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Council Considers Tax Abatements For Three Companies

Columbus City Council tonight is expected to approve 7.3 million dollars in tax breaks for three private businesses, including one mentioned by Mayor Michael Coleman in his State of the City address. 

Jim Letizia reports.
In his February address, Coleman announced Rogue Fitness, a Columbus-based manufacturer of fitness equipment, will move its headquarters from the Northwest side to the closed Timken plant site near Cleveland and East 5th Avenues. Tonight, Council is expected to approve the Coleman administration's proposed 10 year, 75 percent property tax abatement and six year income tax rebate to create 90 new jobs at the site. The 7.1 million dollar package of public subsidies will be used to build a nearly 37 million dollar manufacturing and warehouse facility. As part of the package, the city will reimburse the Columbus City Schools for lost tax revenue. City officials say the new facility will generate more than 1 million dollars for the district over the next decade. Council is also expected to approve 88 thousand dollars in income tax rebates for Columbus-based BriskHeat, a heating equipment manufacturer, to create 26 new jobs as part of a 2.25 million dollar expansion effort. Contact-lens retailer Arlington Contact Lens Service is getting 80 thousand dollars worth of income tax rebates to create 50 new jobs as part of its expansion effort. The city's generous support of private business has become an issue in the mayoral race. Americans For Prosperity, a group fronted by the conservative billionaire Koch Brothers, has criticized Council president and Democratic mayoral candidate Andy Ginther for his support of more than 40 different tax abatements. His opponent, Frankin County Sheriff Zach Scott, has followed suit. City officials have said the abatements helped generate 750 million dollar worth of development.

Jim has been with WCBE since 1996. Before that he worked as a reporter at another Columbus radio station, and for three newspapers in Southwest Florida.
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