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Economy and Business

Cuyahoga Council votes unanimously to put the sin tax on the May ballot
Support ranges from fervent to "let the people decide."

Web Editor
M.L. Schultze
Ed FitzGerald says the tax was always about downtown and has fulfilled much of its original commitment.
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In The Region:

Cuyahoga County voters will decide in May whether to extend the tax on alcohol and cigarettes for another 20 years. And despite an overwhelming vote by Cuyahoga County Council Tuesday to put it on the ballot, debate is likely to continue over the details of how the money will be spent. WKSU’s M.L. Schultze has more.

LISTEN: Unanimous vote for the sin tax

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Council voted unanimously  to put the tax-extension on the ballot to fund upgrades for Cleveland’s three pro-sports facilities.

The vote followed passionate arguments on both sides by the public: That the tax is a public handout for billionaires; that pro-sports teams are the lifeblood of downtown’s rebirth; that the owners of the Cleveland Browns, Indians and Cavs need to be more transparent; that the owners of the Cleveland Browns, Indians and Cavs have been good partners with the community.


For the first time, County Executive and gubernatorial candidate Ed FitzGerald weighed in – on the side of extending the tax.

“I know that it is very tempting for people to say, 'Tell these owners to go to hell." There’s many a Sunday afternoon when I have thought that. The problem is they will go to hell of Texas or Los Angles. That’s not really a solution. It may make us feel good. What I want to know is, how do we come out of this with something … where we can define to the public how we’re going to benefit the community.”


FitzGerald and many of the county council members indicated that may include a direct commitment of jobs and construction contracts to county and city residents.



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