What is ‘sales chasing’? Lakota Schools criticized for practice by officials

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

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Critics say Lakota Schools’ policy of ‘sales chasing’ challenging to raise taxes hurts businesses.

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

Lakota Schools has been criticized by public officials and others for their use in recent years of the practice of ‘sales chasing.’ The Journal-News studied the issue for a recent in-depth report.

ExploreMORE: Too much ‘sales chasing’? Lakota Schools’ actions called hurtful for business

Here’s what you should know about the practice:

What is 'sales chasing'? A review of records by the Journal-News found Lakota Schools has more than twice the tax valuation challenge filings against businesses buying property in the district's two townships of West Chester and Liberty. It is known as "sales chasing," and is meant to force those property buyers to pay higher taxes that benefit the district, critics say.

What critics say: Some business leaders and politicians say Lakota has for years overzealously pursued higher tax bills for new businesses through filings, subsequent counterfilings and eventual tax settlement agreements costing developers unexpectedly large tax burdens before they even open their businesses.

What Lakota says: Lakota Treasurer Jenni Logan said the practice is not uncommon among the state's 608 public school systems.

How much does it happen? From 2014 to 2018 showed, Lakota filed 117 original tax valuation complaints against area businesses and developers, which is 129 percent more than any other local school district in Butler County.

School board stopped the practice, for now: Complaints prompted the Lakota school board to vote in March 2019 to put a one-year moratorium on filing original tax valuation complaints against businesses for one year. The board is scheduled to take action on the status of the moratorium in a meeting later this month.

How much have Butler County districts used it? Six of Butler County's 10 public school systems filed original tax valuation complaints with the board of revisions of the auditor's office from 2014-18.

• Lakota: 117

• Fairfield: 51

• Middletown: 48

• Talawanda: 37

• Monroe: 9

• Edgewood: 1

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