“I think that would be something that we could do that would really improve Ohio’s economy and help us attract business and jobs,” Coley said.
While there exists “vested interests” in each line of tax code, a greatly reduced flat state income tax drastically simplifies matters and makes things more fair, he said.
“It’s what people are used to,” Coley said. “All the Ohioans who pay a municipal income tax … that’s a flat tax. When you look at that conceptually people are used to it because that’s what they pay in their municipal income tax.”
Another goal of Coley’s is Senate Bill 235, a development bill he co-sponsored with Sen. Bill Beagle, R-Tipp City. The bill provides that those who purchase commercial and industrial properties wouldn’t face increased valuations on their property until they complete work on the site by obtaining an occupancy permit or selling the site to a new user.
“That way you encourage developers to put their money into the property and if it takes six months or a year to get a tenant or to sell the building then they’ll pay tax at that point when they get a tenant,” he said. “Right now, so many places around the county and around the state, in an industrial park, they’ll have a sign that says ‘Coming Soon’ with a picture of a factory. Well, we want them to build the factory and that way when somebody comes in from out of state and says ‘Hey, I need to build a factory. I want to be open in four months,’ the developer says ‘No problem. We can pour concrete all winter long inside a building and we’ll have you up and running in four months.’”
Realistically speaking, a developer isn’t getting any benefit from a site until that point anyhow, he said.
“Just wait until he finishes, then raise his taxes,” Coley said. “You’re not letting him benefit from it.”
Coley said he plans to continue working on “improving things incrementally” via suggestions from his constituents.
“We get great ideas from all of our citizens … who just come to us and say ‘If you just did this or that, you’d make it a little bit better,’ and that’s what we try to do,” he said.