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Opponents of Sin Tax Propose Alternative: Adding Facilities Fee on Tickets

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Opponents of renewing the Cuyahoga County sin tax that funds upgrades to Cleveland’s sports stadiums has proposed instead placing an additional fee on games and other events at those facilities. ideastream’s Nick Castele reports.

Friday, April 11, 2014 at 6:08 pm

Sin tax opponent Alan Glazen proposes adding $3.25 onto the price of tickets for events at Progressive Field, Quicken Loans Arena and FirstEnergy Stadium.

He says the facilities fee would be fairer than the tax on alcohol and cigarettes bought in the county by people who may not even go to games and events.

“It’s our view that this is ultimately fair because no matter where you live, whether you pay a sin tax or not, when you come use the venue, you sit in that seat, you pay for a very tiny fee…to maintain our properties.”

A report released by the campaign estimates a facilities fee could raise as much money annually as would the sin tax.

In response, Cleveland City Council President Kevin Kelley says if the sin tax fails on the ballot, he won’t consider the proposed facility fee. He says adding a fee on top of the city’s eight percent tax on tickets would have “unintended consequences" -- more difficulty landing events.

“What would happen to our ability to market Cleveland as a destination if we added to our 8 percent another $3.25?" Kelley said. "That’s the question that we need to be asking ourselves.”

Kelley says the fee would also discourage people from attending games. Sin tax foes point out The Q already charges a $3 facility fee for concerts and other performances.

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