Brewing Nationwide Trouble

The Columbus Blue Jackets may have just had their best season ever on the ice, but the hockey team is still having trouble with voters in the Ohio city where it plays.

The Blue Jackets, which are reportedly hemorrhaging money, want the county to take over the Nationwide Arena where it plays, with team owners suggesting a beer, wine, liquor and cigarette tax as a way for the county to underwrite the deal. The increases would raise an estimated $65 million per year, which would help offset team losses and help the county pay for a bond sale to buy the arena.

Local voters have repeatedly rejected public financing for the arena, built by Nationwide Mutual Insurance Co.

Meanwhile, Anheuser-Busch, which has a brewery in Columbus, opposes the tax hike. Anheuser-Busch President David Peacock flew to Columbus May 28 to meet with Gov. Ted Strickland and legislative leaders.