City leaders and other community members on Monday officially kicked off a campaign called “Neighborhoods for Dayton’s Future” that seeks to pass Issue 6
Issue 6 would renew an income tax hike that Dayton voters first approved in 2016.
The 0.25% temporary earnings tax levy generates roughly $11 million to $15.4 million annually to pay for universal “high quality” preschool for kids in the city, fire and police services, road repairs, park improvements, vacant lot maintenance and housing investments.
The tax measure, which will appear on the March 19 ballot, would last for eight years if approved by voters.
The current levy expires at the end of this year.
Nearly 56% of voters supported the earnings tax hike in 2016, which increased the city’s income tax rate from 2.25% to 2.5%.
Officials said that was the city’s first tax increase in 32 years.
Most of the tax revenue generated from Issue 6 comes from people who live outside of Dayton but who work in the city, said Marty Gehres, the Dayton Municipal Clerk of Courts who previously worked as an assistant city attorney.
Gehres said the renewal will pay to maintain critical services, like police, fire, EMS and neighborhood investments.
“Voting for Issue 6 is the right thing to do for Dayton’s future and it will keep us safe,” he said.
Since 2016, the tax levy has provided about $17.5 million for police, fire and EMS services, said Dayton police Chief Kamran Afzal.
The tax levy also has provided $22.3 million for residential street resurfacing, $24.6 million for quality preschool, $4.2 million for vacant lot mowing and $1.7 million for park upgrades, city data state.
Levy funds have helped 10,000 children attend Preschool Promise sites, said Heather Henning, owner and executive director of the Inspire Me Learning Academy, a preschool located in northwest Dayton.
Levy dollars pay for 3- and 4-year-old Dayton kids to attend high-quality prekindergarten educational services.
“Data suggest that Preschool Promise children are 70% more likely to be fully ready for kindergarten than their peers who do not attend Preschool Promise sites,” Henning said.
More than 70 neighborhood and community leaders have pledged to help pass Issue 6 by serving as campaign co-chairs because they know how important this funding is to improving the quality of life in Dayton, said Mayor Mims.
Dayton anticipates that total income tax collections this year will be about $155 million. Income taxes account for nearly three-fourths of the city’s general fund revenue.
The Dayton Daily News has not identified any organized opposition to Issue 6.
However, members and supporters of the Dayton Tenant Union who pushed the city to add housing to its spending plan for the levy money have questioned how those funds will be used.
In 2016, some people opposed the tax hike proposal because they opposed higher taxes.
Other community members said they did not support the measure because they thought the city could spend the additional revenue on more important things.
Early in-person voting begins Feb. 21.
0.25%: Proposed income tax renewal measure
Eight years: Duration of the tax levy.
$15 million: Estimated annual revenue from the levy
Read More: Issue 6 will not raise taxes, pays for critical services