COLUMBUS (TDB) -- Franklin County Auditor Joe Testa says Ohio property tax laws won't allow dramatic reductions, and homeowners shouldn't expect to make smaller payments during the real estate and housing slump now gripping the state. Many Ohio homes aren't worth nearly as much on today's down market as they were 18 months ago. Testa explains that state law keeps property taxes stable, or "that same Ohio law which protects homeowners by decreasing the tax rate when property values rise during reappraisal works in reverse if values fall . . ." Testa put the emphasis on the word reverse. Here's the longtime Republican official's explanation:
"Frequently I am asked his question: 'If property values actually did decline, how much of a tax break will we see?' The surprising answer is, almost nothing. Why? It is because Ohio tax law protects schools, social service agencies etc. during down markets in the same way it protects homeowners during up markets through a tax rate adjuster called 'reduction factors.'
"Over 30 years ago, the state legislature passed House Bill 920 to prevent tax increases from occurring during property tax reappraisal. Reduction factors are applied to levies approved by the voters and reduced the tax rate if the district's value increased during the state required reappraisals and updates conducted by the county auditor."