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City Leaders Announce New Residential Tax Abatement Program

Jan 12, 2023

This morning, alongside Councilmember Reggie Harris, Mayor Aftab announced the City of Cincinnati’s new Residential Tax Abatement Program. Following extensive community feedback, this redesigned, reformed program creates an equitable, clearly defined tiered incentive structure prioritizing communities with the greatest needs.

“Following years of residents expressing frustration over the current program and its structure, we took action by creating a system that is more accessible, easier to use, and targets the communities who most need development,” Mayor Aftab said. “I am proud of Councilmember Reggie Harris’ and Congressman Greg Landsman’s hard work and leadership in helping to get this done, and I’m excited to see the way it transforms our communities.”

The new program will include the following:

  1. Incentives that are tied to 6 definable criteria, requiring a review and readjustment every 3 years by the City administration to ensure that the City is adjusting to future market changes and reviewing whether the abatement system is continuing to work for our communities. (See the ordinance here for the 6 criteria used to determine whether a neighborhood receives a “Lift,” “Expand,” or “Sustain” designation.)
  2. A three-tier system targeting incentives to communities with the greatest needs. (See ordinance attached for the “Lift,” “Expand,” and “Sustain” neighborhood designations.)
  3. Administrative updates to make the tax abatement more accessible and easier to use, particularly for lower-income residents. This includes a streamlined online application and targeted outreach directly to communities.

“Incentivizing investment across our city is a vital component to our economic recovery from COVID and our future growth,” Councilmember Reggie Harris said. “The residential tax abatement reform we are proposing centers equity and revitalization that is both inclusive and accessible. The goal of this update is to help expand growth to communities that have been historically under-invested and simplify the process so ordinary people can see the benefits. Importantly, the 3-year program review allows us to closely monitor the program’s impact and course correct when needed.”

“This is a big win for taxpayers. The new residential abatement program will reduce the property tax burden for tens of thousands of families while making it a lot easier for working folks and retirees to access the benefits of this abatement,” Congressman Greg Landsman said. “The Mayor and Councilmember Harris continue to demonstrate incredible leadership on some of our most important and complicated issues. I loved working with both of them on this, and excited to continue to work with them on this and a whole host of important issues to our region.”

“It has taken incredible work and collaboration to get to this point,” City Manager Sheryl Long said.  “Throughout this process, we have engaged stakeholders, like the Housing Advisory Board, who were instrumental in providing feedback. The City listened and we will continue to engage and inform our public to ensure our messaging and guidance are clear to future applicants.”

“I want to commend City Council and the Mayor for demonstrating their commitment to expand community involvement in these types of major legislative changes,” Elizabeth Bartley with Invest in Neighborhoods, said. “Although the conversations around the need for tax abatement reform have occurred over the last several years, this City Council moved forward with one of the key recommendations to take a serious look at the tiered approach to abatements.  This included 6 months of public engagement with community members, stakeholders, and experts through a variety of means.”

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