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  • Writer's pictureJoe Motil

Giveaway Ginther Holds True to His Name

COLUMBUS, OH – Andy Ginther and Columbus City Council continued to show their true colors at tonight’s Columbus City Council meeting. Three separate Enterprise Zone 10-year 75% 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 companies' assets are valued at approximately $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 was $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. This directly results in the defunding of public education, the reduction in revenue for non-profit social service agencies, and the burdening of property owners with higher property taxes. Currently, the Franklin County Auditor is predicting a 30% increase in property tax value, and at the same time, Columbus Public Schools needs to place a levy on the ballot that will raise taxes by $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 6 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 subsidies. The city, county, and state have had an open checkbook for this project since day one. $31 million from the city, $40 million from the county, 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 interests 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.

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