DARKE COUNTY — A bill in the Ohio Senate would temporarily ease the tax burden on those seeking to develop barren industrial and commercial land in the state.
Senate Bill 235, sponsored by Senators Bill Beagle (R-Tipp City) and Bill Coley (R-Liberty Township), would exempt from property tax the increased value of property on which industrial or commercial development is planned until construction of new commercial or industrial facilities at the property commences.
The two senators spoke on the bill during a Wednesday press conference in Columbus.
“Senate Bill 235 is simple legislation that will impact the entire state,” said Beagle. “It is the most recent in a long line of pro-economic development, pro-growth, and pro-job development bills that we’ve seen out of the Ohio Senate in the last few years.”
“It works specifically to bring more jobs and businesses to Ohio by allowing landowners to convert their barren land to shovel-ready properties without penalty,” he said.
The legislation seeks to address both new and previously developed properties.
Beagle remarked, “It will exempt newly developable properties as well as redevelopment properties. It allows property owners to make simple land improvements such as adding utilities, electric, water, sewer, and roads to a property, so that it’s ready to be developed by the next party.”
“It encourages these improvements without increasing property taxes, which we think is a detriment to growth, and we think is deterring landowners from developing their properties, and is going to make these properties more attractive to investors,” said Beagle.
Coley said, “We’re in situations right now where we have an old, dilapidated factory, and it sits on a large tract of land that would be perfect for commercial or industrial development. And yet the people who own that property don’t want to tear that down and go and put all the infrastructure in, because for their investment and hard work, they’re going to be rewarded with an increased tax bill — an increased tax bill when they don’t have purchasers lined up yet.”
“We need more commercial and industrial development in this state, we need more jobs in this state, and this is a way we can do it without reaching into the taxpayer’s wallet to accomplish that,” said Coley.
Senate Bill 235 will be considered by the Senate’s Ways and Means Committee before moving to the Senate floor.