Columbus City Council members are starting to review public comments regarding a proposed 7 percent ticket tax.
Council members say they will consider the feedback as they determine how to spell out the language for the proposal that’s causing controversy for the plan and the way it’s being decided.
Supporters of the ticket tax say it’s needed if Columbus wants to compete with other larger cities in drawing top-notch arts and entertainment options, as well as the jobs and new residents that will come as a result.
Those against it, say it’s nothing more than a Nationwide Arena bailout funded by residents but decided by city council.
Mike Gonidakis says the public should really be making the decision.
“Let the voters decide. If the voters say, look we want a 7 percent ticket tax, let it be. But if not, I think we have a better way than they do to say let the voters decide, not Nationwide Arena or City council,” he said.
If approved, tickets that cost more than $10 to pro sporting events, concerts and other performances at Nationwide Arena, The Schottenstein Center, Ohio Stadium, Mapfre Stadium and Huntington Park, as well as tickets to nonprofit arts and cultural venues and events, movie theaters and golf courses, would be taxed 7percent.
Seventy percent of funds collected would go to the GCAC. Nationwide Arena would receive 30 percent of the funds that will be used for capital improvements. Opponents are upset that Nationwide is a part of the proposal.
“You know the voters have voted multiple times. They don’t want to own Nationwide Arena. They don’t want to pay for Nationwide Arena and they don’t want to bail Nationwide Arena out,” Gonadikis said.
But GCAC CEO Tom Katzeneyer disagrees.
“If this passes the way we’ve proposed it, Nationwide Arena will be a major contributor to the arts here in Columbus. In other words, they’ll be putting more money in than they will receive back for capital improvements,” Katzenmeyer said.
Katzenmeyer also says there is nothing wrong with having council members decide instead of voters because it’s allowed by Ohio law and it’s been done many times already.
“Ohio law allows municipalities to enact ticket fees. Sixty-four cities in Ohio already do this. Cleveland has an 8 percent that has been in place for 23 years,” he said.