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Representative Derek Merrin Introduces Bill Repealing the Sales Tax on Prescribed Eyewear

March 8, 2017
Derek Merrin News

Press Release Poster

State Representative Derek Merrin (R-Monclova Township) introduced House Bill 116 that eliminates the sale and use tax on eyeglasses, frames, and contacts. Prescription eyewear is the only prescribed medical product sold in traditional retail stores that is taxed in Ohio. Taxpayers would save an estimated $23 million annually from the sales tax repeal on prescribed eyewear.

“Our tax code should not penalize Ohioans that must have prescription eyewear. Eyeglasses will be more affordable, and this bill will leave more money in Ohioans’ pockets by repealing the tax,” said Representative Merrin.

Eyeglasses and corrective contacts significantly improve Ohio lives—enabling many to maintain employment, learn, live safely, and have mobility. Also, Ohio retailers and optometrists selling eyewear are at a competitive disadvantage with our neighboring states that do not impose a tax. Only 14 states impose a tax on prescription eyewear.

“This legislation will make a positive impact for many Ohioans by eliminating an economic barrier to obtaining eyewear—an essential health care item,” said Keith Kerns, Executive Director of the Ohio Optometric Association. “Without access to glasses or corrective lenses, students have difficulty learning, adults struggle to hold employment, and our senior population loses mobility.”

It is important to eliminate the financial tax burden on prescribed, life-enhancing products. Corrective vision products are pivotal to many children’s educational experience. Poor vision can lead to academic struggles that can have life-long consequences.

Representative Merrin remarked on his own childhood experiences. “As a child, I remember choosing the least expensive eyeglasses in the store, because I didn’t want to burden my financially-strapped parents. Parents should be able to secure eyeglasses for their children without taxation,” he said.

Almost all prescription goods in Ohio are exempt from the sale and use tax. The exceptions are dental prostheses, the sale of medical oxygen-dispensing equipment, and hospital beds unless purchased by a hospital, nursing home, or other medical facility. House Bill 116 will save taxpayer dollars while creating a simpler and fair taxation structure on prescriptions.

House Bill 116 has earned bipartisan support from 22 cosponsors and awaits committee designation in the Ohio House of Representatives.