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Hamilton County Republicans Want To Repeal Sales Tax

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Ann Thompson
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WVXU
The petition drive is already underway. A big push will be election day.

Hamilton County Republicans are launching a campaign to decrease the sales tax, which commissioners recently voted to keep at 7%. Party leaders want to put a repeal before voters in March.

"The three Democrat Hamilton County Commissioners extended the Museum Center tax without the consent of the voters who initially expected it to end after five years and after the Museum was repaired," a news release says. A petition drive will "give the voters a choice about a new sales tax."

WVXU's Senior Political Analyst Howard Wilkinson reports 33,969 signatures will be needed for an appeal to move forward.

The party held a news conference Monday afternoon at its downtown headquarters.

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Credit Ann Thompson / WVXU
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WVXU
Chair Alex Triantafilou says the petition drive is a grassroots effort.

The deadline for the signatures is Nov. 14.

Chair Alex Triantafilou says the voters need a voice. "We have been here before. We have been successful in 2018 to put a sales tax before the voters and commissioners withdrew that tax."

At the news conference, former Cincinnati City Councilman Charlie Winburn denounced the tax saying area Democrats have a disregard for taxpayers.

"These are the same people. These are the same people who gave us a parks levy a few years ago and we defeated that. These are the same people that year after year, continue to raise your sewer tax and they continue to raise your water bill."

"Really our theme is sign and vote," says Colerain Township Trustee candidate Matt Wahlert. He says people can go to salestaxpetition.com to get involved. Petitions are already being circulated. The party says it will make them available to sign on Election Day Nov. 5.

Commissioners on Oct. 15 approved a one-quarter (0.25) percent increase in the county sales tax. The new tax is scheduled to take effect April 1, 2020. Commission President Denise Driehaus says it's needed to help balance the budget.

"We've been treading water for a while here in Hamilton County," Driehaus said. "From my point of view, it's time to sink or swim. And I think today we're choosing to swim and move forward as a county."

Ann Thompson has years of journalism experience in the Greater Cincinnati market and brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise to her reporting. She has reported for WKRC, WCKY, WHIO-TV, Metro Networks and CBS/ABC Radio. Her work has been recognized by the Associated Press and the Society of Professional Journalists. In 2019 and 2011 A-P named her “Best Reporter” for large market radio in Ohio. She has won awards from the Association of Women in Communications and the Alliance for Women in Media. Ann reports regularly on science and technology in Focus on Technology