CLEVELAND -- Surprisingly,Congresswoman Marcia Fudge said no one had asked her opinion on the sin tax until WKYC's Tom Beres posed the question.
And what she had to say will no doubt have key supporters of the tax extension scrambling to change the influential officeholder's mind..
She said she was still debating.
But her requirements indicate that, if she voted today, the answer would be "No."
"I understand the need for the sin tax. But we have done more than our share as taxpayers to take care of our sports teams. I would probably support it if they would say to me young people would get something out of this or we're going to put programs in place for neighborhoods so that there would be some benefits for the people who are going to shoulder the burden.....If it's not part of the deal, I'm probably not going to support a tax," she said.
Issue 7 on the Cuyahoga County ballot would continue the present tax on cigarettes and alcohol 20 more years. The money would be used for repairs and enhancements on publicly-owned Quicken Loans Arena, Progressive Field and FirstEnergy Stadium.
The city and county are obligated by leases to cover much of those costs and would have to make cuts or find other funding sources when the tax runs out next year.
Backers claim it's a working partnership that resulted in bringing events, visitor and dollars to pump new life into downtown.
Lakewood Mayor Michael Summers joined other elected officials in declaring they will vote yes.
"We built these buildings. We have to maintain them. To walk away from them makes no sense and defies our obligation to the taxpayers who built them. They are our buildings and we have to take care of them," he said, in a press release.
He joins mayors of Cleveland, Broadview Heights, Cuyahoga Heights, Parma Heights, Glenwillow, Garfield Heights , Parma, Olmsted Falls, Beachwood, Oakwood, Walton Hills and Bedford backing the issue.