New Campaign Push for Sin Tax Renewal
CLEVELAND– Cleveland city and community leaders are now launching a new campaign, urging voters to approve a 20-year renewal of the county-wide sin tax for capital improvements to all three sports facilities.
Consumers already pay about two cents on a bottle of beer, a penny extra for a glass of wine and four cents on a pack of cigarettes.
The renewal of the sin tax is not an increase, but an extension to continue to fund upgrades for Cleveland’s three publicly owned major league venues: FirstEnergy Stadium, Quicken Loans Arena, and Progressive Field.
Dave Gilbert with Positively Cleveland and the head of the Cleveland Sports Commission said, “Those facilities host over 300 events a year. This is more than just the teams that play there; these are all different events, 4-million visitors a year.”
And that is why community and city leaders gathered downtown for a news conference on Tuesday, launching a new campaign to keep Cleveland strong, urging Cleveland residents to vote “yes” for the renewal of the sin tax.
City Councilman Kevin Kelley said, “It’s not the team owners that are benefitting from this; the owners of the facilities are the City of Cleveland, Gateway, who’s representative of the county and the City of Cleveland.”
But not everyone is playing on the same team.
Cleveland City Councilman Brian Cummins is anti-sin tax and has been very outspoken about his stance.
Cummins sayid “I’m against it right now, hopefully for a very brief period. Until I can confirm what is going on with the debt payments. I think the city residents have a right to know where is the city with regards to the negotiations with the teams, with regards to the promotion of a sin tax.”
While the City of Cleveland does have the option of using the sin tax for upgrades and general debt at FirstEnergy Stadium, county leaders said the tax would only be used for the refurbishing of both the Cavaliers’ and Indians’ venues.