Testifying for the Homestead Tax Credit
Testimony to Increase Homestead Credit
Auditor Thomas Testifies to Increase Senior’s Property Tax Savings
Columbus- County Auditor David Thomas made the long trek down to Columbus to give testimony to the Ohio House Ways and means Committee in support of a bill to help Ashtabula County seniors facing increasing financial burdens.
“I hear nearly every week from our seniors on a fixed income who simply do not know how they can continue to make ends meet with rising inflation and taxes,” shared Auditor David Thomas. “It should not be the case that seniors cannot age in place due to increasing property taxes.”
Thomas testified in support of increasing the Homestead Tax Credit benefit tying the savings to inflation instead of a flat savings as is currently the case. HB 57, Index the homestead exemption amounts to inflation, was introduced by neighboring State Representative Steve Demetriou (R-Bainbridge Twp.) and State Representative Thomas Hall (R-Madison Twp.) of Hamilton County.
Thomas represented the County Auditors’ Association of Ohio urging supporting for increasing the savings of Homestead for qualifying property owners. “Since 2007, when the exemption was locked at $25,000, the value of the real dollar savings of the exemption has gone down more than 20%,” explained Auditor Thomas. “Tying the savings to inflation ensures it increase each year and does more good for property owners.”
The Traditional Homestead Tax Credit is for low-income senior citizens and permanently and totally disabled Ohioans who would be taxed at a $25,000 lower market value than if they did not receive Homestead. This savings, according to Thomas, is an average of $450 in Ashtabula County but will vary based on tax rates in each community.
The Veterans Homestead Tax Credit is for veterans who have a 100% service-connected disability, or be a surviving spouse. This credit is a $50,000 reduction in the market value of the home and averages a $900 savings in Ashtabula County.
Thomas passed along his conversations with seniors who, even on the Homestead Tax Credit, are facing growing financial burdens to aging in their homes. “Every cent counts and matters to those on a fixed income and I think we have a responsibility to provide more for those who spent their lives working and owning property,” said Auditor Thomas.
Currently Ashtabula County has roughly 9,000 households on the Homestead Tax Credit and added 425 in the previous year. Thomas reinforced the importance of the program to Ashtabula County as the Homestead Tax Credit is given to nearly 1 in 4 households in the county.
Thomas concluded his testimony by reminding members of the Ways and Means Committee that one reason County Auditors support increasing the Homestead Tax Credit is that unlike most other tax credit and incentive programs, the Homestead does not cost other property owners more by increasing their tax rates to make up the difference.