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On Nov. 7, Cincinnati voters will decide the fate of Issue 24, the amendment that would increase Cincinnatians' income tax to create more affordable housing in the city.
Cincinnati voters Tuesday decided on Issue 24, which sought to connect more low-income Cincinnati residents with housing they can afford.
A majority of Yes
votes on Issue 24 would have meant taxpayers would see an average tax increase of $11 a month to fund affordable housing projects in the city. A majority of No
votes on Issue 24 means households making around $30,000 or less may continue to struggle to find affordable housing.
The latest results
Numbers last updated at 10:45 p.m.:
With almost 98% of precincts reporting, Issue 24 is projected to fail, with 69.14% NO votes and 30.86% YES votes.
What was Issue 24?
A majority “Yes” vote for Issue 24 would have meant changing the city’s charter to increase the city income and withholding tax from 1.8% to 2.1% — a 0.3% increase. Revenue gained from the increase would hae been placed in a special revenue fund used for affordable housing projects and assistance to those making a certain percentage of the area median income (AMI).
According to Issue 24 sponsor Cincinnati Action for Housing Now, the amendment would have guarantee at least 65% of the fund would go toward creating or preserving housing units that are affordable to families making up to 30% of the AMI. That means households making around $30,000 a year or less would have qualified for this assistance.
Cincinnati Action For Housing Now also says one in three renting households in the city falls in this range, and a two-bedroom apartment (plus utilities) in this range would have cost no more than $645 a month.
Another 30% of the fund could have been used for several purposes:
- Creating or preserving housing units for those making up to 50% of the AMI (around $50,000 a year)
- Providing services to low-income households to help decrease the impact of losing housing or to help families stay in their homes
- Providing homeownership opportunities, including down payment assistance, mortgages, loans, financial counseling and construction loans, to households making up to 80% of the AMI
The final 5% would have been used for the fund’s administrative costs, as well as the cost of administering the fund in consultation with a board of 11 city residents.
Cincinnati Action For Housing Now said Issue 24 would hae restored the city’s income tax to its pre-2020 level and generate revenue between $40 million and $50 million a year. The cost to most households, they say, would have been less than $11 a month.
Opponents of Issue 24, however, such as the Realtor Alliance of Greater Cincinnati (RAGC), said the tax increase would have placed a heavier burden on Cincinnati homeowners and residents who have recently been assessed with a double-digit increase in property valuations and will see their property taxes increase. Further, they argue Issue 24 is a simplistic solution to a complex problem that doesn’t address the underlying barriers to affordable housing.
“We are dedicated to contributing to an inclusive conversation about affordable housing in Cincinnati,” Anne Uchtman, president of the RAGC Board of Directors, said in a press release. “Our opposition to this amendment comes from a place of deep understanding of the local housing market and a firm belief in policies that are equitable, thoughtful, and effective in addressing the needs of all residents.”
But Cincinnati Action For Housing Now argued the city needs affordable housing now, especially as Cincinnati leads the nation in rent increases, with Zillow saying rent rose 7.9% from May 2022 to May 2023, and one in three households paying more for rent than they can actually afford.
“Because of our affordable housing shortage, hardworking, everyday people like childcare workers, school bus drivers, home health aides, custodians, retail and food service workers, recreation center employees, and government retirees are struggling to keep their heads above water. It doesn't have to be this way!” it shared on its website.
More races to follow
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