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Buy now, or pay more later

Andy Ouriel • Aug 30, 2013 at 11:30 AM

Between now and Oct. 1, people purchasing taxable goods in Erie County can expect to pay more as a result of increases to state and local sales tax rates.

The rate will increase in two separate phases before settling at 7.25 percent, up from the current 6.5 percent.

On Sunday, a permanent bump in the state’s sales tax rate takes effect, rising to 5.75 percent, from 5.5 percent. The 0.25 percent increase aims to generate an additional $30 million a year for Ohio’s budget. The change was approved in June, when Gov. John Kasich signed off on the two-year, $62 billion state budget.

Then, on Oct. 1, Erie County commissioners plan to temporarily increase the local sales tax rate to 1.5 percent, up from 1 percent. The increase will last for a year, with the additional money covering various infrastructure upgrades the county couldn’t otherwise afford.

“This is not going for wages,” Erie County commissioner Bill Monaghan said. “This is not for fluff and other stuff. This is for things that we need to fix up.” The increase is expected to generate an additional $7 million for the county, which could fund fixes at the courthouse, care facility, sheriff’s office and other buildings, commissioners said.

“If we don’t perform proper maintenance on the taxpayers’ facilities now, it will cost double, maybe even triple later on,” Erie County commissioner Pat Shenigo said. “If we don’t properly maintain them, they’re going to end up costing us much more in the future.”

On Oct. 1, 2014, the county’s sales tax rate should drop back to 1 percent, which will lower the total sales tax rate in Erie County to 6.75 percent.

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