At the last moment the Republican caucus of the Ohio House slipped in a provision to the state budget bill language which likely will make it next to impossible for the Lake Local School District to pass its 7.95 mill ballot initiative this coming November 5th.
Lake is the only Stark County school district with an issue on this fall's ballot.
As member of the caucus is Christina Hagan of Marlboro Township who represents the 50th Ohio House District which includes the Lake schools.
She voted for the bill.
This legislation did two things which had to give Lake school officials "that sinking feeling" in terms of whether or not its operations levy will pass.
First, it eliminated a 12.5% rollback in property taxes for all new tax levies (including schools).
Secondly, it took away a 10% homestead exemption for Ohio's senior citizens who have annual income of $30,000 or higher.
The Lake schools had an uphill fight to pass its levy without the barriers put in place by the Legislature in the tax action move that included no opportunity for those affected to make input.
Witness Lake's recent history on school revenue issues:
Going forward, it is not only Lake but all school districts and other local government entities (cities, villages and townships) who will have a tougher road to travel in getting voters to approve property tax levies.
The 12.5% rollback was a deal that the state of Ohio struck with Ohio's voters when the tax was implemented in 1972.
On April 25, 2013 Lake officials placed a levy on the ballot likely on a note of optimism.
On June 30th and Governor Kasich's action of approving the budget bill (with a few line item vetos) with the "adverse to local government property tax issues" provisions in place, any hope that may have beat in the hearts of Lake officials certainly evaporated into "that sinking feeling."
Will they be sending Representative Hagan a thank you for her help in bringing on that unease?