Vote ‘No’ on Issue 7

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.


  1. kyoseki says

    Throwing public money at private industry in the name of massively overstated job & revenue creation that utterly fails to materialize?

    That never happens! 🙂

  2. hyphenman says

    Good evening Mano,

    There is no one in Cleveland campaigning harder against Issue No. 7 than Roldo Bartimole.

    Do all you can to make today a good day,


  3. Joe says

    This issue is the absurdity of absurdities. Let me get this straight: the purpose of the Sin Tax is to gouge those who purchase alcohol and cigarettes not because anyone is trying to discourage consumption but rather so the County can use that money to pay for sports stadiums that do not produce anything but a fleeting moment witnessing the passing of a football, the dribbling of a basketball and the throwing of a baseball so that such a minute tidbit of diversion can be enjoyed by all. The stupidity of this proposition is enough to make your head spin even though the spin doctors advocating passage of this nonsense are already doing a pretty good job of hypnotizing the voters to actually consider supporting it. At least the Robber Barons of the previous centuries provided something tangible such as oil, steel, railroads etcetera. These team owners do not even provide one tangible thing that could ever be considered with the term “value added.” Almost everyone discusses this “enterprise” as though it is the same thing as industry {which it is not}. The price of admission is essentially a voluntary tax paid by those who can afford it to pay those who don’t need it. If this isn’t a transfer of wealth I don’t know what is.

    The real outrage here is the fact that taxes on alcohol and cigarettes will not be used to aid in the reduction of addiction {hence the reference to “sin”} but rather to stuff the pockets of all three teams who could easily afford to pay for the repairs themselves. The vote was rammed through the last time {under somewhat suspicious circumstances} and hear we go again. But this time…not so fast!!! We the voters of Cuyahoga County are going to fight the proponents on this one and we don’t care if the teams up and go somewhere else {please see my views on entertainment below} because quite frankly there are simply more important things than sports and the unearned money that comes with it. Those in public office who are too stupid and lazy to find other ways to grow a major American city need to resign and leave their self-seeking political ambitions on the scrapheap of history. Don’t ever let it be said that this was time when the tide ran out on Cuyahoga County but rather was the time when the voters rose up to welcome the rising tide of change and rebuked this pathetic paradigm our previous elected leaders embraced. Let the battle be joined.

    And now to the real underlying issue at hand:

    One of the most disturbing facts about our capitalist nation is the misappropriation of funds directed to the salaries of entertainers. Everyone should agree that the value an athlete, movie star, talk-show host, team-owner, etcetera brings to the average citizen is very small. Granted, they do offer a minuscule of diversion from our daily trials and tribulations as did the jesters in the king’s court during the middle ages. But to allow these entertainers to horde such great amounts of wealth at the expense of more benevolent societal programs is unacceptable. They do not provide a product or a service so why are they rewarded as such?

    Our society is also subjected to the “profound wisdom” of these people because it equates wealth with influence. Perhaps a solution to this problem and a alternative to defeated school levies, crumbling infrastructures, as well as all the programs established to help feed, clothe and shelter those who cannot help themselves would be to tax this undeserved wealth. Entertainers could keep 1% of the gross earnings reaped from their endeavor and 99% could be deposited into the public coffers.

    The old ideas of the redistribution of wealth have failed, and it is time to adapt to modern-day preferences. People put their money into entertainment above everything else; isn’t it time to tap that wealth? Does anyone think this will reduce the quality of entertainment? It seems to me that when entertainers received less income, the quality was much higher.

  4. kyoseki says

    When people will pay to go and see a movie specifically because there’s a particular actor in a starring role, I fail to see how anyone can suggest that these actors are not worth it.

    If Tom Cruise weren’t a guaranteed draw, raising the revenues of any film he stars in, he wouldn’t get paid the sums he does.

    Same applies to athletes, musicians and anyone else who generates far more money than their colossal salaries cost.

    Now, whether these salaries should be supported by taxpayer funded subsidies is another matter entirely.

    If you want an example of the biggest scam currently going, look into film/tv tax “credits”.

  5. Brandon says

    I still think it should be illegal, on a federal level, for pro sports teams to receive any government subsidy whatsoever. While there’s arguably a strong positive cultural value to having sports, these aren’t organizations in any danger of losing money. In fact, they’re able to pay dozens of players millions of dollars, big money for coaches and trainers, and still spin off huge profits for owners. A lack of government subsidies would simply mean somewhat smaller salaries. Tough beans. The secondary benefit to such a ban would be that owners would no longer be able to hold cities hostage by threatening to move to cities that’ll pay them more.

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