Issue 4 is a 1/4 percent income tax increase for Akron. The city’s current income tax of 2 1/4 percent is one of the lowest in the state, and it hasn’t been increased in 36 years. At the same time, the recession cost the city an estimated $80 million in revenue, and cuts in state and federal funding have decreased the city’s income by another $15 million annually. To offset the losses, the administration has cut spending on infrastructure and reduced its workforce by 20 percent.
Issue 4 will raise $16 million a year that will be used solely on police, fire, EMS and roadway improvements. The tax would not affect retirement and pension income, social security or other government benefits. The majority of the tax will be paid by people who live in the suburbs but work in Akron and use the city’s roads and public services. Issue 4 is being promoted by the city as a fair, responsible and necessary proposal. City Council unanimously approved placing it on the ballot, and the Akron Beacon Journal editorial board is in favor of its passage. Election day is Nov. 7.