Speaker of the House William G. Batchelder, an active Ohio Freemason, has included language in House Bill 59 - the House version of the Governor’s proposed budget - that offers property tax relief to Masonic lodges as well as those of the Prince Hall Masons, Granges, Odd Fellows and Knights of Columbus by removing these properties from the tax rolls. Annually, Ohio Freemasons contribute $15 million in charity within the state of Ohio. Most lodge halls are not used to generate income but rather are the central location for the distribution of charity, community activities and the promotion of the general good in Ohio’s rural and urban community. The property tax burden carried by individual lodges constitutes a major part of their annual budget, while providing very little financial support to local schools or public services though tax revenue. As lodges are forced to sell their buildings, local communities lose one of their limited charitable resources. Several years ago, Brother Jim Hughes, then an Ohio Representative and currently an Ohio Senator, sponsored two bills that would have removed the lodge buildings from the tax rolls. Though one bill passed the House, it never made it out of committee in the Senate. House Bill 59 has passed the Ohio House and is currently in committee in the Ohio Senate. To support this effort to bring well-needed tax relief to qualifying fraternal lodges, please write a letter of support to your local Ohio Senator.