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Ohio Senate targets older homeowners in revised tax relief act

A neighborhood in Dayton, Ohio
Alejandro Figueroa
A neighborhood in Dayton, Ohio

The Ohio Senate passed House Bill 187 on Wednesday, but not without several major amendments.

House Bill 187, also known as the Ohio Homeowners Relief Act, is a response to the rising property values due to inflation. For example, Clermont County property values are expected to increase by 43% using a one-year average.

The original bill sought to change the property tax evaluation wording from “may use a three-year average when reevaluating property values” to “shall use a three-year average when reevaluating property values.” This change would have limited the increase in Clermont County property values to 23%.

The amended bill instead will provide tax breaks for older or disabled, low-income Ohio homeowners. These breaks will be applied to the next three tax years. Qualifying homeowners with a total income under $36,000 can receive a tax exemption on $30,000 of their property value. Qualifying homeowners with income under $75,000 may receive partial exemptions.

Representative Adam Bird, the state representative for Clermont and Brown counties, cosponsored the bill in the Ohio House of representatives with Thomas Hall.

He warned the rising property taxes will severely affect the elderly.

“Most elderly people, they don’t have a job. So, they’re on a fixed income. When you change the property valuation, they’re going to have to sell their house.”

The amended bill will prioritizes tax breaks for older homeowners instead of all Ohio homeowners. To qualify for the tax breaks in the amended bill, homeowners must be over 65 years old or permanently and totally disabled. Surviving spouses can also receive a tax break if their spouse applied and qualified for the tax break before death. They must be at least 59 years old themselves.

The bill now returns to the House of Representative for approval on the amendments. There is pressure to get the bill passed before the Ohio legislature session ends on December 14.

When discussing the original bill, Rep. Bird emphasized urgency: “We need this bill very quickly in Ohio so that people don't get priced out of their homes.”