Columbus figures out who’ll be stuck with tax tab from Blue Jackets bailout (hint: not the Blue Jackets)

If you’ve been waiting eagerly to hear whether the Franklin County Convention Facilities Authority or the Columbus school system will be on the hook when the Blue Jackets arena’s property-tax exemption expires in 2017, the winner is: both! Or the loser is both. Both the county and the school system will soon have less money, is the point:

The public owner of Nationwide Arena has offered to pay Columbus City Schools $586,000 a year, instead of almost $3 million that it would owe the district if the payment were based on the $143 million value that the Franklin County auditor puts on the structure.

If you’re going to say, “Hey, at least $586,000 a year is better than no property taxes at all!” keep in mind that the Blue Jackets owners have been paying $1 million a year in lieu of property taxes until now. So under the new deal the schools will get less money, and the county will have to cover that $586,000 annual tab. Everybody loses! Except the Blue Jackets owners, of course, who really managed to pull off quite the heist when they negotiated their arena bailout deal.

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