Two interior designers testified against the proposed extension of the sales tax to interior designers during an April 5 hearing before the House Finance Committee studying the state’s Budget Bill, HB 49.

Tamra Fuscaldo, an interior designer representing the International Interior Design Association (IIDA) Ohio Kentucky Chapter, said she opposed the expansion of sales tax on interior design services.  “Simply stated, IIDA and its members are opposed to the expansion of sales tax on interior design because taxing commercial interior design services adds costs to public and private building construction costs, and would clearly hinder companies seeking to expand or bring their business to the state of Ohio,” she said.

“Professional services should not be taxed as they are not a commodity,” Fuscaldo continued. “The interior design process follows a systematic and coordinated methodology, including research, analysis and integration of knowledge into the creative process, whereby the needs and resources of the client are satisfied to produce an interior space that fulfills the project goals. We are not a luxury or a discretionary service and should not be taxed as such.”

Tracy Phelps, an interior designer from Mentor’s Laura Gills Interior Design, said she opposed the expansion of sales tax on interior design services.

“As a young, striving designer, I chose this profession and to stay in Ohio because there was great potential for this industry. I, like many of the current students studying for their degree in interior design at many of our institutions across Ohio, fear that a tax on our services would stifle opportunities for our future in our state,” she said. “Our profession is already competitive in nature and must have a balance between good design, best price, and best value. I feel that if this provision were to stay in HB49, Ohio’s interior designers would be placed at an extreme disadvantage and opportunities in Ohio for graduates of interior design would be drastically reduced.”