Taxpayers to pay smaller share of convention costs

No matter which cities win the 2016 Republican and Democratic conventions, taxpayers will be paying a smaller share of the bill than in years past.

Taxpayers paid a little more than $18 million to each political party to host their 2012 conventions. That money came from the box checked by taxpayers on their federal forms.

In addition to helping cover convention costs, the federal government also kicked in $50 million for each convention's security expenses. That will continue in 2016.

But under a bill passed by Congress and signed by the president since the last convention, taxpayers won't be paying basic convention costs in 2016.

The decision was made in this era of cost-cutting because conventions have long since become scripted pomp and circumstance instead of decision-making events.

That means parties will have to find other funding sources.

The host city's contribution remains a big component.

Cleveland's financial plan for the conventions has a target of raising $50 million, half public money, half private.

It's closing in on $30 million of that goal two years out. It's believed its financing package is bettered only by Dallas' in the four-city GOP convention competition.

The state of Ohio is kicking in at least $10 million, and Cleveland and Cuyahoga County are committing $5 million, including services and funding.

The Republicans hope to announce a done deal with their chosen convention city on Aug. 8 at their national meeting.


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