Ohio sales tax revenue will drop 25% thanks to the COVID-19 shutdown. That’s the prediction of the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Monthly Retail Trade Survey.
The Buckeye state will be hit harder than other states. Our lockdown happened early and had some pretty strict rules. Over 700,000 Ohioans are currently receiving unemployment benefits. Many more haven’t been able to file.
According to Scioto County Commissioner Bryan Davis, “For Southern Ohio, Out of 25 counties, there’s been 58,000 new unemployment claims out of a million people.”
Davis and his fellow County Commissioners are the folks in charge of managing the county’s tax revenue. And they are worried.
“It’s not in my estimation fair, that certain businesses are not allowed to be open but their competitors like Lowe’s and Walmart are allowed to sell non-essential items. As a result of this we’re going to see a lot of small businesses close. All we’re going to have left is the big box stores. We’re going to take a major step backwards,” Davis said.
Commissioner Mike Crabtree, who voice strong opposition to the shutdown said,
“The revenue that the state and federal and local government is going to lose is going to be very challenging. Unfortunately, what we lose we’re going to have to figure out how to make up. Economically, it’s going to be not only a major disaster for the people who lost their jobs, but government. We’re going to feel the sting of this for a lot of years.”
Economy. Economy. Economy.
When asked what the Commissioners’ priorities would be as the state emerges from lockdown, Davis made it clear, “Economy, economy, economy.” He said not only opening up businesses but getting new business. “We have in Scioto County and across the State of Ohio, we have a lot of business owners and their employees that are hurting.”
Crabtree said that he takes the threat of COVID-19 seriously. But emphasizes fear of the virus can’t be allowed to kill the economy.
“If you wait until every bit of the virus is gone, everything else is going to be all gone. I don’t know that there’s a perfect answer for this. I will tell you it’s going to be a very challenging year.”