Local officials expressed concerns last week over a bill that gives property tax breaks to Ohio developers, prompting significant changes to the legislation. Designed to help developers predict costs and make more job-ready sites available in Ohio, the business-backed bill would freeze property values for land under commercial or industrial development until the project is completed through a sale of the property, an occupancy permit or the start of business operations. However, local officials who deal with economic development around the state said without major revisions, the bill could do more harm than good in some regions.
According to the Columbus Dispatch, there were particular concerns from areas that utilize tax-increment financing (TIF) districts, where projects rely on taxes generated from increased property values to fund infrastructure and debt payments. A major concern was that developers could automatically get the tax break for up to 10 years, without local input and without having to actually follow-through on promises of development or job creation.
Under revisions to the bill, the developer now would have to get approval for the tax break from the municipality, township or county where the parcel is located. And instead of a 10-year exemption, with the ability to renew, the break would last six years. The revised bill also would allow for recoupment of property-tax savings for up to three years if the parcel is sold with no improvements, or operations are conducted before the receipt of an occupancy permit. It now prohibits a parcel owner from using the tax break if he owes back property taxes. The House is likely to take action on the bill this week, potentially the final voting sessions of the General Assembly.
For the full article from the Columbus Dispatch, click here.