TOLEDO, Ohio (WTVG) - For Toledo Mayor Wade Kapszukiewicz, Issue 1's passage means better things for the city, particularly when it comes to commutes.
Source: U.S. Army via MGN
"Issue 1, if it does nothing else, will fix the roads of our city -– period," Kapszukiewicz said during his 2020 State of the City address.
Under Issue 1, Toledo's earned income tax would jump to 2.75 percent for 10 years. The mayor says it would mean roughly $8 more out of a paycheck.
If voters approve, the levy would generate an additional $44 million each year. Half of the cash would go to the Capital Improvement Fund, repairing residential roads and securing new equipment for first responders. The other half would go to the General Fund, financing parks, neighborhoods and Universal Pre-Kindergarten. Thanks to ballot language, money from the CIP could not be spent elsewhere.
"That one-two punch is pretty powerful, and that's one of the reasons that there's so much more support for Issue 1," Kapszukiewicz said.
Despite the benefits the mayor says Issue 1 will bring, others aren't convinced.
"What are we going to do differently that we haven't been doing over the last 38 years since we passed the original temporary tax?," Lucas County Republican Party member Patrick Kriner said.
Kriner says Toledo is cash-strapped after years of mismanaged funds and poor spending.
"If [the Democrats] had been doing a good job over the last 20 years or so we wouldn't be in this problem," Kriner said. "The roads got the way they are because of decades of control by the Democrats and City Council in Toledo."
While Kriner agrees the city faces infrastructure issues, he says higher taxes are not the answer; he says it will hurt jobs and those who work but don't live in Toledo.
"In the long-term you might find businesses abandoning Toledo and going somewhere else where the income tax is much less," Kriner said. "We’ve already seen that with other companies that are abandoning the city of Toledo because of the increase in taxes and not being able to get the benefits that they need for their employees."
With the March Primary fast approaching he's now urging voters to deny what he calls a bad deal for Toledoans.
"We want to see lower taxes, and we want to see better spending by our government," Kriner said.
Toledo voters will decide on Issue 1 on March 17. The last day you can register to vote in that election is Tuesday, February 18.