By SEAN RICE
A Columbus-based group seeks to squash a statewide effort to
repeal a temporary 1-cent sales tax.
The group is protesting the validity of petitions, including
those signed in Mercer County, that would take the tax repeal
to the ballot in November.
County Prosecuting Attorney Andrew Hinders planned to give the
Mercer County Board of Elections an update this afternoon on
the county’s involvement in the protest.
The Ohio General Assembly passed a temporary 1-cent sales tax
last summer to supposedly avoid budget cuts. The increase was
set to expire in June 2005.
An initiative, backed by Ohio Secretary of State Kenneth Blackwell,
seeks to remove the 1-cent sales tax early with a November ballot
question, Mercer County Board of Elections Director Toni Slusser
explained. Petitions have been circulated in each of Ohio’s
Another group, that opposes the removal of the tax, also is
traveling county-to-county to protest the petitions. That group,
headed by a Columbus attorney, has the backing of the Ohio County
Commissioners Association, AARP and dozens of other state social
The protesters have reviewed the 17 petitions and 386 signatures
that came from Mercer County after the elections board checked
and certified 16 of the petitions and declared 248 signatures
The protesters filed a motion with the board contesting numerous
aspects of the petitions, seeking to have all the petitions
thrown out. They claim a list of errors, from duplicate names,
incorrect information to unnumbered pages.
Hinders filed a motion before Mercer County Common Pleas Court
last week, certifying the protest in this county. Elections
board officials have no other duties in this issue, Slusser
said. Common Pleas Court Judge Jeffrey Ingraham is to decide
the validity of the petitions.