Created on Friday, 13 September 2013 Written by THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
CINCINNATI (AP) — Officials in Cincinnati are buzzing about a state denial of tax credits to a romantic accessories business planning to move its headquarters downtown.
Pure Romance has more than $100 million a year in revenues, selling sex toys, lotions, beauty products and other items. It was ready to move 60 jobs from suburban Loveland with plans to add another 60.
The company and local officials say they were told via local representatives for JobsOhio, the state's privatized job-creation agency, that the state was willing to provide a tax credit of some $100,000, added to $353,000 in city incentives. But then Pure Romance was informed there would be no state tax credit.
"The city thought all systems were go; the chamber of commerce thought it was a go .... and then the rug was pulled out from under them," said state Sen. Eric Kearney, D-Cincinnati.
The director of the Ohio Development Services Agency, David Goodman, said he denied the credits for Pure Romance after a review, saying it's not among industries targeted for state investment such as biotech, logistics and energy, The Cincinnati Enquirer (http://cin.ci/15YPMzm ) reported.
"JobsOhio is the outreach and they make suggestions, but ultimately the decision is mine," Goodman told the newspaper. "I didn't think it was a wise investment of state dollars. It's not part of the targeted industries that JobsOhio typically invests in."
Pure Romance CEO Chris Cicchinelli said the business, which sells products through sales consultants who hold in-home gatherings, plays an important role in helping marriages.
"We know when communication breaks down in the bedroom, communication breaks down in the complete relationship," Cicchinelli said. He said the business also helps women learn about sexual health issues, such as dealing with effects of cancer treatment.
The city council took a vote urging the state to reconsider, and both Cincinnati mayoral candidates support incentives for Pure Romance.
"This is a fast-growing company, and we should give them the same treatment we'd give any company," said John Cranley, a former councilman.
"I think it was prudish decision," Roxanne Qualls, the current vice mayor, said of the denial of state tax credits.
Meanwhile, Cicchinelli said he will meet next week with officials in Covington, Ky., just across the Ohio River, and also has had interest from other states about attracting the business.