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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