Earlier today, the Ohio House passed House Bill 126. The Ohio Chamber of Commerce made HB 126 a key vote because it addresses a portion of a tax administration public policy priority of the Ohio Chamber. The Ohio Chamber thanks Rep. Merrin for continuing to bring this issue forward. This will be the third attempt to enact modest but necessary reforms in the real property valuation appeal process.
As we heard from the House floor today, Ohio is one of only four states to allow school districts to initiate an appeal to contest a taxpayer’s real property valuation. A valuation that was originally set by a different government official, the local county auditor. HB 126 simply requires a school board to approve the valuation complaint at a board meeting before a complaint is filed with the county. HB 126 also requires the school board to give the owner notification of the meeting 14 days ahead of that meeting. It is hard to believe that anyone would be against giving a person notice before that person becomes a party to a formal complaint process at the local board of revision.
I hope this will move the Council on State Taxation (COST) scorecard needle. COST currently gives Ohio a D+ in its 2019 International Property Tax Administration scorecard. Hopefully, HB 126 will also provide taxpayers a chance to hold a conversation with local officials before a formal real property valuation complaint is filed. This will also give local citizens more transparency of what its local school board is doing and how they are spending money on behalf of those citizens.
The measure now moves to the Ohio Senate for consideration. In the last General Assembly, the Ohio Senate amended the legislation and passed the measure on the last session day after the Ohio House adjourned for the year.