Sin Tax Push: Cleveland Sports Teams Speak Up

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CLEVELAND, Ohio-- Representatives from the Browns, Indians, and Cavaliers took to the Cuyahoga County Council board room Tuesday afternoon to petition members in hopes to renew the county-wide sin tax for another 20 years.

The sin tax is an added tax on alcohol and cigarettes throughout the county.

While the vote is still a week away, the standing-room only crowd in attendance heard from all three professional sports teams along with officials from the Gateway Economic Corp., who oversees the property at Quicken Loans Arena and Progressive Field.

"This is more about scoreboards," said Joe Roman, CEO of the Greater Cleveland  Partnership Group. "This is an important, bold step. We've made an investment to be competitive. We need to keep it going."

The meeting opened up with public comments on the controversial issue. Each person had three minutes to address the topic.

"Why when a billionaire wants to save a nickel, the little guy has to come up with it?" said Tim Russo, sporting a Bernie Kosar jersey and Indians cap.

According to council records, the sin tax raised roughly $300 million from 1990 to 2012.

The council members will have further discussion Tuesday night before ultimately voting on the measure on January 28.

Eight of the 11 panel members must approve it to have on the May ballot.

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7 comments

  • Sharon

    Of course we missed the money! The smokers were taxed to death and not
    allowed to smoke at the venues they supported. Does that make sence?
    In order to be fair and non discriminatory, the SIN tax needs to be
    mandated to common use items like paper towels, soft drinks, toilet paper.
    Lets be smart about it generate additional revenue, and tax the masses.

  • RealityCheck

    I fail to recognize why the public needs to pay for all this.. have we not bought tickets, been forced to pay obscene prices for food/beverage at these games, and bought their merchandise at stores? How does an owner of such a stadium make so much money off of it, but then say they need these taxes to continue improvements? I would like to see Sherwin Williams, Eaton, or even Hallmark do that. The public would be up in arms. They provide far more jobs and benefits in the area than our pathetic sports teams (how many years and still losing teams?).

    Want to buy a scoreboard/improve your stadium in the upcoming years? Budget for it. Its not like the stadium was built by the tax payers FOR the team/owners or anything. Stop money grubbing, leverage your income, and run a business LIKE a business, not a federal welfare program.

  • Jeremy

    Tell them to give us a winning team and if your team makes it to the playoffs you get 60 percent if they win a championship you get your 100 percent of the sin tax set aside. We need to make these teams more accountable for how they spend our money if they are not producing.

  • D.

    Why should the taxpayers pay for anything? Cleveland has had losing sports teams for the last 50 yrs. Time to say NO!

    If the teams can win for a few years, then maybe the taxpayers will reconsider. Until then, why throw good money after bad?

  • ZapTheSheep

    Does having the Browns, Cavaliers, or Indians in this town bring any one any pride? Heck no! I wish they would leave and let us put tax dollars towards things that really matter.

  • paul

    I don’t smoke, or drink, so this really doesn’t affect me. But what would happen if they say let’s s add makeup that woman wear, and chewing gum. Does that make since? No it doesn’t, so why tax those who enjoy there habits. It’s not right.

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