Ohio agency denies Pure Romance tax credits

CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19) - A popular romantic accessory business is looking to re-locate from its headquarters in Loveland to downtown Cincinnati, but now the state of Ohio has other ideas.

The Ohio Development Services Agency has denied Pure Romance tax credits after a review. Pure Romance says the move would bring nearly 120 new jobs to the Cincinnati area at an average salary of $65,000.

Pure Romance and others in support of the move say this would be great for the local economy by bringing these jobs to Cincinnati. On the flip side, the state says Pure Romance isn't the type of industry that JobsOhio typically invests in.

It's a company that started in the basement of one local woman's home, and now the products of Pure Romance are selling worldwide. This is one reason the City of Cincinnati is on board with the move.

"Pure Romance is a $100 million plus company, and they have chosen they want to move to the City of Cincinnati. Of course the City of Cincinnati wants that. Frankly, everything is ready for that to happen. The state is botching that they're blowing the deal," said City Councilman P.G. Sittenfeld.

Cincinnati City Council unanimously adopted a resolution to support Pure Romance, and Sittenfeld says he's disappointed in JobsOhio.

"You don't have to work at Pure Romance to know there's nothing sexy about being anti-jobs. It's not their role to sort of have this moralistic, 'well, we're going to make you a winner and you a loser,'" explained Sittenfeld.

The anti-tax group COAST has a different perspective on the issue. Chairman Tom Brinkman says the state government should play no role in giving tax breaks to any company, Pure Romance included.

"Government should not be in that position. They should get out of it and instead of taking our taxpayer dollars and divvying it up the way they want to, they should give us lower taxes and let us keep our money," said Brinkman.

Initially the state agreed to give Pure Romance tax credits of just more than $100,000, but the state later retracted that decision. Now the popular romantic accessory business is looking at other options, including the City of Covington.

"Governor Kasich, maybe he needs to order some Pure Romance products and lighten up or something and not get in our way," said Sittenfeld.

Councilman Sittenfeld and State Representative Denise Driehaus held a press conference on Tuesday urging the State of Ohio to reconsider its decision to deny Pure Romance tax credits to move into the City of Cincinnati.

FOX19 reached out to Governor John Kasich's office for their side of the story. State Representative Margaret Conditt responded saying "I agree with the decision made by the development services agency. It is prudent of them to not use taxpayer money to support a sexually oriented business."

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