Cincinnati-area voters approve sales tax for roads, transit

May 27, 2020

Keith Goble

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Voters in Ohio’s third-largest county, which includes Cincinnati, have approved a sales tax increase to raise $130 million annually for infrastructure work.

Issue 7 on the spring ballot in Hamilton County asked voters whether to raise the local sales tax to aid bus service and road improvements throughout the county.

The county now relies primarily on the city’s earnings tax to support Cincinnati’s Metro. The tax has accounted for about $50 million annually for bus service.

The question passed by a 50.3% to 49.6% margin – a 980 vote difference out of 134,416 votes cast.

Passage of Issue 7 authorizes the Southwest Ohio Regional Transit Authority to increase the county sales tax by 0.8% to 7.8% for 25 years.

Additionally, passage of the question initiates a rollback of 0.3% of the city of Cincinnati’s earnings tax. The 2.1% tax is paid by people who live or work within the city limits.

The tax increase is estimated to raise $130 million annually. Three-quarters of the revenue – or $97.5 million – will be earmarked for transit. The other 25% – or $32.5 million – will be applied for road and bridge work.

Infrastructure work along or within three-quarters of one mile from Cincinnati Metro bus routes qualify to benefit from the tax increase.

Advocates said about two-thirds of the roads and bridges in Hamilton County would benefit from the additional tax.

Changes to the earnings tax and the sales tax will be implemented on July 1.

More Land Line coverage of news from Ohio is available.

Keith Goble

Keith Goble has been covering trucking-related laws since 2000. His daily web reports, radio news and “OOIDA’s State Watch” in Land Line Magazine are the industry’s premier sources for information regarding state legislative affairs.