Columbus Ticket Tax Avoids Ballot Battle

Jan 11, 2019

Opponents of a recently approved Columbus ticket tax ordinance missed the deadline to challenge the measure through a referendum.

It appears Columbus sports fans, concert-goers and art lovers will wind up seeing a 5 percent surcharge on their tickets. City Council approved the tax in December as a way to raise money for arts programs and upkeep at Nationwide Arena. It takes effect July 1.

Opponents long promised to fight the provision at the ballot box, but on Wednesday missed a 30-day deadline for gathering signatures. That task was likely made more difficult by the holiday season and City Council’s decision to split the tax into two pieces of legislation.

The Greater Columbus Arts Council will oversee some of the tax revenue. In response to the missed deadline, they issued a statement saying they’re looking forward to “further strengthening the cultural sector’s contributions to the Columbus economy, education, neighborhoods and quality of life.”

Opponents hinted at other legal avenues, like challenging the ordinance in court, but haven’t announced their next steps yet.