Mayor Seeks Income Tax Ballot Approval
Toledo Mayor Wade Kapszukiewicz released the following
statement this week regarding the November 2020 ballot:
“After weeks of conversation
with members of City Council, leaders in the business
community and citizens all throughout Toledo, I have decided
to ask Toledo City Council to place two issues on the ballot
for the November election.
“Today, I am introducing
both ordinances to City Council, which will need to approve
them both by August 4th in order to place the issues before
“The first issue is a simple
renewal of the temporary 3/4 percent income tax that has
helped fund city operations for nearly 40 years.
“The 3/4 percent income tax
was first passed in June 1982 and has never failed to earn
the support of Toledo voters. It is the engine that operates
city government, and all Toledoans understand that it must
be renewed in November in order for the city to provide even
the most basic of essential services.
“The 3/4 percent renewal
generates $56.8 million to help the city provide police and
fire protection, snow removal, clean water, park
maintenance, and other basic services.
“The defeat of the 3/4
percent renewal would truly be catastrophic for our city. To
understand the impact of removing $56.8 million from the
city budget, consider that salaries and benefits for the
roughly 500 Toledo Police patrol officers also total $56.8
million. In other words, filling the hole in the city budget
caused by the defeat of the 3/5 percent renewal could be
accomplished by laying off literally every single patrol
officer on the police department.
“Clearly, this would be an
unacceptable future for our city. Toledoans understand this,
which is why they have voted to renew the 3/4 percent income
tax consistently since 1982. I know they will do so again
“The second issue is a
temporary four-year 1/4 percent income tax increase to be
used, exclusively, to fund road repair. The passage of this
issue would raise $18.9 million per year to fix the roads of
Toledo, which as we all know, are badly in need of repair.
“The most effective public
officials are the ones who truly listen to their
constituents, and since the defeat of Issue 1 in the spring,
I have sought input from stakeholders from all parts of our
city. The feedback I received was crystal clear: a separate,
stand-alone, smaller tax increase levy, to be used solely
and exclusively to fix our roads, would enjoy the support of
citizens who want to see Toledo succeed. That is what this
“Issue 1 was criticized for
being too bold — for seeking to do too many things at once.
While Toledoans wanted the youth programming, park
improvements, pre-K, road repair and additional police that
Issue 1 would have provided, I can understand that asking
for all of those things at once was perhaps overly
ambitious. This certainly became true after the COVID-19
crisis ushered in a time of great economic uncertainty.
“Time and again, I heard
voters express three very clear opinions: they didn’t want
the tax increase to be so large; they wanted the new revenue
to fix roads much more so than any other program; and they
wanted the request for new revenue to be separated out from
the primary means of funding city operations, the 3/4
“I listened to the citizens
of Toledo, but more importantly, I heard them. That is why
the approach I am requesting does each of the three things
voters demanded: the levy requests are two totally separate
issues; the size of the tax increase has been cut in half
(from 1/2 percent to 1/4 percent); and every penny of the
additional revenue will be spent fixing our roads.
“As much as I continue to
believe that Toledo also needs more programming for youth,
more police, universal pre-K and stronger parks, the revenue
from this new levy will go to only one thing: road repair.
“Toledo has faced a year of
unprecedented challenges, but the passage of these two
issues in November will chart the course for a stronger and
brighter future. I am asking City Council to place these two
issues on the ballot so we can build on our momentum and
invest in our city.”