Koch Brothers Group Urges ‘No’ Vote on Columbus Zoo Levy

Listen to the Story

Front entrance to Columbus Zoo and Aquarium(Photo: Columbus Zoo and Aquarium)
Front entrance to Columbus Zoo and Aquarium(Photo: Columbus Zoo and Aquarium)
The other side of the mailer that was sent to some Franklin County residents.

This flier was mailed to some Franklin County residents recently in opposition of the proposed Columbus Zoo levy.

The Virginia-based group, Americans for Prosperity, has sent mailers to some households in Franklin County urging a ‘no’ vote on Issue 6, a proposed 1.25 mill property tax levy for the Columbus Zoo.

AFP State Director, Eli Miller, says his group works to limit government by limiting taxes. Miller says the group was asked by some Franklin County residents to enter the campaign.

“We are engaged in local issues, in state issues, on federal issues. There is no issue we won’t get involved in if you’re going to raise taxes,” says Miller.

The one page glossy ad claims the tax levy, if approved, hurts disabled and elderly residents who live on fixed incomes.

The head of the zoo levy campaign, John Kulewicz, says the appearance of the mailer in Franklin County is a surprise to him. Kulewicz characterizes Americans For Prosperity as “an outside special interest group with deep pockets and extreme views.”

This is manipulative activity and we should all be on guard against it. The people who have sent this mailing into our homes here in Franklin County are not part of our community now and are not going to be here after the May 6th election

Neither the pro levy campaign nor Americans for Prosperity would say how much they’re spending in their efforts to sway voters. Franklin County voters will vote on the zoo levy on May 6th.

  • PerryM9

    Why do the Koch brothers, who do not live in Franklin County, think they have a right to stake a claim in a local issue which does not affect them? They’re not doing it out of the goodness of their hearts. Scary.

    • William

      Why does Jack Hannah, who does not live in Franklin County, think he has a right to stake a claim on a local issue to make residents pay more taxes that does not affect him?
      He’s doing it out of the goodness of his pocketbook. Ridiculous.

      • mac1

        why does the zoo, which isn’t even in franklin county, think they can tax our property?

        • Tony

          Why do you think that the none of the TWO MILLION visitors to the zoo last year didn’t also spend money in Franklin county?

          • The Cool Cookie

            These people can’t think about anything other than complaining about taxes

  • Zoo isn’t free

    Why should franklin county residents pay for a zoo that is in Delaware county?? Delaware county is one of the wealthiest counties in ohio!

    • The Cool Cookie

      Because THIS IS NOT 1820, and this is not the Franklin County Zoo. Columbus is spans multiple counties.

      • Steve

        Let those living in Delaware and Muskingum County share the burden. I cannot nor will not ever support any levy that is permanent

  • Lifelong County Resident

    John Kulewicz cannot defend the integrity of Issue 6 so he seeks to silence any opposition. His group is spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on TV ads that are going unanswered. No one is talking about how Issue 6′s 105% property tax rate increase will hurt the county’s real estate market. No one is talking about how our elderly and handicapped cannot afford to pay more in property taxes when they’re on fixed incomes. No one is talking about how Columbus already has one of the highest property tax rates in the USA! Issue 6 is wrong and it should be voted down on May 6.

    • Amadeus Klein

      Your statement contains a massive Lie… It’s 105% of the ZOO portion… So from $21 to $44 per 100K Value of a home goes for the Zoo… It’s not like if you currently pay $2K per year it will now be $4K, That’s worse fear mongering than those who are asking for the increase…

      Geez, I actually agree the tax is a poor idea, but get your facts straight, now you sound like a nut job who exaggerates everything and can’t be taken seriously…

      Too bad, because I agree with the need to use money better not just get more….

    • The Cool Cookie

      LCR, I beg to differ, but your claim that Columbus, Ohio having the one of the highest property taxes in the US is a BOLD faced lie. When we moved from Columbus to Baltimore (city), MD our property taxes went from $2,500 a year to $11,000+ for a comparable property. Baltimore’s tax rate is the HIGHEST in Maryland. The difference is, in Columbus, you get amazing services for your tax dollars, which is not true here.

    • get your money elsewher

      what about truste salarys… the ceo makes 500k and the public should fund this. why dont they give all franklin residents free zoo membershits.. keep in mind this a not for profit tax exempt organization. where does this end? will the good will be demanding money from home owners next? only home owners shoul vote on property tax issues!!

