Mayor Ginther and City Council Announce Proposed Changes to City’s Tax Incentive Policies
Mayor Andrew J. Ginther and Columbus City Council today announced a proposed overhaul to the city’s tax incentive policies that would make significant changes to support affordable, mixed-use housing development and create a new wage standard for business developments.
“Abatements and incentives are public resources. They are one tool the city has to influence development and encourage affordable, mixed-use housing development in areas that need it most,” said Mayor Ginther. “Based on research and input from the community, we have put together new policies that will benefit neighborhoods and residents by spurring development of affordable housing and living wages -- real and long-lasting changes for the people of Columbus.”
The new incentives policies are designed to support affordable, mixed-use neighborhoods in the City’s existing post-1994 Community Reinvestment Areas. These neighborhoods will be placed in three categories based on the following criteria: population growth, median household income growth, poverty rate, growth in median rent, housing vacancy, rate and mortgage foreclosure rate. An overview of incentives by area is attached.
Moving forward, the City will only provide incentives for jobs paying at least $15 per hour.
In 2016, Mayor Ginther tasked the Department of Development to commission a first-ever study to better understand the City’s use of incentives. The consulting firm of HR&A presented recommendations to the City last summer. As the Chair of the Development Committee from 2016-2017, Councilmember Elizabeth Brown held four hearings to receive public feedback on the recommendations to help guide the formulation of the proposed policy changes.
“These policy updates are an important step towards maximizing the benefits Columbus residents receive from our incentive policies. When used properly, these incentives help encourage smart growth and attract quality jobs in our neighborhoods,” said Councilmember Elizabeth Brown.
The Department of Development will produce and make public an evaluation tool showing how Jobs Growth Incentive and Job Creation Tax Credit rates and terms are determined. The length and terms of those tax incentives will be determined by average hourly wage, number of new jobs, retained jobs and payroll and length of lease/ownership status of the facility. Special consideration will be given to companies locating in Opportunity Ready neighborhoods, locating on former brownfield sites, and companies encouraging employment of difficult to employ populations.
“I am excited to serve as the new Economic Development Chair and stand ready to continue working with the Department of Development to implement the policy recommendations,” said Councilmember Jaiza Page. “As chair of the Housing Committee, I have been working diligently to increase access to affordable housing and believe the study results indicate the necessity of that work."
Pending City Council approval, the new policies will take effect summer 2018. Click here
to see a summary chart of the Incentives Study.