Cleveland City Council will begin hearings this week on a proposed income-tax increase to head off a projected budget deficit. Council will discuss the measure during meetings tomorrow, Wednesday and Thursday. Mayor Frank Jackson says if the income tax is not increased from 2 percent to 2.5 percent, mass layoffs and service cuts will be necessary next year.
Cleveland officials blame the looming deficit on state funding cuts and smaller tax revenues. Council President Kevin Kelley says there is no question the city needs to find extra money to prevent the cuts. And council will begin reviewing the Jackson administration’s proposal on how the extra $83 million a year would be spent.
“What would a tax increase purchase in terms of services and personnel, whether it’s additional police officers, whether it’s additional snow plowing, street sweeping, garbage collection? Wherever it is, those are the questions we need to have answered.”
Council could vote later this month on whether or not to put the increase on the ballot. If approved, the next decision would be whether to put it before voters in November or next March. A Cleveland school levy renewal will be on November’s ballot.