CCA already pays its fair share

CCA already pays its fair share

I am writing to provide need- ed context to The Vindicator’s June 7 editorial regarding Corrections Corporation of America and our relationship with the city of Youngstown.

CCA has owned the Northeast Ohio Correctional Center (NOCC) since 1997, and we are proud of the partnership our company has with the community. The facility employs over 400 full-time employees, works with many local suppliers and pays annual property taxes of $1.7 million.

Additionally, according to independent analysis, the operation of NOCC generates over $800,000 in revenue directly for the city of Youngtown, while necessitating expenses of only about $125,000. Simply put, for every dollar the city spends as a result of the operation of NOCC, it receives $6.64 in revenue. Those funds can be used for police, schools and other important local services.

For this reason, we believe the $1 per inmate tax imposed by the city council is not only invalid but unwarranted, and we are pursuing the same due process rights that are afforded to all individuals and businesses. Our company believes we have a compelling case to make, but we have not yet been given the opportunity to present it.

CCA is the only company in the Mahoning Valley that is required to reimburse the city, dollar for dollar, for any police and fire costs incurred as a result of an incident that arises at the facility. To tax CCA beyond both these reimbursable expenses and the revenues already paid by the company is particularly unreasonable. Further, the proposed tax is being applied solely to CCA and is not being sought from any other business in the city.

When Mahoning County had a contract to house federal prisoners, the federal government — not CCA — paid the $3 per inmate fee to the county, which covered administrative work and some additional costs.

The facts clearly demonstrate that the funds already paid by CCA far exceed any financial impact NOCC has on the community. We are appreciative of the many collaborative relationships we have with local leaders and look forward to years of continued partnership in Youngstown.

Steven Owen, Nashville, Tenn.

The writer is senior director of public affairs for Corrections Corporation of America.