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Unlikely allies in the Columbus Zoo levy defeat

Yard sign opposing a permanent, 1.25-mill property tax levy for the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium.
Yard sign opposing a permanent, 1.25-mill property tax levy for the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium.
Rubén Castilla Herrera

Franklin County voters overwhelmingly rejected Issue 6 yesterday, a permanent 1.25-mill property tax to support the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium. The Columbus Dispatch gives much of the credit for the defeat to Americans for Prosperity, a conservative anti-tax organization supported by billionaires Charles and David Koch.

But there was also plenty of opposition to the levy on the left and center of the political spectrum, from voters who normally would not agree with the Koch brothers about anything. A major issue of concern was the levy's impact on working class homeowners who cannot afford the tax increase and are not in a position to benefit from the zoo's planned expansion.

"Columbus voters again showed their independence of thought and willingness to say 'no' to another bad levy proposal," said Columbus Compact president Jonathan Beard. "We do not believe they have our best interests consistently in mind. This should be a wake up call to our community's business and political elite — they are not on the same page as ordinary citizens, and we are now empowered to say no."

Beard's interview with Ann Fisher on WOSU's talk show All Sides will be re-broadcast this evening at 7 p.m. on 89.7 FM.