Easing Our Property Tax Burden

GOAL:

Ease our local property tax burden through expanding 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. While our taxes are comparable to all the municipalities on the east side of Cleveland and are lower than those in nearby cities (Garfield Heights, Shaker Heights, and University Heights), a heavy property tax burden can be a deterrent to possible new residents.

Moreover, high property taxes are harmful to a community, particularly one like ours, in which there is wide economic diversity. A high property tax burden deepens socioeconomic inequities because the tax rate is 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 the quality of the public services they currently fund.

First, we need to expand our property tax base by investing in improving quality of life here in Cleveland Heights. In addition to growing our local economy, we must also focus on issues like plentiful quality outdoor spaces, exceptional public amenities, and high-quality public services. When we have a greater number of residents, this will ease the tax burden on individual property owners.

And second, much of our property tax millage goes toward our public school funding. As an elected official and representative of our community, I will lobby our state legislators to ensure fair school funding from the state for our district. Our public officials must advocate for our public schools to receive the funding they need to provide a strong, enriching education to every student in our district. When our state pays its fair share, 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.

* 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.