CINCINNATI -- People who work in the City of Cincinnati could pay more of their earnings in taxes.
Raising the city earnings tax is the latest idea floated by city council members as they look to close a $31 million deficit.
Cincinnati's earnings tax is currently 2.1 percent, the lowest among major cities in Ohio. It hasn't gone up since 1988. Workers in Toledo pay 2.25 percent to their city, and they pay 2.5 percent in Cleveland, Columbus in Dayton.
Voters would have to approve any earnings tax increase, according to Council Member David Mann.
"If we expect to have the kind of city we want — that's safe, that has an infrastructure that's kept modern, streets that are in good shape — we need to (have that) conversation at some point," he said.
Council Member Greg Landsman said he doesn't want new revenue to come from property taxes.
"Property taxes have increasingly gone up, and I think the average homeowner is really struggling with their property taxes," he said "So I think that's the last-resort option in terns of where we find our revenue."
City leaders are also considering parking rate hikes to help cover the deficit. Both the acting city manager and mayor included rate increases, expanded parking meter hours and more meters for Over-the-Rhine in their budget proposals.
The proposed changes include an increase from $0.75 to $1.25 per hour for meter parking in Northside.
"Raising the prices sure isn't going to help these businesses that are investing in Northside," Dana Brunson said.
Brunson owns and operates Designs By Dana on Hamilton Avenue. He said people coming in to get tattoos might think twice about his businesses after parking rate hikes.
"I don't think it's a good idea," Brunson said. "I just think it's bad for business."