Official city building

Joe Motil, former Columbus City Council candidate and longtime outspoken critic of Mayor Ginther and City Council’s blanket tax abatement policies once again criticized the Mayor and City Council for defunding public education and denying social and economic opportunity for the citizens of Columbus.

At the City Council meeting Monday, March 1, Council members approved of a 75% 10-year Enterprise Zone Tax Abatement for Freeland Contracting that will save them approximately $981,723 in property taxes over a ten-year period. Freeland Contracting has been in business for 40 years in the Columbus area as a noteworthy plumbing and HVAC contractor that specializes in commercial, retail, multi-family and hospitality plumbing and piping projects. Freeland says it will invest $5.50 million dollars towards expanding its business while adding “TWO” jobs with each paying $15.00 an hour.       

Motil states that, “Once again, we have to listen to the spewing of more garbage about how yet another business in Columbus that has been successful and profitable for decades, yet all of a sudden needs a handout. And why? Because of how well they have done for themselves that they can expand their operations to become more efficient and make even more money? Or as City Council seems to believe that the taxpayers are morally obligated to reward successful and profitable businesses for retaining their workforces and in this case adding two jobs at $15 an hour? “

“Or is it because they have an apprenticeship program or hire interns just as any successful company does? Or once again Director Stevens will allege that the company threatened to leave and uproot their headquarters of nearly 40 years if they don’t get a $8,100 a month tax savings. And it goes without saying that the company is undoubtedly aware of the generosity and reliability of the Mayor and City Council when it comes to handing out tax abatements on such a regular basis which has become a time-honored weekly tradition.”      

Motil says, “Last week this City Council displayed their hypocrisy by introducing and voting to support a resolution titled, ‘Recognizing Public Schools Week in Columbus’ by stating that, ‘Universal access to a high-quality public education is one of the most effective ways we can assure equitable access to opportunity for every citizen in Columbus and the U.S. Public education is a foundational building block of our society.’ But yet at last week’s meeting they continued to defund public education by handing out another unnecessary tax abatement to another member of The Columbus Partnership this time for $1.1 million. While giving out no less than $377 million in tax abatements over the last 64 months.”

Motil concluded that, “Once again City Council displayed a lack of leadership while voting in favor of more corporate welfare while ignoring the negative impact of tax abatements as being one of the most obvious and detrimental contributing factors that is denying people in Columbus of economic and social opportunity.”