VOTE YES FOR R.I.T.A.
Increase City Revenues without Raising Taxes
Earlier this year the Mayor and her administration presented legislation to City Council authorizing the Mayor to enter into a contract with the Regional Income Tax Agency (R.I.T.A.) for the administration and collection of the City’s income taxes. After multiple public meetings, significant research and lengthy discussions, City Council passed this ordinance. In November, Euclid residents will have the opportunity to grant final approval. The Euclid Citizens for R.I.T.A. Committee supports this initiative and strongly urges all residents to vote YES.
Based on R.I.T.A.’s proven track record, we believe partnering with R.I.T.A. will improve total tax collections by employing R.I.T.A.’s state-of-the- art technologies, superior data and industry best practices to better identify and pursue those that fail to file their taxes, those that underreport their income, and other delinquent taxpayers. This will help to efficiently ensure that all are paying their fair share. We want more police and we want better services. All services cost money, and we don’t want to pay more taxes. This will improve the City’s budget by making sure that those who fail to pay their taxes are identified and held accountable. It is not only fair to us that pay our taxes, but these additional funds can then be used to maintain city services.
Nobody likes paying taxes, but R.I.T.A. can make it quicker and easier. Their modernized collection process will enhance the security of our personal information while increasing our options. R.I.T.A. offers us a full suite of services which includes, but is not limited to, 24/7 interactive phone system, the ability to access your tax history and information online, e-file tax returns, and the ability to pay online. This gives us the convenient option of paying our taxes without having to leave our homes. None of these services are currently available to us, and they are too costly for the City to implement and adequately staff. In addition to these many choices, the City will also maintain a tax employee to provide a local presence here in Euclid.
It’s important to point out that working with R.I.T.A. will not increase your taxes, and there is no such thing as a “R.I.T.A. TAX”. R.I.T.A. is also not a private business. These are common misconceptions. R.I.T.A stands for the Regional Income Tax Agency, and they are a non-profit government agency that provides tax collection services for over 300 communities. Our neighboring communities, Cleveland Heights, Eastlake, Kirtland, Highland Heights, Mentor, Richmond Heights, South Euclid, Willoughby Hills, Wickliffe & Willowick, just to name few, have already partnered with R.I.T.A. and are seeing the benefits.
For example, in Cleveland Heights’ first full year with R.I.T.A. (2011), they realized a $2.7 million increase in collections over the prior year. Many other cities have also seen significant jumps in their net collections immediately after joining R.I.T.A. An article in The Vindicator (21 December 2018) about Niles, OH directly attributes the city’s financial turnaround with their decision to join R.I.T.A. To quote from the article,
“Lintner said one reason for the financial turnaround was the decision by
then-Mayor Thomas Scarnecchia and council to hire the Regional Income Tax Agency for its income tax collections instead of relying on the treasurer’s office. “I’m very confident with RITA,” said Treasurer Steve Telego, who was appointed earlier this year. “They have resources we never would have had.” According to Lintner’s figures, the city set a record with more than $9.1 million collected in income taxes this year, an increase of 18 percent.”
So how is R.I.T.A. able to accomplish this? One reason is because R.I.T.A. receives Federal Tax Information (FTI) directly from the IRS. Euclid does not and will not be able to access this data because it is only available to communities with populations over 250,000. We currently receive information from the State of Ohio and other sources but none of it is complete. R.I.T.A. can efficiently run computerized matching reports to compare what people reported on their federal income taxes with what they filed with Euclid. It only makes sense that better data and better technology will lead to better collections. Again, these results are only made possible because of R.I.T.A.’s regional approach which allows them to leverage economies of scale. They provide access to additional data, advanced technologies and specialized programs that we simply cannot replicate or afford on our own.
Maximizing tax collection is of great importance for any municipality, because it’s through the collection of taxes that cities pay for vital services such as police, fire and infrastructure. It is especially critical when budgets are under pressure like ours is in Euclid. Of course, R.I.T.A. can’t guarantee a windfall, but they do have a proven track record, numerous success stories and a long list of positive testimonials from other communities. We should all demand that the City be good stewards of our tax dollars. Improving collections will allow the City to continue to provide the services we deserve without having to raise taxes. Let’s modernize so we can have more options and let’s stop leaving money on the table. The bottom line is that partnering with R.I.T.A. is in the best financial interests of Euclid and all its residents. On November 5th vote YES for R.I.T.A.!
Euclid Citizens for R.I.T.A.
Why Vote YES for R.I.T.A.?
- R.I.T.A. is NOT a tax increase
- Partnering with R.I.T.A. is endorsed by the Mayor and was passed by City Council
- R.I.T.A. is a non-profit governmental agency that works with over 300 municipalities
- R.I.T.A.’s state-of-the-art technologies makes it easy to view your information, file & pay online
- R.I.T.A.’s utilizes sophisticated security systems to ensure that your personal information is secure
- R.I.T.A uses industry best practices to better identify and pursue delinquent taxpayers
- Holding delinquent filers accountable increases revenues and improves the City’s budget
- Equitable treatment is fair to all the hardworking people of Euclid who pay their taxes on time
- Improving collections means vital city services are protected
- R.I.T.A. is the right decision for Euclid