Ohio House and Senate differ on CAUV property tax relief

By:Peggy Kirk Hall, Attorney and Director, Agricultural & Resource Law Program Friday, December 08th, 2023
Ohio statehouse and lawn

Responding to concerns about potential increases in Ohio property taxes, the Senate passed House Bill 187 (HB 187) this week to provide some relief from property tax hikes.  That relief, however, affects only the Ohio homestead exemption.  The Senate removed provisions the House had passed in HB 187 offering relief on other property taxes, including Current Agricultural Use Valuation (CAUV) taxes.  The House and Senate differences mean the CAUV adjustments originally in HB 187 are currently at a standstill.

House Bill 187.  The House passed its version of HB 187 in October.  The House version included provisions that would temporarily adjust CAUV calculations until 2026.  When updating the CAUV value, a county auditor would be required to use an average of the CAUV formula value for the current year along with CAUV values that would have been assigned in each of the preceding two years, since the last update.  This three year averaging would lower the expected increase in the new CAUV value.  But the Senate drafted and passed a substitute of HB 187, and the substitute bill does not contain the CAUV language. The House and Senate must now confer on its differing versions of HB 187 to work out the differences.

Senate Bill 153.  The Senate isn’t completely ignoring the CAUV adjustments—they exist in another bill.  Senate Bill 153 (SB 153), introduced in the Senate back in September, contains the same CAUV language as HB 187.  The Senate Ways and Means Committee held four hearings on SB 153 in September and October.  But the committee has not taken any action on the bill since the last hearing on October 11.

What’s next for CAUV relief?  There are two avenues to enacting the CAUV three year averaging provisions that could bring some relief from CAUV increases.  First is for the Senate to reinsert the provisions in HB 187.  The second is for the Senate to pass SB 153 and send it over to the House for consideration.  From our view, it’s difficult to gauge if the House and Senate are on the same page for completing either route.

Follow HB 187on the legislature’s website at https://www.legislature.ohio.gov/legislation/135/hb187 and track SB 153 at https://www.legislature.ohio.gov/legislation/135/sb153.