The Cleveland area is going through another round of wealthy sports owners putting the squeeze on residents to enrich themselves. To recap, a couple of decades ago the county passed taxes to pay for building three major sports stadiums downtown for baseball, basketball, and football. Of course, while people paid for the stadiums with their taxes, team owners were the ones who reaped the benefits.
This sin tax was originally passed in 1990 and renewed in 1995 and levies a tax on wine, beer, and cigarettes. The city was promised huge returns in the form of jobs, increased traffic for local hotels and restaurants and other businesses, and thus enhanced tax revenues but this is an old scam and the benefits were nowhere near what was promised.
Now the team owners are back and say that the sin tax needs to be renewed in order to make further improvements, such as a fancy new scoreboard for the football stadium, and the issue is on the ballot on May 6.
Since I don’t purchase any of those things and have only been to the baseball stadium and basketball stadium once each, I have no personal stake in this issue. But I am opposed to it because while I am willing, even eager, to pay more taxes to support the real needs of the people in this community, such as supporting social services and repairing the crumbling infrastructure, the idea of using limited tax revenues to enrich wealthy team owners and provide a marginally better experience for sports fans seems to me to be utterly wrong.
So I will vote no on Issue 7.