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LWV League of Women Voters of Ohio
Smart Voter
Hamilton County, OH November 7, 2006 Election
Issue 12
Proposed Sales And Use Tax
Hamilton County

A majority affirmative vote is necessary for passage

114,272 / 42.92% Yes votes ...... 151,974 / 57.08% No votes

See Also: Index of all Issues

Information shown below: Impartial Analysis |

The Board of County Commissioners of Hamilton County proposes increasing the rate of the existing sales tax levy by one quarter of one percent for a total of three quarters of one percent for ten (10) years for the purpose of SUPPORTING CRIMINAL AND ADMINISTRATIVE JUSTICE SERVICES. Shall the Resolution of the Board of County Commissioners of Hamilton County increasing the rate of levy of the sales tax by one-quarter of one percent for ten (10) years, be approved?



Impartial Analysis from LWVCA Ed Fund
Explanation: This proposal would increase the sales tax in Hamilton County from the current 6.5% to 6.75% (one quarter cent [$0.0025]) for a period of ten years for the purpose of supporting criminal and administrative justice services. The tax increase would raise an estimated $32.5 million per year, for a total of about $325 million over 10 years. The proposal was placed on the ballot by a vote of the Hamilton County Board of County Commissioners (BOCC).

What the proposal would do: Voter approval of Issue 12 would implement a BOCC resolution authorizing the construction of a new 1800 bed jail facility and a 3 year property tax reduction in the form of a rebate, that is, a credit, applied to the County's inside millage (2.26). Any savings after construction, for example, from reduced construction costs or lower than anticipated financing costs, will be used to end the sales tax prior to the expiration of the ten year term. Following the recommendations of the Corrections Review Task Force and the Vera Institute, the BOCC will appoint a Criminal Justice Coordination Commission (CJCC) to identify programs and processes to reduce crime and re-entry into the criminal justice system.

Background: Hamilton County operates four (4) correctional facilities with a total capacity fixed at 2272 inmates. The Hamilton County Justice Center (HCJC), opened in 1985 and owned by the County, has a current court-mandated capacity limit of 1240 inmates based on double occupancy, operates at 95% capacity and is the primary detention facility. It is the operational center for the correctional system providing basic services to all four facilities. The Queensgate Correctional Facility, a renovated warehouse opened in 1992 for minimum security inmates but with a security system inadequate for the level of inmates now held, is leased and operated by the County. Two other satellite facilities in renovated buildings are underutilized because of inadequate security for the types of inmates coming into the system. The beds in the three facilities would be replaced and 785 beds added in a new 1800 bed secure facility. The HCJC would be maintained at its current capacity as a pretrial facility for maximum and some medium security inmates.

The revenue from the sales tax increase will:

  • Fund the $225 million construction costs of the new facility including payment of interest on bonds for construction;
  • Mitigate revenue lost to the county from the property tax rebate;
  • Pay for the cost for housing prisoners in Butler County until the new facility becomes available, projected to be in 2010.

The rebate would save the owner of a home valued at $100,000 about $20 in tax year 2007, $18 the next year and $7 in the final year of the rebate.

For additional information: Click on Learn about County Jail Expansion in menu bar on left of screen.

Proponents say:
1. A new and expanded 1800 bed secure facility is needed to replace 3 satellite facilities as a long term solution to manage the growing number of inmates coming into the system and who need higher levels of security.
2. Consolidating facilities is a cost effective approach and could improve jail programming.
3. A new facility is needed to reduce jail overcrowding and early releases of offenders.

Opponents say:
1. A quarter cent sales tax increase is a burden on low income people.
2. This proposal does not address the issue of substance abuse, mental health, rehabilitation and similar programs without which jail overcrowding will not be alleviated.
3. Large landlords and property tax wealthy owners will receive a larger tax break while middle class families will pay more taxes.

  Official Information

Auditor's Report on Levy Information

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Partisan Information

No Jail Tax PAC
We are a group of citizens and taxpayers opposed to Issue 12 in Hamilton County, Ohio. Issue 12, on the ballot in November 2006, would raise sales taxes for the purpose of a jail expansion in Hamilton County. No Jail Tax PAC is an issue-only PAC registered at the Hamilton County, Ohio Board of Elections.

Support of the Jail
General Links

Hamilton County Jail Expansion Project - links to Resolution and FAQ

10/05/2006 Currently Hamilton County levies half a percent for the county's General Fund and an additional half percent for the stadiums. How much money does a half-percent county sales tax generate each year? Here are the numbers for a half a percent (rounded) for the past decade. 1995 $47.9 million; 1996 $51.7 million; 1997 $53.9 million; 1998 $56.1 million; 1999 $59.6 million; 2000 $60.9 million; 2001 $59.3 million; 2002 $60.5 milllion; 2003 $60.4 million; 2004 $63.5 million; 2005 $64.1 million. So far this year, 2006 sales tax revenue for a half a percent is about $.5 million less than last year.
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Created: January 4, 2007 09:47 PST
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