Clinton-Massie Local Schools seeks earnings tax in upcoming primary election

By Gary Huffenberger -

ADAMS TOWNSHIP — The earnings tax issue for Clinton-Massie Local Schools is projected to generate about $543,400 annually.

There are numerous reasons the school district, through its board of education, asked for a tax issue in the May 8 primary election, according to Clinton-Massie Superintendent Matt Baker.

Those include recruiting and retaining quality staff members; increased costs combined with no increase in state support since 2007; facilities that need repaired and maintained including safety upgrades across campus; and a need for additional educational resources due to increased graduation requirements, Baker stated.

Passage of the proposed 0.25 percent earnings tax would mean current programs could be kept and current fee levels maintained, anticipates the superintendent.

“We will still continue to find as many cost-cutting measures as we can, but large-scale cuts would be postponed,” Baker said.

If the tax issue does not pass, “sweeping large-scale cuts would have to be enforced to balance the budget for fiscal years ’19, ’20 and beyond,” said Baker.

He added the board of education, along with the district treasurer and himself, are working on a list of possible cuts if the tax question does not pass.

A person living in the school district and earning $100,000 during a year would pay $250 annually toward the quarter percent earnings tax. So of course a district resident earning $50,000 during a year would pay $125 annually.

Earned income is defined by the Ohio Department of Taxation as wages, salaries, tips and self-employment earnings, according to the website which is sponsored by the Clinton-Massie Levy Council which supports the tax issue.

The following would be exempt from the earnings tax: retirement income, unemployment compensation, Worker’s Compensation, interest, dividend, capital gains, profit from rental activities, alimony received, child support, and distributions from trusts and estates, says the website.

The proposed tax issue has a duration of five years, and would start on Jan. 1, 2019.

The superintendent said the district’s five-year financial forecast anticipates a revenue shortfall of more than $200,000 at the end of Fiscal Year (FY) 2019 even with a projected increase in property tax revenue due to property re-evaluations in Clinton and Warren Counties and also despite nearly $500,000 in cuts going into FY ’19.

Currently, it is projected the school district will have an $800,000 revenue shortfall by the end of FY ’20, he added.

Last November, voters in the Clinton-Massie school district soundly defeated a different sort of tax issue — a proposed property tax levy at a level of 5.8 mills. The vote totals last fall were 2,079 votes against and 1,207 votes for.

Reach Gary Huffenberger at 937-556-5768.

By Gary Huffenberger