Monroe’s proposed 0.50-percent income/earnings tax was approved Tuesday with a 60.7 percent to 39.3 percent edge, according to unofficial, final results from the Butler County Board of Elections.
Under the proposal, property owners living inside city limits would receive a 0.50-percent tax credit.
“I think it’s a good thing, because we are not putting a burden on the citizens of Monroe,” Mayor Bob Routson said. “But we’re putting the burden on the people who have the opportunity to work in the city of Monroe, but aren’t actually paying the property tax.”
At stake in the tax issue was a hike for non-residents and residents who rent, who would pay $5 per $1,000 in earnings.
The mayor said it’s true that tenants will pay more under the tax, but “they have an interest because we still take care of them. It’s not that the property owners aren’t paying the property tax, but I think at some point in time everybody needs to share it a little bit.”
The city has said one goal of the ballot issue was to put more taxes on non-residents who use city services rather than the residents who already were paying property taxes. Because the income tax applies only to earned income, retirees’ income would not be affected.
“A lot of our squad runs, fire runs, stuff like this — mostly squad — are people that work in the city but are from outside, that are not paying income tax, or not paying property tax. So this is an issue that we thought, ‘OK, what is a way that we can generate a little additional money?’” Routson said.
“We are running out of room — the police department has three guys in one little room,” he said. “So we need to expand a little bit, and this is a way to generate money for it.”
The city put the matter before residents with the promise the increased taxes would go toward public safety, parks and public improvements.