Ohio sales tax goes up

THE STATE sales tax officially increased today, jumping from 5.5 percent to 5.75 percent.

Eastern Ohio residents will be paying 7.25 percent, up from 7 percent, as Jefferson, Harrison, Belmont, Monroe, Noble and Guernsey counties all utilize a 1.50 percent county sales tax in addition to the state’s sales tax rate.

A total of 48 counties in Ohio now will have a 7.25 percent sales tax, the second highest rate in the Buckeye state.

Only Cuyahoga County has a higher rate. Residents of Cleveland and the surrounding area in Cuyahoga will now pay 8 percent.

Fifteen counties will be taxed at 7 percent starting today; 20 at 6.75. Four counties, Stark, Wayne, Butler and Lorain round out the bottom at 6.50 percent.

The increase was part of Gov. John Kasich’s biennial budget signed into law on the eve of the start of the new fiscal year.

The change will add an additional quarter of cost to every $100 in purchases.

Locally, that means for every $100 in goods purchased, consumers will pay $107.25.

Groceries and food purchased at carry-out restaurants are still exempt from the tax, as are prescription drugs, housing, newspaper, fuel and utilities.

While the increase seems minuscule, it’s estimated that the quarter percentage point jump will yield an additional $1.1B in revenue for the state during the next three years, according to the Ohio Office of Budget Management.

Across the border in West Virginia, the sales tax is slightly lower at 6 percent.

West Virginia’s food tax, however, is now completely gone.

A process that started in 2005 saw the food tax dwindle from 6 percent down to 1 percent, which it has been for the last year.

But July 1, that food tax was finally eliminated completely.

While the sales tax is increasing, the state’s income tax is decreasing.

Income taxes are going down nine percent starting today and a total of 10 percent during the next three years.

For example, a person earning $50,000 per year with one exemption would have normally owed the state $1,269. Now, their tax bill will total $1,152. That’s a savings of $117, or, $2.25 per week.

According to the Governor’s office, all the tax changes in the state’s budget will amount to a $2.7B tax cut during the next three years.