Senate District 21
Sandra R. Williams
Senator Williams Testifies on Legislation to Cap Property Tax Increases and Eliminate Water Liens
March 3, 2020
Today, Senator Sandra Williams (D-Cleveland) provided sponsor testimony on Senate Bill 273 (SB 273) to the Senate Ways and Means committee. The purpose of this legislation is to help protect long-term homeowners and vulnerable citizens from unreasonable property tax increases and to prohibit municipalities from imposing water and sewers liens on properties.

SB 273 seeks to place a cap on annual property tax increases to no more than 10% per year for qualified homesteads. The bill also allows localities to offer an additional property tax incentive that would aid in the reduction of property tax increases for long-term homeowners that experience exorbitant increases in their property taxes due to high growth and development in their neighborhoods.  

“Communities across Ohio are facing an escalation in property values due to gentrification and neighborhood redevelopment. Many long-term homeowners and residents are at risk of being forced out of their homes due to looming tax bills,” said Senator Williams. “It’s unfair to price people out of their homes because circumstances beyond their control.” 

The second critical part of SB 273 seeks to end the policy of placing liens on properties with overdue water and sewer bills, as outlined in Ohio law. This policy sometimes leads to residents being forced into foreclosure. For example, in Cleveland, water bills as low as $300 has been sent to the county auditor for a water lien to be placed on the property. More than 11,000 water liens were placed on properties between 2014 and 2018.

“As members of the legislature, we have a responsibility to protect our residents and ensure that economically vulnerable citizens are not further burdened by the inability to pay for essential services. Senate Bill 273 is that protection,” said Williams.

SB 273 seeks its second hearing in the Senate Ways and Means Committee.
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