Opponents of the recently-passed pair of ticket taxes in Columbus are planning a charter amendment to block them from taking effect and considering litigation.
Columbus City Council last month approved two 5 percent ticket taxes. One tax would fund arts in the region and apply to performances and events costing more than $10 per ticket at venues with more than 400 seats. The other tax would apply only to Nationwide Arena-hosted events, with the revenue going mostly to maintenance and repairs at the arena. Speaking for the group Advocates for Responsible Taxation, Mike Gonidakis explains the decision to seek a charter amendment rather than a referendum.
“The original rules of the game gave us 30 days to do an initiative to invalidate the ordinance,” Gonidakis said. “But when we sat down with our team and we looked at the way to make this a permanent solution, we believe the charter amendment was the best way to go. Now we have several months to collect the signatures, which we will. We’re prepared to make this a permanent solution for the citizens of Columbus and central Ohio, and that’s why we’re pursuing the charter amendment.”
The 1851 Center for Constitutional Law drafted the charter amendment, which reads “No person shall be compelled to pay, directly or indirectly, any tax or fee to gain entrance to any performance, place, association, or event in the City of Columbus.” Ticket tax opponents must submit 11,030 valid signatures by July 3 to put the amendment on the November ballot. The 1851 Center also threatened a lawsuit, claiming the taxes violate the Ohio Constitution.