Despite Pandemic, Tax Incentives Program Exceeds Payroll and Retention Goals
Recommendations of the Tax Incentive Review Council show restrained company performance during the outset of the pandemic; Council recommends continuation of 85 incentive agreements as local economy rebounds
[Columbus, OH] – Recommendations of the City of Columbus’ Tax Incentive Review Council (TIRC) showed organizations that received Columbus property tax abatements significantly exceeded payroll creation and job retention goals during 2020, but were cautious in creating net new jobs during much of the calendar year due to the uncertainty of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The five-member Council comprised of the Franklin and Delaware County auditors and four community representatives appointed by the Mayor and Columbus City Council meets annually to review how companies in receipt of city tax incentives have performed against agreed-upon job creation and investment goals. The review of the city’s Enterprise Zone and Community Reinvestment Area programs during calendar year 2020 found that the 86 projects currently in receipt of city incentives collectively:
- Created 3,713 jobs – 58% of goal
- Retained 8,806 jobs – 111% of goal
- Created $167 million in new annual payroll – 147% of goal
- Invested more than $1.3 billion in real property improvements – 100% of goal
“The Tax Incentive Review Council advances transparency and oversight by carefully accounting for the processes by which the city attracts and retains businesses and talent to create jobs in Columbus,” said Michael Stevens, Director of the Department of Development. “The review by the TIRC shows that Columbus employers were cautious with hiring during the uncertainty of 2020 but pursued significant investments in current staff and facilities with job retention and annual payroll creation that exceeded commitments. I appreciate the extraordinary challenges many companies faced last year, and I look forward to seeing them return to growth-oriented strategies and job creation in 2021.”
Following the review of the city’s 86 property tax abatements and 88 Tax Increment Finance districts, the TIRC recommended that 85 agreements be continued and one agreement be dissolved, and that all city TIFs are in order. Recommendations of the TIRC were presented to Columbus City Council on Monday, September 20.
“Incentives are an important tool for creating jobs and opportunity in our city, and I’m pleased that the city’s portfolio of projects has resulted in greater community investment than projected,” said Columbus City Councilmember Emmanuel V. Remy, “Through the TIRC, we’ll continue to ensure that recipients of these incentives fulfill their job creation commitments.”
Among the companies that over-performed against goals, maintenance, repair and operations supplier Kimball Midwest achieved 263% of its job creation goal, creating 161 new positions valued at $6 million in payroll as the company continued its strong national growth. The company also expanded its corporate headquarters and distribution center at 4800 Roberts Road.
NetJets Inc., founded in Columbus more than 55 years ago, continues to thrive in its hometown with $21.1 million in real estate investments while adding 173 new jobs. The global leader in private aviation is proud to be a part of the Columbus community, with a rich history of aviation innovation that continues today.
America’s Floor Source exceeded both its job creation and real estate investment commitments as it outperformed growth in the construction and home improvement industries. The company experienced growth locally in retail through its three central Ohio showrooms and Mobile Floor Source vehicles that bring the showroom to homeowners’ living rooms. Business growth drove the company to hire three times more employees than expected, creating $1.3 million in new payroll, with additional investments in customer service and training.