Koch Brothers Mailer Has Zoo Supporters Roaring Mad

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UPDATED: Tuesday April 29, 2014 10:14 AM

With a week to go until primary election day, a mailer paid for by Ohio's chapter of Americans For Prosperity - a conservative group funded by Charles and David Koch - has Columbus Zoo supporters taking to the TV airwaves to strike back.

"I got this flier from a special interest group in Washington, DC, telling me how to vote on Issue 6," the commercial begins.  "Don't believe the lies of special interest groups."

The double-sided flier mentions four times that property taxes will rise 105 percent if Issue 6 passes.

"Issue 6 increases property taxes for Franklin County residents by 105%," the flyer reads, "hurting the disabled and elderly who own their homes but live on fixed incomes."

"This is the most astounding exaggeration I've seen in politics," said John Kulewicz, co-chairman of the Zoo Levy campaign.  "They are filling our mailboxes in Franklin County with a mailer that would make the most clever bonobo at the Columbus Zoo blush."

Kulewicz, who is leading the pro-zoo tax effort, says the flier is blatantly false.

"Our new friend from Arlington, Virginia, is coming into town and telling us your entire property tax bill is going to double," said Kulewicz.  "Nothing could be further from the truth."

In fact, the entire property tax bill does not double – rising only $23 per year on a $100,000 home.

"The increase is not on your total property tax bill," said Robert Alt, president of the conservative Buckeye Institute.

Alt says the Americans For Prosperity mailer has become a distraction for zoo tax opponents.

"It's a distraction from a series of important questions," said Alt.  "Not only is it a massive increase in the levy but we're making it a continuing levy. This goes ahead and increases the tax and they never have to come back to come back to taxpayers for permission again.”

A spokesman for Americans For Prosperity in Ohio told 10TV that they are sticking with their numbers and there could be more literature mailed to voters this week.

"We believe the math is accurate," said Eli Miller, Ohio director of Americans for Prosperity. "We plan to educate voters in Franklin County about the zoo and Issue 6.  There is nothing we won't do.”

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