Group: Change in Ohio’s work-from-home income tax law would invite business ‘nightmare,’ hurt cities

Two plans to change Ohio’s municipal income tax law for work-from-home employees are being criticized by a state advocacy group. FILE
Two plans to change Ohio’s municipal income tax law for work-from-home employees are being criticized by a state advocacy group. FILE

Credit: FILE

Credit: FILE

Two plans to change Ohio’s municipal income tax law for work-from-home employees are being criticized by a state advocacy group.

The condemnation by the Greater Ohio Policy Center of SB 352 and HB 754 comes just days after Synchrony Financial announced plans for nearly 1,900 workers to vacant its Kettering site as part of a strategy for its global workforce to permanently work from home after the COVID-19 pandemic.

If approved, the bills “would create an administrative nightmare for all businesses required to comply,” according to the GOPC.

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Both bills, records show, would repeal HB 197, a measure approved earlier this year after the coronavirus caused many businesses to shut down or implement a plan for the employees to work from home.

HB 197 keeps workers paying income taxes to the municipality in which their employer is located at a time when more jobs are being done from home.

“Using a temporary pandemic to justify changes to a long-term tax structure would unfairly penalize cities who have long supported Ohio’s economic competitiveness and made investment decisions based on the expectation of this structure’s existence,” the GOPC wrote in a letter released Thursday.

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Passage of those bills could cost Ohio’s six largest cities - Cincinnati, Cleveland, Columbus and Dayton, among them - $306 million annually, according to the GPOC.

Last week, Synchrony Financial, of one Kettering’s largest employers, said it would be pulling out of Kettering Business Park when its lease expires Dec. 31 and have all employees work from home.

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The Stamford, Conn-based business is expected to have a significant negative impact on the income tax base in Kettering, which stands to lose more than $2 million annually.

Synchrony officials said the company has a large number of jobs in Ohio.

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