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Economy and Business

Cuyahoga voters decide tomorrow if the stadium sin tax should be extended
The tax funds upkeep that opponents say team owners should pay for

Kevin Niedermier
Issue 7 would renew a tax on cigarettes and alcohol for 20 more years.
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In The Region:

Cuyahoga County voters will decide tomorrow if they want to keep a sin tax on the books to pay for upkeep on Cleveland’s pro-sports facilities. The tobacco and alcohol tax expires next year, but Issue 7 would extend it for 20 more years. WKSU’s Kevin Niedermier reports on the debate over the issue.


LISTEN: Sin tax debate

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The Browns, Indians and Cavaliers lease their facilities from the city and county-administered Gateway Economic Development Corporation. The sin tax funds the local government’s contractual obligation with the owners to pay for repairs and some improvements.

Supporters say the tax keeps the teams in town, and that helps the economy. Opponents say the wealthy team owners should pay for upkeep. Peter Pattakos heads the Coalition Against the Sin Tax. He talks about the grassroots effort of yard signs and issue debates.

“We think that when the average person gets the real story about this issue, they tend to oppose it. So, it’s less about swaying people than about educating them about the truth about this issue.”

Pattakos’ group has proposed switching the sin tax with a ticket surcharge. Sin tax supporters say that would price some fans out of a ticket.

If Issue 7  fails, the funding may have to come from the city and county’s general funds.

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