Tax Reform for Public Schools/Services
Public education funding has been cut from the federal and state levels for decades, and the promise of Brown Vs. Board of Education has never been delivered. Yet one of the biggest cuts to school funding is local: from the abatement and diversion of property tax payments, granted as development “incentives.”
Through this practice, money that is meant to fund our public schools is instead shifted in a way that primarily benefits the wealthiest developers and property owners. Our schools’ loss in tax revenue has resulted in inadequate services; schools have been forced to make cuts in full-time librarians, crossing-guards, nurses, and critical supports for students with special needs, just to name a few.
Additionally, while dealing in the transfer of public assets, these tax programs have an unacceptable, abhorrent track record of public transparency and accountability. Our city’s kids and residents deserve greater support, better democracy, and fairer practices.
The City of Cincinnati’s tax abatement and diversion (i.e., TIF’s – Tax Increment Financing) policies should justly compensate Cincinnati Public Schools for lost tax revenue, and should ensure that property owners without abatements do not bear an unfair tax burden. Public education and other important public services provide collective benefits, and they should be collectively and fully supported.
Cincinnati Educational Justice Coalition and Cincinnati Federation of Teachers are leading the demand for policy reforms that address these problems. They include:
A moratorium on new TIF districts
A full, public accounting of all development subsidies
Significantly increased oversight and enforcement of regulations within tax abatement programs
Creation of a Tax Abatement Oversight Committee with the power to review and make recommendations on future tax abatements and abatement policies. This committee must include representation from community stakeholders directly impacted by tax abatements.
This effort recently won a major, but partial, victory when advocates and the Cincinnati School Board pushed the City to increase the amount of Payments In Lieu of Taxes (PILOTs) made to CPS by commercial developers who receive abatements. Much more reform is required and reflected in the current demands!
Check out a recent presentation on TIFs in Cincinnati here.
Explore the work of the Cincinnati Education Justice Coalition (CEJC) here.
Explore the work of the Cincinnati Federation of Teachers (CFT) here.
Attend CEJC’s monthly meeting every 2nd Thursday of the month! Meetings are held throughout the city. You can find locations and other meeting info at CEJC's Facebook Events.
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Cincinnati Educational Justice Coalition (CEJC):
Cincinnati Federation of Teachers (CFT):
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