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Published: 6/18/2013 - Updated: 10 months ago

Low estimates made for city’s income taxes

2 forecasts by UT professors fall short of Bell’s numbers

BY IGNAZIO MESSINA
BLADE STAFF WRITER
UT professors Oleg Smirnov, left, and David Black project Toledo’s 2013 income tax collections to top out at $160.81 mil­lion. UT professors Oleg Smirnov, left, and David Black project Toledo’s 2013 income tax collections to top out at $160.81 mil­lion.
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Two University of Toledo professors with a track record of conservative financial predictions offered their estimates for the city’s total 2013 income taxes — figures that, even under the best conditions, fall short of what the Bell administration expects for the year.

David Black and Oleg Smirnov, who have been hired for several years by Toledo City Council to make revenue forecasts, gave council two income tax collection predictions in a report dated Monday. The first projected figure was at $160.81 million; the second a little less rosy at $159.2 million.

Mr. Black said the recent forecasts are lower than the last time the duo made a 2013 prediction in their Oct. 25, 2012, report because the last two quarters have not shown strong revenue growth. They previously said Toledo’s 2.25 income tax in 2013 would generate between $168.3 million and $158.4 million.

“We have two more quarters of observations now,” Mr. Black said after presenting his findings to council’s finance committee meeting Monday.

“In our last report, we forecasted revenue growth for 2013 between 1 and 2.7 percent,” the recent report said. “This is revised downward to roughly between 0.5 percent and 1.5 percent.”

Clarence Coleman, Toledo’s commissioner of taxation, said the city is still sticking with its prediction of nearly $163.88 million for 2013. That is up from the $158.52 million collected in 2012.

“As we get numbers, they will adjust their report,” Mr. Coleman said. “We have to wait and see what kind of results we will have with the second quarter.”

The city is banking on new automotive jobs in the city this year, which Mr. Black and Mr. Smirnov did not include in their calculations.

Chrysler Group LLC is working to fill the 1,105 new positions that will come to the Toledo Assembly Complex later this year as it adds a second shift of production for the 2014 Jeep Cherokee. Chrysler took a first batch of applications last summer, but company officials said earlier this month they wanted to get a few more people in the hiring pool before completing their hiring.

“If Chrysler does add 1,000 jobs, then withholding [taxes] will go up,” Mr. Black said.

Councilman George Sarantou, finance committee chairman, said the Chrysler jobs will mean a significant last-minute boost to the city budget this year.

“The two professors were close last year, and they tend to be a little more conservative than the administration,” Mr. Sarantou said.

In December, 2009, the pair from UT said the city would end that year with $140 million to $138.4 million. The city actually ended with $141.5 million.

The Finkbeiner administration’s original 2009 spending plan expected nearly $169.7 million in revenue from Toledo’s 2.25 percent payroll tax, but by February, officials guessed that the year-end number would be closer to $145 million after Mr. Black and Mr. Smirnov issued their report.

A proposed 2010 budget from the Finkbeiner administration said the city would collect $147.17 million from income taxes. Then a forecast at that time from Mr. Black and Mr. Smirnov predicted a range of just $135.2 million to a low of $129 million.

The city actually collected $144.58 million in 2010.

Contact Ignazio Messina at:

imessina@theblade.com

or 419-724-6171.



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