FitzGerald proposes ‘Win Tax’ bonuses for Cleveland sports teams

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CLEVELAND, Ohio — Cuyahoga County Executive Ed FitzGerald today proposed a “Win Tax” bonus for sports teams in Cleveland.

FitzGerald said he will submit legislation to County Council that would reserve 20 percent of the county’s future sin tax revenue for stadium maintenance and distribute it between the Browns, Cavs and Indians based on their success each year.

“Cleveland’s pro sports franchises are part of our identity and civic pride, and they serve as a rallying point for men and women of all ages and backgrounds,” said FitzGerald. “When voters approved Issue 7 last month, their minds committed to support world-class facilities, and their heart hoped for Cleveland to be a championship city once again. The proposal I am announcing today is intended to operationalize the intent of Cuyahoga County residents and reward our local franchises for fielding competitive teams each year.”

The sin tax extension takes effect next year. Under his proposal, FitzGerald said 80 percent of all revenue would go toward repair, maintenance and improvements to the city’s three sports facilities. Then the remaining 20 percent would be reserved for performance bonuses presented to the team or teams that perform well each year.

To determine standards for the “Win Tax” bonuses, FitzGerald proposed that the county establishes a Fan Advisory Network consisting of seven Cleveland sports fans who live in Cuyahoga County.

“The FAN will establish criteria for rewarding good performance and have the ability to make recommendations on allocating funding based on win percentage, conference standing, or other metrics,” FitzGerald said in a release.

FitzGerald said the “Win Tax” bonus is “designed to reward the organizations who commit themselves to giving fans a winning team and generating economic benefits for the Northeast Ohio economy.” It would make more than $50 million available for justified capital improvements.

“Cleveland’s sports fans wear their hearts on their sleeves every year, and they deserve to know that their tax dollars are being spent in a transparent and accountable way to support our professional sports franchises,” said FitzGerald. “I am hopeful that my administration can work with County Council to get the job done for all of Greater Cleveland.”