      • Jessica

        The reason there cannot be free memberships to locals is because that is what keeps the zoo so affordable to everyone else. If the zoo started handing out free memberships, the admission costs would increase greatly.

    • wickedtimelord

      No-one is talking about the 105% increase because it was actually a .75% increase.

    • will wipperdink

      you have a screw loose or are an idiot

  • CommonSensePrevails

    The opposition to this levy, Citizens for Responsible Taxation was not contacted for comment as indicated in the article

    • will wipperdink

      I wouldn’t anything they say

  • Voter in Franklin Co.

    We have a rain forest with Butterflys and an historic conservatory in the Downtown area at Franklin Park Conservatory. Why cannibalize their audience with another rain forest? How will COSI’s attendance be impacted by a Zoo next door?
    If the bond issue was for all Arts and Cultural organizations I would be all for it. However the Zoo has means of support without additional taxes and we don’t need a downtown zoo.

  • barb

    Thanks Koch Brothers! I will vote yes on anything you are against!

    • nonyabizzz

      that’s why they try to keep all of their donations secret:)

  • Alicia

    Franklin County owns the land, not Delaware, County. Delaware receives no monetary benefits from the zoo. In fact, Land that has been appropriated for zoo use is land that is not available to Delaware county for endeavors that could bring revenue to the county.
    Liberty Township and Concord Township Fire Departments are the ones that respond to any emergencies at the zoo. The trade off is that they can practice drills on zoo property, but they are not reimbursed for those emergency services. Delaware County residents pay taxes for those departments.
    Residents in Southern Delaware must contend with the extra traffic from zoo patrons and their taxes go to repair any country roads traveled by those patrons.

    Although there is a high capita income in some pockets of Delaware County, many residents do not have a high income, and many live farther from the zoo than some Franklin County residents.

  • guesty

    Franklin county residents will foot the bill again for a zoo on the cusp of Delaware county. VOTE no! If all central ohio counties were taxed the millage could be lowered.

  • Carol

    I’m all for anything that Kochs are against.

  • dr marlene

    I’m not for higher taxes, but I am not for anything the Koch brothers are for, because I know it is not for my benefit as a citizen. The fact that I am reading their names here making a political statement feels slimy, icky, scary and makes me feel a panic attack coming on. Keep them out of our business!

  • KingKarl

    I have sent money to several senate campaigns I can not vote in and I will vote no on issue 6. It is time to take the country back.

  • Trekgirl9

    I have been waffling on this issue for weeks. On the one hand, why not a renewal of the existing levy rather than an increase? On the other, to expand at the zoo and bring some exhibits to the Scioto development takes additional money. And Columbus is a vibrant, growing city which benefits from the publicity and tourism to the zoo. Plus, I like to go to the zoo. While waffling, I read about the Koch brother’s campaign funding. Sold! I am voting yes on 6.

  • Dale Harmon

    Jack Hanna is a great showman and spokesperson. However, the zoo now seems more about Zoombezi Bay, the Wilds, Safari Golf, holiday lights, etc. The zoo has won three Edward H. Bean awards for breeding endangered animals. The last was in 1973 before Jungle Jack came to the zoo. For all the expensive new exhibits, the reptile display is a shadow of what it once was. The reptile building was built in 1967 and at one time the Columbus Zoo had more reptiles under one roof than any other zoo in America. I am a resident of Delaware County, so I am not directly affected. However, I am puzzled why a straight renewal of 0.75 mills was not put on the ballot along with a temporary levy for all the expansions which are being promised. Still, anything the Koch brothers are against, tends to cause me to think otherwise. Plus the anti-levy brochure appears to be more dishonest than the pro-levy pitch.

  • JFK

    I can’t believe the propagand against the Koch brothers. I don’t see anyone complaining when Warren Buffet or unions come in and stick their money my state or local business. Why don’t you all do some research, come up with your own opinion, and vote that way? Instead of spreading vile, ignorant misinformation.

    • nonyabizzz

      That’s because they don’t do that. The Koch’s are in everyone’s business.

  • wickedtimelord

    The bill would have resulted in a paltry average increase of $23 per year for homeowners. That’s just about the same as a ticket to the movies and a small popcorn and soda.

  • will wipperdink

    I would rather be in jail with a north Korean leader than one of the two Koch brothers