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New tax levies are expecially tough sells in Ohio's off-year elections
Nearly a third of Ohio's school districts are asking for money on Tuesday's ballot

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In many parts of Ohio, next week’s election is all about tax levies to fund school districts. For Ohio Public Radio, WYSO’s Lewis Wallace reports passing new levies in “off” election years is an uphill battle.

LISTEN: New money is the toughest sell

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A new tax hurts a lot more than a tax you’re already paying—at least, that’s what Ohio voters seem to think.

Chad Packer is a Butler County school administrator who wrote his dissertation on Ohio school levies and says "Renewal levies are like 90 times more likely to pass than additional levies."

He says whether a levy is new matters a lot, but that the amount and purpose of the levy is less significant in predicting whether it will pass.

"People aren’t concerned about what you’re gonna do with the money. They’re just concerned about giving you any money at all."

And in a year without a statewide or national election, these decisions are made by relatively small groups of people…

Dan Birdsong of the University of Dayton says older and wealthier people are more likely to show up to the polls. "It’s skewed to the people at the, kind of the higher end of socio-economic status right now." 

There will be nearly 200 school levies on ballots across Ohio on Tuesday; 72 of those are new operating levies.


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