Campaign for Dayton tax increase pulls in $280k

Issue 9 on the November ballot would raise Dayton’s income tax to 2.5 percent if approved.

The group campaigning in favor of Dayton’s proposed income tax hike hauled in more than $280,000 since the beginning of July, according to financial records submitted to the Montgomery County Board of Elections.

In less than four months, Neighborhoods for Dayton’s Future received more than 150 donations from local residents, businesses, developers, political campaigns, elected leaders, union groups, nonprofit organizations and city employees.

Between May and late October, the group spent more than $218,400 on consulting services, polling, web development, mailings, digital ads, signs and other items and services, according to campaign finance records.

The campaign’s largest contributions came from the Greater Dayton Area Hospital Association, Dayton Power & Light Co. and CareSource.

“CareSource is in support of Issue 9, because the tax increase will help provide quality pre-school educational options for thousands of 4-year old children in our community,” said Dan McCabe, CareSource’s chief administrative officer.

The nonprofit’s investment also supports local citizens and neighborhoods by helping maintain vital services and resources, McCabe said.

Opponents of Issue 9 have criticized the city’s spending priorities and some have accused the city of financial mismanagement. 

In late June, Dayton officials announced they would put a tax levy on the November ballot that would increase the city’s earnings tax to 2.5 percent from 2.25 percent.

The additional 0.25 percent tax is expected to generate about $11 million annually and would last eight years.

By early July, Neighborhoods for Dayton’s Future started collecting donations from a diverse group of residents, companies, employers, labor groups, nonprofits and political and community leaders.

Michael Voelkl is listed as the group’s treasurer.

In an email to this news outlet, the campaign described itself as a partnership of local businesses, activists, parents and residents who understand new revenue is necessary to “keep city services strong and invest in the future of Dayton’s neighborhoods.”

The Greater Dayton Hospital Association contributed $30,000 to the campaign, while DP&L pitched in $25,000.

Dayton-based Miller-Valentine Commercial Construction and Woolpert, located in Beavercreek, each donated $10,000.

Miller-Valentine Group, which is headquartered downtown, supports Issue 9 because it will fund basic and essential services and infrastructure investments needed to help make Dayton more vibrant, said Dave Dickerson, Miller-Valentine’s Dayton market president.

The levy will help pay for universal, high-quality pre-school, which is a major investment in Dayton’s future workforce and will benefit the local economy and employers, Dickerson said.

“This is a community-supported issue,” he said.

But some local citizens and community leaders have come out strongly in opposition to the tax measure.

Zakiya Sankara-Jabar, executive director of Racial Justice NOW!, said the new revenue should be spent on other investments in neighborhoods and poverty-reduction programs.

“… Issue 9 will create a financial burden for those struggling to make ends meet without the benefit or even the promise of increasing opportunities and resources for residents, such as jobs and access to quality food,” she said.

Neighborhoods for Dayton’s Future has spent its cash on a broad range of services and promotional materials, including mailings, radio spots and other advertisements.

“Through attending 30 community meetings by election day, volunteers knocking on doors and making phone calls and a hard working staff, the campaign will communicate with voters right up until the polls close,” the group said.

Local developers, including Charlie Simms, Crawford Hoying and the Ellway Group, also gave money to the campaign.

“I think the tax increase is long overdue and it will be good for the city of Dayton,” said Simms, who has built a variety of homes downtown.

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