Merrin Elected Speaker by the Ohio House Republican Caucus

Conservative Ohio House of Representative member Derek Merrin was elected by the Ohio House Republican Caucus. Merrin is a Toledo area veteran legislator who surprised many Statehouse pundits with his victory of State Representatives Jason Stephens and Phil Plummer.  Representative Merrin was re-elected to his last term in the Ohio House of Representatives; thus, his tenure as Speaker of the Ohio House will be just two years.

Representative Merrin has been a strong proponent of reducing the cost of government as well as government’s regulations at the local and state level.  As Chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, Representative Merrin is a strong advocate for lower taxes, simplifying the tax code, and promoting transparency.

Local Property Tax. Representative Merrin is an advocate for improving the local property tax assessment process. He sponsored and guided to passage Ohio House Bill 126 which did the following:

  • Limits a political subdivision from filing a property tax valuation complaint against property it does not own unless the property was sold within a certain timeframe and the sale price was at least 10% and $500,000 more than the auditor’s current valuation.
  • Requires the legislative authority of a political subdivision, before filing any property tax complaint, to pass a resolution authorizing the filing at a public meeting.
  • Removes a requirement that school boards receive notice from a county board of revision (BOR) when certain property tax complaints are filed.
  • Requires a BOR to dismiss an original complaint filed by a political subdivision within one year after the complaint is filed if the board does not render a decision by then.
  • Prohibits a political subdivision that has filed a complaint or counter-complaint from appealing a BOR decision.
  • Prohibits a property owner and a political subdivision from entering into a private payment agreement whereby the owner pays the political subdivision to dismiss, not file, or settle a complaint or counter-complaint.

Municipal Income Tax.  Representative Merrin has been a strong proponent of reforming Ohio’s system that permits municipalities to charge residents and workers as well as the companies in their jurisdiction an income tax. Representative Merrin supported Ohio House Bill 157, which would let Ohioans file for municipal income tax refunds for any days they worked from home in 2021.  A law passed during the pandemic lets cities collect taxes as if workers commuted to their offices until 30 days after Ohio’s state of emergency ends. HB 157 would let you claim a refund for every day you worked from home in 2021 and current law would let you start claiming those days in August.  

Reducing Small Business Taxes. Representative Merrin successfully repealed Ohio’s sales tax on prescription eyewear effective July 1, 2019, saving taxpayers $45 M (HB 116), successfully championed the repeal of Financial Institution Tax on Small Business Investment Companies (HB 592).

Tax Transparency. Representative Merrin also successfully eased the process for homeowners to challenge their property value (HB 118), and, in 2019, Representative Merrin’s Fuel Tax Transparency Act required stickers on fuel pumps displaying the state and federal fuel taxes became law through the Transportation Budget (HB 62).

Representative Merrin will have a lot more to do as Speaker of the Ohio House of Representative than tax policy but his record as a fiscal conservative is a good predictor of his future behavior.  His role in the upcoming state operating budget will be pivotal in the 135th Ohio General Assembly.