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Law change could mean windfall

A change in Ohio legislation could result in approximately an additional
$354,000 in tax revenue for Highland County in 2010.
   Commissioners Gary Heaton and Shane Wilkin told The Highland County
Press that a change in the application of taxes could help the county
considerably next year. As first reported at,
commissioners had anticipated total receipts being down close to $3.5
million in 2010 from 2008 levels.
   In late October, Highland County Auditor Bill Fawley estimated the
county’s total receipts for 2010 to be approximately $7.95 million. The last
time the county’s general fund budget appropriations were below $8 million
was in 2000, when they were $7,690,629, Fawley said.
   Heaton said this week that after speaking to other counties, as well as
the County Commissioners’ Association of Ohio, Highland County could see
additional funds due to a change in taxation for Medicaid services.
   According to Brad Cole, senior policy analyst for the County
Commissioners’ Association of Ohio, the Ohio Legislature enacted a change in
the franchise fee that had been used for Medicaid managed care services and,
after a federal law change, adopted a state sales tax.
   The 5.5-percent applied sales tax includes permissive sales tax for the
county. Highland County’s permissive sales tax is 1.5 percent, in addition
to the 5.5 percent state tax.
   “The sales tax will be applied to services in Highland County,” Cole
said in an interview this week. “The {revenue} number varies depending on
the size of the county and its population, plus the number of subscribers to
the services.”
   The change actually began Oct. 1 of this year, Cole said.
   When asked how long the change would be in effect, Cole said: “To the
best of my knowledge – and I’ll caution {readers} on this – as of right now,
it is in perpetuity. Now, that does not mean the federal government won’t
change the law again. They certainly can.”
   Cole said the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services submits the
state plan and the federal center for Medicaid services has to approve it.
“But based on what we know right now, it should go on — barring any changes
in federal law.”
   “This is probably going to save some jobs,” Heaton told The Highland
County Press Wednesday. Heaton said the county is now projecting 2010
revenues of $8,360,690.[[In-content Ad]]

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