Easing Our Property Tax Burden

GOAL:

Ease our local property tax burden through diversifying our tax base and advocating on behalf of our public schools on the state level for fair funding of education.

Here in Cleveland Heights, we feel the weight of our property taxes. On the one hand, it is worth noting that our taxes are comparable to all the municipalities on the east side of Cleveland, they are lower than those in nearby cities (Garfield Heights, Shaker Heights, and University Heights), and in 2018 we were among the cities in the Cleveland area with the largest decrease in property tax rates.

But high property taxes are harmful to a community, particularly one like ours, in which there is wide economic diversity. High property taxes deepens socioeconomic inequities because they are not applied progressively. Thus, they impact lower- and moderate-income families harder than upper-income households.

We need to decrease our property tax burden over time while not compromising—and perhaps even improving—the quality of the public services they currently fund.

First, we need to diversify our tax base by strengthening our business community. As mayor, I will work closely with our Economic Development department to grow our local economy and revitalize our business districts. When we have a greater number of prosperous businesses, this will ease the tax burden on our residential property owners.

And second, much of our property tax millage goes toward our public school funding. As mayor, I will build coalition with municipalities across the state to lobby our state legislators to pass the Fair School Funding Plan. This bill will ensure that our public schools receive the funding they need to provide a strong, enriching education to every student in our district. Once enacted, the need to pass levies to fill funding gaps will decrease and, as previous levies’ millage reduces downward,* so too will our property tax burden.

How I Will Ease Our Property Tax Burden:

I will decrease individual residents’ property tax bill by:

  • diversifying our tax base and 
  • advocating on behalf of our city on the state level for school funding reform. 

* In Ohio, the dollar amount raised from school levies is fixed (and that is the biggest portion of our real estate tax), so as home values rise, the amount collected for a specific levy does not rise with it; instead, the millage of the levy is decreased. So, as inflation and other factors increase our property values, it also decreases our millage—our property tax rate. You can read more about how levies and millage work HERE and HERE.