FACT CHECK: Misleading claims by Represent Columbus

Represent Columbus is a political action committee (PAC) created to push expensive ballot issues in Columbus. The group is primarily funded by a local non-profit that has repeatedly violated its own articles of incorporation, which require, “No substantial part of the activities of the corporation shall be the carrying on of propaganda, or otherwise attempting to influence legislation…” In fact, the non-profit has spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on lobbying, including the political campaign for Issue 1.

Here are a few of the many misleading claims and outright lies from Represent Columbus.

CLAIM: The city is playing politics with the title of Issue 1.

FACT: The ballot language title is taken verbatim from the petition filed by Represent Columbus.

ballot language

CLAIM: The ballot language is long because it’s a “political tactic.”


FACT: The length of their petition determines the length of the ballot summary.

Columbus voters, through a charter amendment, require the following: “Section 45-4. In any ordinance placing a proposed charter amendment on the ballot, city council shall prescribe a brief summary of the same, which shall be accurate, shall not be misleading, and shall be without material omission or argument.” [emphasis added]  Basically, the language should be brief, so long as it is accurate and doesn’t leave out important information about the proposal.

CLAIM: 25 council seats won’t really cost $6.5 million.

FACT: It will cost $6.5 million in current dollars, but much more if inflation is considered.

Accounting for inflation, Issue 1 will add $20,677,601 to the city budget over the next decade. At 25 members, Issue 1 will add $12,412,929 to the city budget in a single year.

2 thoughts on “FACT CHECK: Misleading claims by Represent Columbus

  • So wait the reason I should not vote for it is because it is going to cost us money? How much money will the 10 year tax abatements on Short North properties cost the city? How much are we going to have to pay for members giving contracts to poor performing or downright destructive developers? How much is the infrastructure to support these hair brain ideas?

    Clearly I do not want to see a lower minority representation and I don’t want less aflluent communities to have their representation stolen. But if the status qou is so great, maybe we should highlight how the commissions are helping the neighborhoods (which in my mind they are giving lip service to).

    • First, tax incentives don’t cost the city money. For each incentive, the current property taxes and current income taxes are unchanged. Only the improved property value and new jobs are eligible for any incentive.

      Second, developments are approved (or disapproved) by area commissions and city staff before coming before Council. If both approve, the development is usually approved. If either disapprove, the developer is directed to work with the community/staff to gain approval.

      Lastly, this isn’t about Issue 1 vs. the status quo. It’s about a deeply flawed plan that will harm our city and will do NOTHING to change the issues you’ve raised.

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