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40 Percent of Columbus Income Tax Payers Have No Say

As Columbus voters prepare to decide whether to increase the city's income tax, it's ironic that many people who would pay the higher rate cannot vote on the issue. WOSU looked into the numbers behind the city's income tax.

Columbus Mayor Michael Coleman pleaded to city residents yesterday to help the city's ailing budget and pass an increase to the city income tax.

But nearly half of the people who will have to pay the tax cannot vote on it. Columbus City Auditor Hugh Dorian says about 40 percent of people who pay the city income tax work in Columbus but live outside the city.

But when you look at the dollars raised by the city's income tax, non-residents pick up most of the share. Suburban residents who work in Columbus make up 53 percent of the city's income tax revenue.

If voters approve the increase, Columbus will have the highest rate around the metropolitan area - at two-and-a-half percent.

Every city surrounding Columbus has an income tax - most at two percent, although some are as low as three-quarters of a percent. The majority of these cities like Grove City, New Albany, Hilliard and Dublin do not require its residents who work in Columbus to pay their local income tax. Other cities like Pickerington, Gahanna and Powell require residents to pay some local income taxes on top of income taxes they pay to cities in which they work.

Columbus does not levy additional income taxes on its residents who work in another city.