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Columbus Council Revises Ticket Tax Proposal

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Columbus City Council Tuesday unveiled a revised ticket-tax proposal cutting the rate sought by the Greater Columbus Arts Council from 7 to 5 percent.

Council president Shannon Hardin says the plan creates two funds for the revenue. One would be created by revenue from Nationwide Arena events that would mostly be used for arena improvements.

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The other fund would be from a tax on performances and sporting events at venues with more than 400 seats for tickets costing more than 10 dollars. Hardin says the 6  million dollars generated would go to arts organizations. Not being taxed are Ohio State football tickets, because Hardin says it would be “legally difficult.” Council amended the proposal after hearing from promoters and venue owners who said a 7 percent tax would hurt sales, and from other citizens who don't want arts organizations to share revenue with the arena. Tom Katzenmeyer of GCAC says he supports the plan, though it does not generate the amount of revenue his group's proposal sought.

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Opponents are vowing to take the issue to the ballot box. Ohio Right To Life's Mike Gonidakis speaks for a group called Advocates for Responsible Taxation. The group's members include the co-founder of the Arnold Sports Festival.

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And former California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger opposes the plan, saying it will hurt families and businesses.

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Schwarzenegger says the city and Franklin County should pay for arena repairs and upgrades.  The city will hold a public hearing at city hall Thursday on the proposal, and council plans to pass it on December 10.

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