Clinton-Massie earning tax fails

By Gary Huffenberger -

WILMINGTON — An earnings tax issue for Clinton-Massie Local Schools was turned down Tuesday, with the unofficial vote totals district-wide finishing at 1,329 against and 1,191 for.

On Tuesday night Clinton-Massie Superintendent Matt Baker said, “Obviously we are disheartened by the results this evening, but we will carry on with our goal to help Clinton-Massie realize its full potential. After cutting over $3.1 million since Fiscal Year 2010 we will continue to explore avenues to balance our budget.

“With our goal of being the best district in southwest Ohio, it will take us longer to get there if we are constantly reducing opportunities for students. A wise community member told me you can’t cut your way to prosperity,” continued Baker. “I would like to thank our new levy council that dedicated long hours, time and money to help the cause.

“I know our staff is resilient, and will stay student-centered throughout our upcoming transitions,” Baker said.

The proposed five-year, 0.25 percent earnings tax for Clinton-Massie Local Schools was projected to generate about $543,400 annually.

According to a News Journal election preview article with Baker, he said if the tax issue did not pass, “sweeping large-scale cuts would have to be enforced to balance the budget for fiscal years ’19, ’20 and beyond.”

Passage of the proposed tax would have meant current programs could be kept and current fee levels maintained, anticipated the superintendent prior to the election.

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.

Meanwhile, voters in the Clinton-Warren Joint Fire & Rescue District passed the renewal of a 4-mills, five-year levy for fire protection and EMS services. The unofficial vote totals for both counties are 884 for the levy and 373 against.

The renewal levy is estimated to generate $411,000 annually for the fire district.

By Gary Huffenberger