Orange background and words Hey City Hall Where's my Tax Abatement

Columbus City Council Candidate and longtime neighborhood advocate Joe Motil spoke against City Council’s approval last night for a 6-year $3.6 million income tax incentive for the Root Insurance Company. Root Insurance is a local company that has been the rave of major venture capital fund groups across the United States. Root’s auto insurance products are sold, administered and monitored through a smartphone app. The company’s valuation is now estimated at over $1 billion dollars. Root has expanded to 20 states and plans on selling its product nationwide by the end of the year.


Motil stated, “I just don’t get it. You have all these prominent well-respected financial business news resources like Forbes, The Wall Street Journal, Business Wire and others who claim that this company is the real deal and that the sky's the limit. They are receiving startup funding in the hundreds of millions of dollars from some of the biggest Venture Capital groups in the country and their valuation is now estimated at a billion dollars. With all things being said about the positive financial prospects of Root and their $1 billion valuation, they still felt the need for an annual reduction of city income taxes to the tune of roughly $600,000 in order to stay in Columbus? And this was deal breaker? Welcome Root to The Columbus Way. Where the rich get richer and the poor get poorer.”


Motil further claims that, “Just like Fortune 500 Company Abbott Labs recent tax abatement which gave them a monthly savings of about $22,000 over 10 years, these tax incentives have absolutely nothing to do about a company’s financial survival or where they are going to locate. It’s all about corporate greed and squeezing municipalities. And our current City Council doesn’t have the political courage and willpower to stop it.


Motil concludes, “You have heard the cries for more funding from the many non-profits such as Life Care Alliance, Maryhaven, Stonewall Columbus and others. B.R.E.A.D. has been in front of City Council on a regular basis advocating for more funding to help provide affordable housing for low income folks. Residents want more parkland, sidewalks, public health centers, day care and on and on and on.


Our City Auditor has stated that our 2019 tax revenue is coming in flat and possibly falling behind. It’s gotten so bad that the City has begun the questionable diversion of money from Community Development Block Grant Funds for street resurfacing and trying to convince people that this is a legitimate use of these funds. Using city income taxes as a bargaining chip for corporate Columbus is bargaining away the future of working families and our neighborhoods.”