The Debate Over Centralizing Local Tax Collections

By
Fred Kight

Dateline
Updated Fri, Sep 9, 2011 1:06 pm

The Kasich administration is studying a new way of collecting local taxes in Ohio.

If it's implemented, the state would do the collection.

Ohio Tax Commissioner Joseph Testa says the state's current web of municipal taxes is too complex and bad for business.

Last year, the Ohio Society of Certified Public Accountants recommended that the state look into centralizing local tax collections.

One way to do this is piggybacking them on state tax returns.

Debbie Phillips is a Democrat who represents Athens and the 92nd Ohio House District.

Phillips says the CPA's have a legitimate concern but she does not support centralizing.

"I think that local control is important," she says. "I think people like government that is as close to them as possible."

So if centralizing is not the answer, what is?

Representative Phillips says simplification would help.

"Maybe there could be a way for municipalities and school districts" and other such taxing entities "to build off the (federal-state) structure that exists," she says.

With technology advancing so rapidly these days, many of us have a hard time keeping up.

Ditto for our lawmakers in Columbus.

Debbie Phillips was appointed to serve on a House technology study group, which is focused on improving efficiencies and accessibility.

The group recently had its first meeting and talked about information security and other issues.

She says, "Maybe we should be looking more toward cloud computing and things that may be more efficient that help public servants communicate with the public."

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