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In Final Days Before Vote, Backers And Foes Keep Clashing Over Sin Tax Extension

Wednesday, April 30, 2014 at 4:39 PM

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First Energy Stadium, Progressive Field, and The Q (pics: Brian Bull, Andrew Samtoy)

The “sin tax” is probably the most hotly contested issue in the May 6th election and sparks continued to fly today. ideastream’s Brian Bull reports…

Supporters of continuation of a Cuyahoga County tax on alcohol and cigarettes filed a complaint with the state Elections Commission. 

This portion of the sales tax pays for maintenance of Cleveland’s pro sports team arenas.  The complaint alleges that a recent TV ad by tax opponents gives the impression that $13 million collected would go to team owners.

Tax supporters call that inaccurate and dishonest. 

Cleveland City Council President Kevin Kelley made a similar point in an appearance on WCPN’s “Sound of Ideas” talk show.  And he reiterated the case that the passing the tax is more of an obligation than a choice. 

“The leases expire in 2023, ‘25, and ‘29.  So we’re not at a point where we’re renegotiating,” said Kelley. “Regardless of what happens after that lease, we will still own these facilities and we can’t let them decay….we’re going to have an obligation to maintain them.”

Peter Patakos, an attorney and member of one of the two groups opposing the sin tax, argues that defeat of the tax will give officials leverage with team owners to renegotiate stadium care.

“So what we actually have here is as good as opportunity as there could be to ask these owners to renegotiate and restructure these deals.  That opportunity will have been squandered if we approve Issue 7. There is still time.”

You can hear the full debate at the link below.

Additional Information

The Sound of Ideas: Is the Sin Tax a Home Run?

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