Columbus, OH Zoo Levy

I know there are a few central Ohio dopers here. For those not in the loop, a controversial proposed zoo levy in Columbus was beat down yesterday, approx 70% voting no.

The Ohio state constitution was recently amended to allow certain levies to become indefinite. The Columbus zoo took advantage of this to propose a perpetual levy for Franklin Co. residents (legally Franklin Co. is the only county that can levy taxes for the zoo, since they’re hosting it, even though it’s actually in Delaware Co.).

The numbers bandied about say that the current levy is $21/100k housing value, and the new levy would be $44/100k housing value. Zoo officials argued that they needed the perpetual levy for long-term planning purposes, and they needed the extra money for major projects like a new animal hospital, a tram, and a downtown satellite zoo.

I’m a zoo member, a proponent of local governments, and someone who generally votes for every levy that ends up on a ballot, but this one rubbed me the wrong way. I didn’t like that it was perpetual, that it was such a large increase, and frankly, I think the zoo is a luxury, and an anachronistic one at that, that shouldn’t really be foisted on taxpayers.

That said, apparently the Koch Bros spent a grip of money fighting this thing, and that also rubs me the wrong way. I don’t see why this issue attracted national anti-tax money, and I don’t like what it suggests about the future. If the zoo comes back with a smaller levy, I’ll likely vote for it, but I worry now that there’s going to be an organized effort to fight all future zoo levies.

Not the best GD OP, but I’m curious if anyone else has thoughts.

I really like zoos and have supported them financially through donations at times, but I don’t feel that a zoo is something that ought to be paid for by taxes. I don’t live in Franklin county, but I followed the election result because I was shocked at the size and permanence of the tax increase.

Having outside idealogs spend money on a campaign like this is pretty troubling.

Apart from the tax increase, it probably didn’t help that they were going to use some of the money for a “satellite zoo” downtown. I had the feeling that would only contribute to a white elephant* that would take attention and efforts away from the main facility. I normally support issues funding zoos and libraries and such, but not this particular one.

I suspect the vast majority of voters were motivated by local concerns, not what the Koch Bros. were doing.
*or a white Bengal tiger, albino capybara or what have you. :smiley:

Oh, I agree. Opposition was strong before Americans for Prosperity even showed up. Nevertheless, I don’t like that some group in VA is interfering with local politics 500 miles away.

And FWIW, I like the idea of of a downtown zoo, since I live close to downtown and will probably use it more. It was also a relatively small part of the increase. But the Scioto Mile is struggling to find much support, so I’ll readily admit that I’m in the minority on that one.

As described there is no way I’d support the tax for the reason already given by the Op. A one time levy of $5 a household, maybe.

I never thought I’d get to the tax equivalent of “get off my lawn” but over the last 25 years I’ve seen the rate of taxes double in my metro area. It’s really scary what we pay and I don’t see any additional services for it.

So to the Zoo I say, get off my lawn.

Can we just rename the Koch Brothers HYDRA and be done with it?

How about if the majority had approved the levy? My view is that, for this kind of small potatoes, majority vote is the best way to determine what is right and wrong.

I think a zoo ought to be paid pay taxes at least partially and I have no problems with a tax that doesn’t expire and needs to be repealed to end (as opposed to taxes that expire every few years and needs to be renewed)

cough… Detroit.