|Sales tax plan targets services|
|Written by HAROLD BROWN Sentinel City Editor|
|Saturday, 02 March 2013 09:12|
Ohioans who patronize a coin-operated laundry may find the cost of clean clothes going up as a result of a new sales tax proposed in Gov. John Kasich's state budget.
That's just one of dozens of services - from funerals to haircuts to bowling to legal services - where a sales tax may be charged starting later this year.
Duane King, the volunteer president of the Ohio Coin Laundry Association, is at a loss to explain "why a coin-operated self-serve laundry where the customer does all of the work" should be subject to what amounts to a service tax.
King owns L'Maries, a coin-operated laundry on Railroad Street.
"When a dryer cost is $1 a load, the means the fee would go to $1.07," King said. He suspects that most owners would simply up the fee to $1.25, because most equipment is set up to handle quarters. Same thing for the washers. In BG King said most double loads are $2, while the cost is $3 in Toledo and as much as $4 in other places.
King said the association represents about 10 percent of the coin-operated laundries in Ohio and is part of the National Coin Laundry Association.
"The college towns and the lower and middle income people will feel it the most. It's really a medical and safety issue to have clean laundry," he said.
"Obviously the tax is not good for bowling. For league bowlers the taxes will have to come out of the bowlers' prize money," Bill Wammes, proprietor of Al-Mar Lanes in Bowling Green, said.
"I definitely don't like it, but there's not much we can do about it. We'll just have to deal with it." - "What they need to do is cut expenses in the government," Wammes said.
Dave Marsh, of Marsh Funeral Homes, said only Hawaii, New Mexico, and South Dakota now charge sales tax on funeral services and West Virginia imposes a tax on 70 percent of the fee. "A lot of people see this as a death tax," Marsh said.
The Ohio State Bar Association Board of Governors has voted unanimously to oppose the tax. The OSBA believes the tax "will unnecessarily burden Ohio consumers and impede access to the legal system."
On the receiving end of the taxes Wood County Administrator Andrew Kalmar said the changes could conceivably raise more money for county government.
While the change may decrease the percentage collected for counties, it would potentially level out since fewer items would be exempted.
"In theory, it's probably OK," Kalmar said.
However, Kalmar said he has some concerns about the sales tax revenue taking the same course as the Local Government Fund, which has been whittled away by the state.
"I just don't want it to end up in the same condition," he said.
Kalmar explained that sales tax revenue has been a consistent source of funding for the county.
"For Wood County, it is our largest source of revenue," he said.
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