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LWV League of Women Voters of Ohio
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Hamilton County, OH November 7, 2006 Election
Issue 14
Proposed Tax Levy (Renewal And Decrease)
Hamilton County

A majority affirmative vote is necessary for passage

183,344 / 68.22% Yes votes ...... 85,415 / 31.78% No votes

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Information shown below: Impartial Analysis |

A renewal of a part of an existing levy, being a reduction of nine-tenths (0.9) mill to constitute a tax for the benefit of the County of Hamilton, Ohio, for the purpose of SUPPLEMENTING THE GENERAL FUND TO PROVIDE HEALTH AND HOSPITALIZATION SERVICES, INCLUDING UNIVERSITY HOSPITAL at a rate not exceeding four and forty-nine hundredths (4.49) mills for each one dollar of valuation, which amounts to fortyfour and nine-tenths cents ($0.449) for each one hundred dollars of valuation, for five (5) years, commencing in 2006, first due in calendar year 2007.



Impartial Analysis from LWVCA Ed Fund
Explanation: This property tax levy is a renewal of 4.49 mills of the existing tax levy for Health and Hospitalization services, including University Hospital, which is due to expire in December 2006. It will produce an average of $47.7 million per year, or a total of a approximately $235 million over a five year term which begins in 2007. The levy is a reduction of .09 mills which means a $4.54 savings to the residential property owner of a $100,000 market value home who now pays approximately $51.78 per year. Auditor and Treasurer fees of 1.3% are included. The levy reduces funds for Health and Hospitalization Services by approximately $9.5 million per year.
The levy was approved for the ballot by the Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) after reviewing recommendations of two commissioner appointed advisory committees, the Tax Levy Review Committee (TLRC) and the Health Care Review Committee (HCRC).

What the levy will do: Each year levy funds will go to:
1. University Hospital - $26 million to pay for costs of care to medically indigent or uninsured patients. The reduction in this amount from $34 million in the previous levy reflects a reduction in the county's administrative costs, and the recognition of other sources of money for indigent patient care.
2. Children's Hospital Medical Center - $6 million. It was recommended that this money be distributed in grants to the hospital for innovative programs to reach poor and uninsured children.
3. Tuberculosis Control Services - $1.4 million. Each Ohio county is mandated to provide screening , diagnosis and treatment and education to prevent the onset and spread of tuberculosis.
4. Inmate Health Care - Increasing from $7.5 million to $11.3 million over five years. Attention to health care needs is required by the State for inmate populations of the county correctional facilities.
5. Juvenile Court Medical Services - $1.45 million to cover medical needs of detainees at two county juvenile facilities.
6. Alcohol and Drug Addiction Services (ADAS) - $2.4 million for this Board to cover the detoxification, assessment, case management, outpatient treatment and residential care for referrals from the Drug Court and other agencies. Tax levy funds are 31% of the ADAS' budget. A total of 6,157 clients were served under this program during the past 5 years. The BOCC approved the merger of the ADAS and Mental Health Boards, effective October 19, 2006, into a new Board of Alcohol, Drug Addiction and Mental Health services (ADAMH).
7. Medical Handicaps - $4.9 million. Responsibility transferred from Children's Services utilizing levy reserves.

All hospital levy monies are to be used for Hamilton County residents only. All non-hospital entity allocations, except for TB, reflect slight increases over the previous levy.

This year an additional county-appointed commission, the Health Care Review Commission (HCRC) examined portions of the Health and Hospitalization funding for University and Children's Hospitals. The HCRC also made suggestions to the BOCC to streamline the TB and inmate medical service programs. The BOCC made final the decision on the total amount and apportionment of these parts of the levy.

The HCRC's primary recommendation was that the county no longer be an insurer of last- resort for indigent patients but that it provide grants for indigent patient care not already covered by other sources such as Ohio's Hospital Care Assistance Program. This change reduced administrative costs that led to the recommended reduction of levy funding for the hospitals from $43 million to $20 million per year. The hospital portion later was fixed at $32 million per year after discussion and deal made with U.C. representatives by the BOCC. Payment of levy funds to other area hospitals for indigent care was not recommended. A summary of this committee's reports can be found at: hc/bocc_hcrc.asp

The Tax Levy Review Committee looked at the Inmate Health Care and Juvenile Court Medical Services, tuberculosis control and the alcohol and drug abuse programs and recommended changes in operations that would produce savings. A cost of living increase of 2.3% was recommended in line with the Commissioner's goal to keep tax levy increases below the rate of inflation.

The Inmate Health Care increases also recognized that medical costs increase at a higher rate.

For a complete report of this committee go to:

Background: The Health and Hospitalization Levy was first passed in 1966 to reimburse the then University of Cincinnati Hospital for their care for medically indigent patients. Children's Hospital Medical Center was added in 1976. The levy millage has increased with each five year renewal until this year's ballot issue.

Proponents of the levy say:
1. University and Children's Hospitals have history and experience in medical services to the indigent that should be supported. TB, drug treatment and inmate health services must be paid by the county.
2. The levy continues attention to medical care to indigent adults and children while reducing expenses to the tax payer.

Opponents of the levy say:
1. Addressing medical needs of poor and uninsured residents of the county requires a comprehensive study and planning beyond what was done for this tax levy.
2. Ohio's Hospital Care Assistance Program adequately reimburses U.C. and Children's Hospitals for care of indigent patients. No additional monies are needed from a tax levy for this purpose.

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