The All American Quarterhorse Congress stretches over the better part of October. But the annual event, which bills itself as Columbus’ biggest, may completely avoid the city’s proposed ticket tax.
The measure Columbus City Council will consider Monday already has exemptions for NCAA events, venues with capacity smaller than 400, and tickets that cost less than $10. But Council is now also working on an amendment to offer exemptions for many non-profit organizations.
“We are out there, listening to every sector of the community and with that comes compromise,” said Council president Shannon Hardin in an emailed statement. “We all want the same thing, to build and uplift not punish the arts and culture community.”
Michael Gonidakis, who heads up an organization opposing the levy, criticized the move.
“It is shocking that the largest annual event in Columbus just got a free pass to not have to pay the ticket tax while smaller venues, bars and movie theaters have to bear the brunt of the tax,” he said. “City Council cut a back room deal with the Quarter Horse Congress in order to muzzle them from opposing the 5 percent tax.”
Gonidakis’ Advocates for Responsible Taxation is promising to challenge the measure through a ballot referendum if City Council approves it.
The Greater Columbus Arts Council will oversee most of the proposal’s tax revenue. In a statement, they applauded “a broad exemption for groups from the Humane Society to Dress for Success, from the Columbus Chamber of Commerce to Experience Columbus, and many other nonprofits that do essential work for the social health and economic vitality our city.”
The fees from the tax will go to support the arts and Nationwide Arena.