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Economy and Business

Outside interests are opposing tomorrow's Cuyahoga sin tax vote
Opponents say team owners should pay for stadium and arena upkeep, supporters say cigarette and alcohol tax must stay

Kevin Niedermier
Joe Roman says the renewal of the tax is good for Cuyahoga County.
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Cuyahoga County voters decide tomorrow if they want to extend their sin tax for another 20 years.

The revenues pay the city and county’s share of upkeep on the professional sports facilities leased to the Browns, Indians and Cavaliers.

Issue 7 opponents say the wealthy team owners should pay for upkeep.  But Joe Roman of the Greater Cleveland Partnership says the tax on alcohol and cigarettes helps keep the teams in town, and that helps the economy.  And, he says voters need to filter out anti-sin tax messages supported by outside groups like tobacco company Phillip Morris.

LISTEN: Roman on the tax

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“There are other issue these national and non-Cuyahoga County Ohio folks care about, and it has nothing to do with what’s right for Cuyahoga County.
"We have industries concerned that taxes might spread to other counties. And the people who are really supportive of Issue 7 are Cuyahoga County people trying to convince Cuyahoga County people why it’s good for us.”

Consumer advocate Ralph Nader also has bashed Issue 7, calling it a tax grab by wealthy team owners.  Unions, including Cleveland’s Fraternal Order of Police, support the tax. The F-O-P says if it fails, the city would have to pay for stadium maintenance with general-fund money, and that could mean fewer police on the streets.

The tax adds four-and-a-half cents to a pack of cigarettes, and a cent and a half to a 12-ounce beer.


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