About the Tax Working Group:

The Tax Working Group was established in 2018 when a number of people from across Northeast Ohio concerned about the steep increase in property taxes met at conference held in May of that year. Since local elected and appointed officials are only responsible for ensuring the viability of the entity they serve, such as a township, a school district or other taxing subdivisions, there is no organization responsible for monitoring what is happening to property taxes in the aggregate.

Since monitoring what is happening with our property taxes overall is too important a role not to be filled, we chose to take that role upon ourselves.

Our Goal

We educated ourselves on the sustainability of property tax trends by looking at the rate of increase, trends in household income and changes in population; and then our goal is to effectively take what we learned and educate everyone else.

Keeping Focused

We decided to focus on property taxes because property taxes are voted on by the people and are therefore self-inflicted taxes. This means if property taxes are truly on an unsustainable trend then we collectively are responsible for this situation. Additionally we believe this effort is important because voters cannot make wise decisions regarding property taxes without a full understanding of both the good and harm the taxes are doing. It is also important to note the limits of our analysis. We did not include other taxes such as local sales or income taxes, nor does it include state sales and income taxes nor federal income taxes.

Looking At The Data

To better understand the trends in our property taxes, the Tax Working Group (TWG) collected property tax data from the county auditors throughout Northeast Ohio. The data covered the most current year tax data that is available, which was typically 2017, and the ten years prior, which was usually 2007. Included in the data were property taxes for all political taxing subdivisions such as schools, townships, libraries, cities, mental health districts, etc.

Now What?

Unfortunately the data shows voters regularly recklessly approve levy after levy. On average Northeast Ohio property taxes grew faster than the rate of inflation during this 10 year span. At the same time, both median household income and population in Northeast Ohio decreased.

The clear conclusion is the ever increasing taxes are like a boa constrictor slowly squeezing the financial life out of ourselves, our neighbors and our community.

With the determination property taxes are on average ‘Unsustainable’, it became clear the Tax Working Group needed to provide useful tools to those citizens who are willing to take action against levies in their community.  The tools we developed help take the guesswork out of conducting an anti-levy campaign by spelling out all of the important things which need to be done to run an effective campaign.  Ultimately if we do not get the rate of increase for our property taxes under control, we will continue the status quo where voters vote to ‘self-evict’ themselves from their homes because property taxes have become more than they can afford.