Mayor: If Toledo passes Issue 1, 40% of all city income taxes will go toward roads

Published: Mar. 3, 2020 at 6:30 PM EST
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With about two weeks remaining before one of Toledo's most historic election days, there's some confusion on exactly where money generated from Issue 1 will be spent.

Approval of Issue 1 could change the city's income tax for the next decade. If you've voted early, absentee or simply looked at a sample Toledo ballot you'll see Issue One: Toledo's proposed income tax increase.

The full ballot language mentions a 60-40 split on how the money is spent. That split shows that the 40% will be spent on roads. That’s confusing some voters who think this issue is all about roads.

The roads in Toledo need to be fixed, it's no secret and that's what just about all of the signage for Issue 1 says. Just about every Toledoan has a story.

"I've had family come from out of town, and when people come from out of town to visit you, it's embarrassing when they say, 'Man, every road in this city is bad,'" Toledoan Blair Johnson said.

If Issue 1 passes, putting Toledo's income tax at 2.75%, 60% of the money will go for general fund expenses, like police and fire and 40% would go for capital expenses, like roads.

"A majority of the new money raised from the passage of Issue 1 will go into capital projects and specifically into fixing our roads," Toledo Mayor Wade Kapszukiewicz said.

That's the Mayor’s message. Most of the "new" money raised from the tax increase goes to roads. If it passes, forget the old idea of a 3/4% income tax. In its place, an income tax that puts 60% of its dollars in general fund and 40% in roads.

"I can understand how someone can look at that 60-40 and can be confused by it. That 60-40 is not the apportionment of the new money, that will be the apportionment of all money," said Kapszukiewicz

Also included in this levy are dollars for more police, parks, and universal Pre-K, which is not currently required by the state of Ohio and therefore not funded.

"We're not doing education. We're letting the educators and preschool specialists and the early childhood specialists do the education. We're providing the financial support," said Dr. Cecelia Adams of the Toledo City Council.

"It makes us become a city that's prospering. We have a lot of good reports on what Toledo is doing on economic development, but in our neighborhoods is where we're faltering," said Micheal Alexander, Sr. of the NAACP.

Opponents of the project don't like the idea in part because it would leave Toledo with the state's highest income tax for big city, tied with Youngstown.

Toledo voters will make the final call on March 17.