City Council approves ticket tax

Andy Downing
Patrons queue up before a concert this month featuring country musician Cody Jinks at Express Live.

Following months of public debate, City Council voted 6-0 on Monday to approve two 5 percent ticket taxes to fund the arts and Nationwide Arena.

The dual taxes are the result of a compromised plan that isolates funding for improvements to Nationwide Arena. (In an early proposal, which you can read about here, Nationwide would have received $4 million per year from a citywide 7 percent entertainment tax.)

In its current form, events at Nationwide are separated, with the money generated largely going to arena repairs. It's estimated the Nationwide tax will generate $2.4 million a year for arena repairs and $600,000 for the arts.

The second 5 percent tax would be applied to performances and sporting events costing more than $10 at venues with a capacity of more than 400. Nationwide would be exempted from this tax, as would Ohio State sporting events. The tax is expected to raise $6 million for arts groups via the Greater Columbus Arts Commission.

The 5 percent tax, lowered from the initially proposed 7 percent figure, falls in line with what PromoWest Productions founder Scott Stienecker imagined in September, saying the 5 percent figure falls more in line with markets like Pittsburgh, where PromoWest operates the music venue Stage AE.

"Will it affect us? Yeah, I think it will affect us some. Will we feel an impact in 2019? Yeah, we’ll probably feel some impact," he said at the time. "But will people get used to it through 2019? Yeah, they probably will."

The tax is scheduled to be collected beginning on July 1, 2019.