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Franklin County Considering Sales Tax Hike

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At a time when the economy is still struggling, residents of Franklin County in Columbus could see more money coming out of their pockets. The county’s 2013 budget has fallen short by 3 percent from the previous year and a steeper sales tax is now pending.

The sales tax provides the largest stream of income for the county, hence why raising it to a higher rate is getting such consideration.

The economy has not recovered very quickly and the recession turned into the great recession. Coupled with the slow recovery, Franklin County Commissioner President James O’Grady said that $41 million in state funding cuts has also contributed to budget issues.

While the sales tax hike has received a lot of attention, O’Grady dismissed the concerns.

“Raising the sales tax is a very premature idea for a solution,” said O’Grady.

O’Grady said the county is in the very beginning steps of the process to assess the budget.

“We are going to create a financial committee of citizens that have some of the strongest minds, and have them serve on a panel to work with us and review the county expenditures,” said O’Grady.

The panel will work with the county on how to move forward and identify possible solutions for the budget situation. O’Grady mentioned that a possible solution could be the installation of spending cuts.

The 2013 budget in Cuyahoga County has also been the subject of heavy debate. County Executive Ed Fitzgerald has faced a $10 million decline in revenue; similar to Franklin County, it also faced cuts in state aid.

The Budget will include a variety of different spending proposals including $20 million to further economic development.

Both counties are contemplating different solutions for the complex problems. Despite the lengthy recession and the cuts in aid, Franklin County has now gone eight consecutive years with a balanced budget.

O’Grady said the panel will have at least six months to review the finances and expenditures so that they can come up with a variety of solutions to fix the problem.

“We expect some solutions to be revealed in either July or August,” said O’Grady.

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