Keeping tax burden low

Like so many local government officials, those in Martins Ferry have been looking for ways to reduce spending and increase revenue.

They were right last week, however, to reject a proposal that would have increased the burden on city taxpayers.

An ordinance that would have slashed the city income tax credit for people who live in Martins Ferry but who work in another location that also has an income tax was brought up during a City Council meeting last week. The measure had been debated for weeks, and many residents expected council to approve it.

In Ohio, implementing an income tax is one way municipalities can raise money to cover necessary expenses. The revenue generated by such a tax can go toward infrastructure maintenance and improvement, payroll, equipment and bill payments. All of those things add up quickly in a community the size of Martins Ferry, which is one of just two cities in Belmont County.

For many years, the city has had a 1 percent income tax in place, collecting revenue from residents of the city and from those who live elsewhere but work in Martins Ferry. But, as many communities have done, the city arranged for those who live there but work in another municipality with its own income tax, such as St. Clairsville, to receive a tax credit. Residents currently receive a 100 percent break on taxes they pay to other municipalities. The proposed ordinance would have cut that credit in half.

But the proposal did not even make it to the stage of a full-council vote.

The motion to proceed with the ordinance died for lack of a second.

Council members apparently decided that the people of the Purple City already carry their share of the financial burden.

have earned a heartfelt pat on the back from their constituents. Now, they have to continue looking for ways to keep the municipal budget in balance — but have refused to do so on the backs of already stressed working men and women.


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