect our neighborhoods and keep us safe.  And, we simply cannot allow our roads to deteriorate further if we expect our neighborhoods and business districts to thrive,” Mayor Horrigan said.

The City of Akron has lost $15 million per year in fair tax-sharing from the State of Ohio and lost an estimated $80 million in unrealized income tax revenue since 2008, as a result of the recession.  Without replacement funding, the City would be forced to make difficult budgeting decisions that would impact City services across the board.

“As promised, I’ve listened closely to the Akron community over the past two years, and the feedback I’ve received is clear—we must invest in the long-term vitality of our neighborhoods. This fair and reasonable increase will allow us to significantly improve streets across the city by paving an average of 43 more miles of roadway each year. It will provide the funding needed to maintain current public safety staffing levels and replace deteriorating equipment and facilities for our Police and Fire Departments.”

Police Chief James Nice and Fire Chief Clarence Tucker joined Mayor Horrigan to express their full support for the proposal and detail the dire needs of their departments—including the need to launch a body-worn camera data storage program, replace two aging fire stations, at least one pumper truck, and 63 police cruisers in poor condition.

The additional ¼% income tax only applies to income earned at a job and will not affect retirement/pension income, social security, or other government benefits. Two-thirds of the funding raised through income tax collection is paid by commuters who work in Akron but live in other communities. If successful, this proposal would raise Akron’s income tax to 2.5% – consistent with cities like Cleveland, Columbus and Dayton. The cost of the additional ¼% tax is $1.68/week, for a resident earning Akron’s median income of $35,000. 

Council President Marilyn Keith joined the Mayor in making today’s announcement.  “I am proud to stand with Mayor Horrigan in support of this reasonable and much-needed income tax proposal,” President Keith said. “These funds will support the core services we provide as a City, and address the issues most important to our residents – public safety, the quality of our roads and neighborhoods.”

The Mayor concluded by renewing his commitment to continue to control spending.  “Even with an income tax increase, we must continue to explore ways to spend smarter, and prioritize funds where they’re needed most.”

The legislation authorizing the ¼% income tax increase will be introduced to City Council on Monday, June 26th.    

A fact sheet about the proposal is available here and basic data regarding the need for additional funding can be found here. For more information, please contact Ellen Lander Nischt, Press Secretary / Assistant Director of Law at [email protected] or 330-375-2325.

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For further information, contact:
Ellen Lander Nischt
Press Secretary / Assistant Director of Law
166 South High Street
Suite 200
Akron, OH 44308
Phone: 330-375-2325
E-mail: [email protected]

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