Joe Motil

On June 6th at the weekly City Council meeting they granted yet another multimillion dollar tax abatement to another major corporation with gross profits over a billion dollars. This time it was to UPS. Council member Elizabeth Brown, who chairs the Economic Development Committee, did her best to try and justify this tax abatement. In my comments to City Council, I suggested that UPS is not in danger of bankruptcy and her reply to that was she wants to make sure that companies like UPS do not fall into bankruptcy.


She then tried to tout her extensive experience in Economic Development since she used to be the Downtown Development Manager for the Department of Development.

Her duties?

You guessed it, to focus on helping companies to expand into sites in Downtown and the surrounding area (Short North) through income tax incentives and other tax giveaways. The perfect go to person for a handout. She also claimed that our surrounding suburbs give away much more in terms of tax incentives and we could have lost UPS.


UPS wasn’t going anywhere. When you read my speech you will understand why. If they vacated their current site and relocated to Westerville or some other nearby suburb, it would have cost somewhere in the ballpark of $500 million to re-build such a facility. Nice try Ms. Brown. You are indeed the queen of what I call “unavoidable upgrade relief funds” for the rich. And by the way her college degree was in English.

Here’s the speech before UPS was granted the tax abatement:

This proposed tax abatement is yet another unnecessary hand out to a major corporation that is the largest package delivery company in the world with a market cap of $90 billion dollars and who had a profit of $4.8 billion in 2015. If this City Council approves this tax abatement you will have granted tax abatements for roughly $17 million in just one month’s time. And this will make the second tax abatement during that time to a major corporation that yielded gross profits in 2015 that were over one billion dollars.

These tax incentive and tax abatement subsidies to the rich and privileged has got to stop. In most cases these companies and developers are already enjoying the windfalls of locating in the Columbus area due to its well-maintained infrastructure, its Midwestern geographically central location, an educated workforce and other considerable amenities. It is time to revisit these so called Enterprise Zones which some have probably been in existence for decades, and take them off the books. Recent areas that have been recipients of tax abatements and other incentives, that are located in so called Enterprise Zones such as Polaris, the Short North, Easton, 270 Outer belt, and Downtown have been getting fat for quite some time and share little or no risk of new development or expanding their companies, therefore should not be given tax abatements or incentives. UPS has been enjoying the benefits of a robust economy in the metropolitan Columbus area for nearly 30 years, so much that according to reports by UPS in The Columbus Dispatch, they need to nearly double the size of their building and install automated sorting equipment designed to move packages more efficiently due to the increased volume of business in our area. Does this sound like a company that is on the verge of failure or bankruptcy? UPS also enjoys being located within a stone’s throw of Interstate 70 and the 270 outer belt. What’s next, do we build them an interchange that empties in and out of their loading dock area onto Interstate 70 for their convenience?

When is this nonsense going to stop? When is this administration and City Council going put its foot down and tell these companies NO! The first thing any company in this city seems to do when they plan on expanding or building something new, whether the company is big, medium or small (such as Micro Electronics) is ask for a handout at the taxpayer’s expense. Why must the working middle class of this city continue to pay the price with higher property taxes due to these giveaways to the rich and lose property tax monies which go into our General Fund, that translates into the loss of dollars for our rec centers, health and human services, assisting our seniors and public safety. Tell UPS and the likes of them that they are already enjoying the fruits of our city’s success and in fairness to our citizens we can no longer subject them to the additional financial burden of increased property taxes and the loss of city tax revenue from such giveaways.

Clintonville resident Joe Motil is one of Central Ohio’s most noteworthy and recognizable progressive activists. The former City Council candidate is best described in his own words: “I have fought side by side for the past 30 years with concerned citizens across the City of Columbus for Fairness and Equality. Experience Matters!”