December 22, 2014

Elyria
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Thousands apply for tax break


COLUMBUS — Thousands of senior citizens have applied for a property tax break that Gov. Ted Strickland says will be paid for using the sale of Ohio’s share of a landmark settlement with tobacco companies, officials said.
The expanded Homestead Exemption Program took effect earlier this month as part of Ohio’s two-year, $52 billion operating budget.
It allows people 65 and older — or those deemed permanently or totally disabled — to shield the first $25,000 of a home’s value from property taxes.
In Lorain County, about 1,750 people have applied for the tax break, according to Lorain County Auditor Mark Stewart. The county’s goal is 10,000 applicants, he said.
The program previously had income restrictions on eligibility. Changes to the law are expected to increase the number of Ohioans who qualify from 220,000 to 775,000, saving the average eligible Ohioan about $400.