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PAINESVILLE, Ohio (WJW) — A sales tax hike that was set to take effect April 1 in Lake County is no more.
Lake County commissioners at their Thursday meeting voted to rescind a new half-percent sales and use tax increase. The new tax revenue would have gone into the general fund, to be invested into safety measures.
“One of the things that prevents businesses from expanding is crime. That is what we are hearing from our courts, sheriff and our prosecutors,” Commissioner John Hamercheck said earlier this month, following public pushback against the tax hike.
Mentor city council members expressed concern that city residents would end up paying the most after the increase, since the city ranks sixth in the state in retail sales volume, FOX 8 reported. The increase would have pushed the county’s sales tax to 7.75%, the third-highest in the state, according to Mentor officials.
“This isn’t just restaurants and commercial stores, this is manufacturers, car dealers. They are all going to pay more,” said at-large council member Ray Kirchner.
Commissioner Richard Regovich, who supported the increase, said Thursday he had met with constituents about the tax increase over the last several weeks, but struggled to convey its importance.
“I believe it was the right decision for me to make, but it’s a complicated issue,” he said. “It would be difficult to talk with 200,000 people on this.”
The measure to rescind was met with applause Thursday in the board chambers.
Commissioner John Plecnik, who opposed the hike, later issued a statement:
This is a great victory for the people of Lake County. I was proud to vote no on the biggest tax increase in Lake County history, and I am grateful the other two Commissioners finally listened to the people, changed their minds, and voted with me to repeal their sales tax increase. Raising our taxes to the third highest in the state of Ohio in this period of historic inflation was just plain wrong. Seniors on fixed incomes are literally being taxed out of their homes. Families are struggling to put food on the table. The people spoke loud and clear. No new taxes.Lake County Commissioner John Plecnik