Ohio sales tax rising on Sept. 1

The cost of most items bought in Washington County will increase in a few weeks.

Washington County Commissioners learned Thursday during their weekly business meeting the state will increase its sales tax by 0.25 percent, increasing the state sales tax from 5.5 percent to 5.75 percent. That means the new Washington County sales tax will be 7.25 percent, effective Sept. 1.

“It is not an increase in the Washington County rate,” said Washington County Commission President David White.

Most counties in southeast Ohio currently have a 7 percent sales tax as of January 2013. Athens, Hocking and Gallia each have a 6.75 percent sales tax.

“I worry about making things more expensive,” said Michael Boersma, 23, of Marietta. “We’re in difficult economic times, and everyone’s having trouble making ends meet.”

A 2005 Chevrolet Trailblazer available at a local dealership for $9,995 would generate just less than $700 in sales tax. After Sept. 1, that same vehicle would incur $725.64 in sales tax.

Dave Boso has owned and operated Dave’s Marine, 2 Walnut St., Belpre, since 1967.

“The state is cutting taxes in one place and raising it another place,” Boso said. “Where does it get us ahead?”

Boso said he typically sends about $2,000 per month during boating season and almost nothing during the winter. The state pays each business owner 0.75 percent (a reduction of the amount the business owner keeps) to report sales tax collected via a website and send it in. He said he has to calculate sales tax on paper and add it to the website, which “makes it easier for them, not me.”

Boso also said he supports dumping the Ohio income tax altogether. He supports adding 1 percent to the sales tax instead of these small increments.

The state sent out postcards to all taxpayers, and Boso said his notification arrived during the first week of July.

“It takes me probably an hour, and if I am lucky, in a really good month, I probably don’t get $5 for collecting sales tax. … I’ll have to reprogram my register,” he said. “That’ll take an hour.”

Gov. John Kasich signed the sales tax hike into law June 30. Besides the state sales tax hike, state income tax rates will drop 10 percent, with the first 8.5 percent retroactive to Jan. 1. New property taxes OK’d by voters in November will cost homeowners 14 percent more because a state-funded discount will be eliminated, according to the Associated Press.

“In terms of job creations, we reduced income taxes so we can be competitive with other states,” said Rep. Andy Thompson, R-Marietta. “I don’t want to see any taxes go up, but the net effect was a positive one.”