New Carlisle voters rejected a proposed ballot measure Tuesday that would have required a major change to the city’s income tax collections and could have resulted in the lost of nearly $1 million to its budget.
The issue would have required the city to give a 100 percent income tax credit to New Carlisle residents who work in another city. New Carlisle taxes all residents at 1.5 percent, regardless of where they work.
But voters rejected the issue 67 percent to 33 percent, according to final, unofficial results.
Some cities give credit for local income taxes paid elsewhere. Columbus provides a 100 percent credit and Springfield gives a 50 percent credit to its residents. New Carlisle provides none.
Supporters argued the current system is unfair because it taxes residents who work elsewhere twice.
City officials countered the tax revenue is critical to provide essential services to residents. City leaders have said they would have had to cut 35 to 40 percent of their full-time staff if voters approved the change, including deputies who patrol New Carlisle and respond to emergency calls there.
The issue’s failure will allow the city to move forward and could spark new conversations on the city council about how to best serve residents in the future, Mayor Mike Lowrey said.
“It’s been a stressful few weeks with this hanging around our shoulders,” Lowrey said.
Several New Carlisle voters said Tuesday both sides have valid arguments but the city would struggle if the issue had passed.
“I don’t want to pay taxes in both places,” said Larry Ledbetter, who works in Dayton but lives in New Carlisle. “But New Carlisle can’t survive without it.”
About 60 percent of its local income tax would have been eliminated if voters had said yes, according to city campaign literature. New Carlisle was projected to take in $1.64 million in local income taxes this year overall.
Doug McDonald, a New Carlisle voter who also opposed the measure, said he usually is against any issues that would mean higher taxes. But in this case, he said the city needs the revenue. Most people who live in New Carlisle drive elsewhere for work.
“There’s no big corporation people drive to New Carlisle for,” McDonald said. “We’re a living quarters for other people’s businesses really.”
Justin Ronallo, a New Carlisle resident who opposed the measure, said he doesn’t mind paying taxes that support the community.
“I am for paying taxes if it helps the city and the schools,” he said.
Staying with the story
The Springfield News-Sun has dig into the ballot initiative to change how New Carlisle collects its local income tax since residents first began circulating petitions over the summer, including stories digging into possible cuts and why supporters say the current system is unfair.