Information on tax incentives offered in the name of transparency
Property tax incentives are used throughout Franklin County in the hope that they will bring additional economic development, jobs and benefits to our neighborhoods.
They can be a tool to attract business and investment. But lost tax revenue comes at a cost – and taxpayers deserve to know whether the incentives are working for their community.
In 2020, 4,070 packages in Franklin County received or continued to benefit from a tax abatement.
These cuts resulted in a tax loss of $ 116 million, but also created or retained nearly 36,000 jobs and nearly $ 1.9 billion in payroll. And these are just reductions. Whether you favor them or hate them, it’s important to understand what these tax incentives are and what they do.
The Franklin County Auditor’s Office recently unveiled the Tax Incentives Hub, a one-stop-shop website that displays comprehensive information about every incentive used in the county using intuitive GIS mapping technology.
The Hub, which can be accessed at www.franklincountyauditor.com/taxincentives, features maps showing where incentives are used, the different types of incentives, data on the incentives and the local ordinance that created them. . Maps can break down tax incentives by municipality, so residents can see which ones are used in their neighborhood.
This tool lists the impact and investment of each incentive on government agencies that depend on tax revenues, and it links to specific information about each incentive on each municipality’s economic development website. A downloadable spreadsheet listing information about all incentives in the county is also available on the Hub.
Additionally, the hub features our Tax Incentives Review Board 2020 report, which summarizes tax incentives in Franklin County.
The report is the result of annual meetings of the Tax Incentives Review Board, required by state law, which assess the tax incentives in each municipality that uses them. By law, I chair these TIRC meetings.
Tax incentives are a balancing act, which determines whether the possible economic development is worth the tax revenues that would have gone to government agencies that serve our community.
The only way to know if they are performing as advertised is transparency.
It’s hard to know if an incentive works.
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Companies and communities use all kinds of factors to determine where they should do business, from available labor force, community ties or availability of resources. Determining whether the tax incentive was a factor is not easy, as studies have shown.
But one thing we can do is be transparent about tax incentives, and that’s what the new Hub does.
You can learn about and better understand the different types of incentives – rebates (which include enterprise zones, environmental protection allowances, and community reinvestment zones), TIFS, exemptions, and the CAUV program.
You can see where they are, what benefits they generated, and the specific amounts of tax revenue lost by individual agencies due to an incentive. School districts, which rely heavily on property taxes, are usually at the top of this list.
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While tax incentives can promote economic growth, reduce the scourge, and deliver other benefits, transparency is needed to ensure that taxpayers get the deal they are promised.
My goal as your Franklin County auditor is to provide complete information on each tax incentive used, so that you can judge for yourself whether that tax incentive in your neighborhood and community is worth it.
Michael Stinziano is the auditor of Franklin County.