(The Center Square) – A Dayton area Ohio senator wants voters to have the final say on county sales tax increases, introducing a bill that would require a vote on tax hikes.

Senate Bill 93 would require any county commission to get voter approval before raising the county rate of sales and use tax. Two statutes currently allow for counties to raise sales taxes, but voter approval is not always required.

Sen. Niraj Antani, R-Miamisburg, wants that to change and believes any sales tax increase should go before the voters.

“Tax increases at all levels are unacceptable,” Antani said in his testimony at the bill’s first hearing. “However, if an increase is going to occur at the local level, the people should have a say in approving it. Citizens should have a voice in decisions that will affect the hard earned money coming out of their pockets.”

All other local governments, aside from county commissions, must get voter approval for a tax increase.

The Ohio Legislative Service Commission said all 88 Ohio counties, along with eight transit authorities, levy a local sale and use tax. They range from 0.5% to 1.5% and piggy-back on the state’s sales tax.

The bill has had one hearing in the Senate Ways and Means Committee with only sponsor testimony from Antani.

The committee will hold a third hearing Tuesday on a bill that would expand the tax deduction for the state’s 529 savings plan, which currently allows a $4,000 deduction per child on state income taxes for Ohio higher education savings accounts.

Senate Bill 33 would allow the same deductions for people moving to Ohio with established qualified tuition programs in other states.

“With Ohio’s strong tradition of leadership in providing high-quality higher education, it is important to continue to encourage growth in personal education savings,” Tony Fiore, legislative counsel for the Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association in Ohio, testified. “By applying the maximum deductible contribution to all Ohio college savers regardless of their specific investment choice, Ohio will take a strong step towards ensuring a bright future for the state and its residents, and will provide tremendous social benefits to both the state of Ohio and individual graduates.”

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