The Senate Ways and Means Committee approved SB90 April 14 that would repeal the Ohio Estate Tax SB90 for the estates of individuals dying on or after January 1, 2011.


Despite pleadings from witnesses and Democratic amendments reconsider repeal of the estate tax, the Republican

committee members made a small concession to extend repeal of the estate tax by two years. The bill was reported

out of committee, with the two-year extension amendment offered by Sen. Schaffer’s.

Sen. Turner said while she is appreciative of the extension to two years from enactment of the bill, this is not the

time to be considering such a cut and will still put a strain on local government budgets across Ohio. She offered an

amendment that was tabled along party lines that would have at least extended the phase-out date for 10 years, due

to the current budget issues.”I think we can do better,” she said.


Turner also was turned down on her amendment that she said was suggested by Gene Krebs of Greater Ohio,

essentially creating a revolving loan fund for local government infrastructure planning.

One other tabled amendment offered by Sen. Skindell would have created an earned income tax credit for low- to

moderate-income Ohioans.


City of Toledo Tax Commissioner Clarence Coleman explained to committee members the “full context” of the

proposed cut of the estate tax on local governments.  “The city of Toledo receives between $3 million and $4 million each year from the estate tax for our city’s General Fund,” he said. “With an operating General Fund budget of $228 million, the loss of $4 million may not first appear to

be a catastrophic loss … A reduction in $4 million at this point would almost surely mean the reduction of public

safety personnel.”


Coleman said this cut would also mean the difference between maintaining the skeletal recreation program and not

having recreation at all, and would further have a “domino effect” on other fiscal responsibilities.

As for Toledo, he said, the city’s largest source of General Fund revenues is income tax. In 2007, the city took in

almost $170 million from the income tax. By 2009, that figure fell to just over $140 million, a loss of almost $30

million in just two years.


“While income tax revenues are starting to slowly recover, other funding sources are still falling, including property

tax revenues,” Coleman said. “In the aggregate, we expect 2011 to have the lowest aggregate revenue figure for

Toledo since 1994. Of course you are aware of the cuts likely coming to Toledo’s third largest source of revenue, the

state’s Local Government Fund, and the state budget also targets reductions for the transition funds for the tangible

personal property tax.”


Coleman said that Toledo crafted its budget last month and it includes $15 million in one time funding, but also

includes savings from such initiatives as a merger of the Ottawa Hills Fire Department into the city of Toledo Fire

Department, and also a ceding of the city’s trash collection program to the Lucas County Solid Waste Management

District.  “In short, Toledo is already collaborating with other local governments and making the tough decisions that the times

demand,” Coleman said.


He urged the committee to reconsider the timeline for eliminating the estate tax and said this change is “simply too

much” for many cities to handle, especially when they are in times of early recovery.