59 new jobs that will generate 10-years of city income tax revenue totaling $699,400 for $24.7 million in property tax savings
Joe Motil

Andy Ginther and Columbus City Council continued to show their true colors at the Monday, July 24 Columbus City Council meeting.

Three separate Enterprise Zone 10-year 75 percent abatements were handed out without a blink of an eye totaling roughly $24.74 million dollars. But it doesn’t end there. The generosity of Ginther and company also included more taxpayer funds to help subsidize the construction of the Merchant Building totaling $31 million.

Recipients of the tax abatements included a $4.7 million hand out to the Trident Capital Group whose company assets are valued at about $1.2 billion. Local developer and friend of Ginther, Crawford Hoying, received a $9.6 million property tax gift. And not to be outdone was CCBCC Operations LLC which is the nation’s largest Coca-Cola bottler and who is owned by Coca-Cola Consolidated. Gross profits for Coca-Cola Consolidated in the first quarter of 2023 were $624 million and one share of Coca-Cola Consolidated is currently selling at $646. Do you think that just maybe they might be able to get by with paying their fair share of property taxes?

Between the three sweetheart deals, they will create a total of 59 new jobs that will generate 10-years of city income tax revenue totaling $699,400 for $24.7 million in property tax savings. Which results in the defunding of public education, reducing revenue for non-profit social service agencies, and burdening property owners with higher property taxes. And at a time when the Franklin County Auditor is predicting 30 percent increase in property tax value and Columbus Public Schools is going to place a levy on the ballot that will raise taxes $269.50 per $100,000 of property value.

But why stop there? Developers Rockbridge and The Edwards Company have teamed up to build the 32-story Merchant Building, which is now in year six of its planning. The project began in 2017 with a price tag of $120 million and has increased to about $345 million. But these poor developers just can’t seem to make ends meet without public subsidization. The city, county and state have had an open check book for this project since day one. They received $31 million from the City, $40 million from the county, and a $34 million state tax credit and more. This has to be one of the largest pork barrel projects ever devised in Columbus by local politicians, special interest groups and well-connected lobbyists. And when the two developers employ Michael Coleman and former City Council President John Kennedy as their lobbyists, what more needs to be said?