‘LUCKY 56′
I have read with interest the ongoing debate between some members of City Council and the mayor over the practice of allowing the “Lucky 56” (54 businesses and two individuals) to continue to make no estimated city income tax payments.
This very discriminatory practice has existed since 2009.
Much has changed since then — the city is in excellent financial shape now ($10 million carryover) vs. terrible financial shape in 2009. Remember the city’s request for a quarter-percent increase in the city income tax rate, which was amazingly granted by voters for the 3-year period of 2010-2012?
The latest Courier article (Feb. 8) details the debate over written policies to govern the practice and satisfy the state auditor’s request.
Kudos to Holly Frische for pushing the mayor and some council members to at least make this practice somewhat transparent to the rest of the businesses and individuals that have to make estimated quarterly tax payments.
Personally, I would like to see the practice abolished altogether because the financial reasons no longer exist to justify its continuance, and it is the right thing to do to treat everyone the same.
My guess is the policy being drafted will preclude most individuals and businesses not already in the “Lucky 56” club from qualifying for this very specialized tax treatment.
Why? Because their amount of tax owed or tax refund generated when they file their tax return is a small percentage of their total tax bill.
A better strategy for the city to pursue is to admit the time has come to end this very discriminatory practice and force every individual and business to file estimated quarterly tax payments.
That way, the city can proudly say to all that there is no favored tax treatment any more — we all pay by the same rules.
If the city has heartburn over the possibility of large refunds wreaking havoc with the budget, then they should establish a $1.08 million fund to cover the potential adverse effect of net refunds for the “Lucky 56” when they return to the normal practice of paying quarterly tax estimates.
This dollar amount is the estimated tax installments the “Lucky 56” did not have to make in 2016.
It also is only 10 percent of the current carryover, so now is a very affordable time to make these changes.
We shall see if the mayor and City Council have the guts to do it.
Bruce Hardy

Reading Thursday’s Courier, I was impressed by the actions of Councilwoman Holly Frische and the way she stood up for her honor and stood up to the mayor during a meeting to discuss formulation of a tax policy for the city.
Congratulations to the mayor for finally stepping down from her high horse and listening to one of the few council people who have the needs of our fair city in mind and are not afraid to voice their opinions.
With regard to the subject of the meeting, what purpose does the tax board serve, if not for setting policy?
Way to go, Ms. Frische!
Don Kinn

Recently, The Courier reported additional earnings by Marathon Petroleum Corp. and other big corporations, due to the Republican tax cut.
A week before, the paper’s headlines reported on the “haves” and “have-nots” in this community, stating that over 25 percent live below the poverty level.
This is also in the midst of a severe opioid drug problem.
We give huge tax cuts to corporations already flush with huge cash resources and, at the same time, shortchange our middle class and poor.
Lack of better housing, proper child care and drug recovery programs plague this community.
At this same time, we are heralding ourselves as a top-rated community.
It isn’t the size of stock dividends or our beautiful downtown district that makes us a great community.
It is meeting the needs of housing, child care and this opioid crisis that will make us great.
We fall short of this.
I could mention “flood control,” but I will save that for another time.
J. David Fletcher

All I saw when I read Timothy Franks’ letter (Feb. 8) was just another typical condescending Donald Trumpian response that we see daily on the tube.
In my opinion, Franks forfeits his self-absorbed indignation toward Jake Laird (letter, Feb. 6) when he said, “Though, I usually do not respond to incoherent rambling knowing that a man who argues with a fool is a fool himself.”
It was with more Trumpian fanfare we were informed that Marathon is a top 50 fortune company, something Franks might not have known, or forgot as we of Ohio Oil Co. country are made aware of every year around this time, when we read in The Courier that some Marathon muckety-muck made umpteen gazillion bucks this year. Or, that this Marathon muckety-muck so and so made umpteen gazillion bucks this year.
Shucks, Tim, if most of them 10,000 workers are like you, we fools couldn’t ask them anything, what with their hoity-toity noses stuck so high in the air they can’t see us anyway.
Jim Brant