Regional Economic Revenue Study to Consider Impact on School Levies
The Regional Economic Revenue Study (RERS) is an initiative to explore region-wide planning and revenue sharing strategies to enhance economic competitiveness of the sixteen county region. This region encompasses 487 cities, townships and villages.*
The announcement earlier this month that Stark County will participate through a 21st Century Government Initiative in studies to increase the effectiveness and efficiency of government in Northeast Ohio underscores the growing importance of regional research and action predicated on that research.**
This study and others are being developed in association with the Fund for Our Economic Future, a collaboration of more than 100 foundations and organizations across the 16 county area of Northeast Ohio working to transform the region's economy. Locally, the Stark Community Foundation, Sisters of Charity Foundation of Canton, and Stark State College Foundation are members.
One such Fund study is already having a significant impact. Last month members of the Northeast Ohio Mayors and City Managers Association, who also collaborated on the study, voted to further explore the initial results of the Regional Economic Revenue Study (RERS) completed in 2007.
What did that study find? Here are some key points.
Currently, there is minimal collaboration among communities because local government officials are duty bound to maximize tax revenues in their communities. Present state law and long-held practices limit our ability to share and collaborate, and instead reward communities for competing against each other...to change that, we'll need to change the rules.
While other regions have instituted new taxes, the RERS does not propose a new tax for revenue sharing, such as a sales tax. We do propose, however, that we share the growth of future tax base revenues to accelerate and collectively benefit from our region's economic growth.
It is impossible to predict the increase in tax value Northeast Ohio would experience by implementing a region-wide tax revenue and land use planning program. We do know, however, that we cannot continue on the path we are currently on. Action must be taken...and it must be taken now.
The study also examined regional revenue sharing and land use planning models that have been effective in other regions. Phase II will suggest how such plans can be implemented here. What might all this mean for education?
First and foremost, this approach will NOT affect the dollars of current school levies. Schools continue to receive the funds they receive today because the revenue sharing is based solely off future economic growth. However, it does affect the tax capacity for future levies, and because this issue is so important, the study will further investigate this issue in Phase II.
* Northeast Ohio Economic Revenue Study available at: http://www.revenuestudy.com/default.htm
** See: The Canton Repository, June 5, 2008. Area officials sign on to join economic collaboration by G. Patrick Kelley at: http://www.cantonrep.com/index.php?ID=415225