Ohio history groups: Keep state tax checkoff program

AKRON, Ohio (AP) — History organizations in Ohio are campaigning to keep a tax checkoff program used to finance history-related projects.

The Ohio History Fund has been receiving insufficient donations, The Akron Beacon Journal reported (http://bit.ly/1SjG3Ck) Friday. The program is poised to be removed from state income tax returns if it doesn’t bring in $150,000 this year through the checkoff.

Ohio History Connection, the state’s historical society, and various other museums and historical societies are now calling for state lawmakers to continue the program even if it doesn’t meet the funding requirements.

Taxpayers have to check a box on their state income tax return indicating they wish to donate part of their refunds.

Gary Gudmundson, a spokesman for the state Department of Taxation, said they won’t know until next year how much the history fund made this year and whether it can remain on the tax form. The delay is due to filing extensions, he said.

A state law that went into effect two years ago requires the fund be removed from the tax form if it doesn’t bring in $150,000 a year for two consecutive years.

The history fund is one of six that taxpayers can support using the tax return checkoffs. Gudmundson said every such fund — including military injury relief, state nature preserves, and breast and cervical cancers — has seen checkoff donations fall by about half.

“Why this sort of thing happens, we can’t say,” he said.

The history fund and the breast and cervical cancer fund were the only two to fall below the $150,000 threshold last year.

Leianne Neff Heppner, president and CEO of the Summit County Historical Society, said the grants often help with preserving artifacts that might otherwise become lost.

“I am very concerned that the tax checkoff can be in jeopardy,” she said. “For so little money, so much is done.”


Information from: Akron Beacon Journal, http://www.ohio.com

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