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City Council Approves Tax Break Legislation To Attract Major Employers

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Columbus City Council last night approved tax incentive legislation designed to attract large companies, amid word that the city is competing to land Asian electronics giant Foxconn. 
The emergency legislation allows any company pursuing what the city calls an economic development net-profit tax incentive needs an annual revenue of at least 7 billion dollars with a payroll worth 45 million. They must create at least 1 thousand new jobs that are not in the retail sector, and those jobs must pay at least 15 dollars an hour. Companies would get an authorized incentive equal to a  percentage reduction in the annual net-profit tax due for a term not exceeding 30 years. Columbus development director Steve Schoeny.

Foxconn officials met recently with central Ohio business leaders, and are considering constructing a facility near Rickenbacker Airport. The practice of providing tax breaks for profitable companies has come under fire from a growing number of citizens in recent months. Community activist and former council candidate Joe Motil is among the critics.

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But Schoeny says nearly all of the city's tax breaks are based on a company's performance, and this legislation includes a review after five years.

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A draft of a recent city-funded report called into question the size of municipal tax breaks and the locations of the projects involved. City officials say the legislation is geared not just toward Foxconn, but other large Fortune 500 companies that have expressed interest in the city.

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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