CLEVELAND - The campaign to renew a crucial levy to keep the Cleveland schools transformation plan going, is now running TV spots and reaching out to voters citywide.
But the campaign for a proposal to increase the city's income tax from 2% to 2 1/2% has not been so visible.
Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson sat down with Senior Political Correspondent Tom Beres to discuss the financial realities and promised improvements if it passes, and severe cuts if it loses.
This would be the first income tax hike in 35 years.
Mayor Jackson and his financial team managed to keep the budget balanced through the recession.
Even the mayor marvels that the city can be cash crunched with new downtown development and jobs.
But the loss of about $150 million dollars in state funding from a reduction in the local government fund, elimination of the estate tax, and other cuts over five years, have the city with its back to the wall.
If the tax passes it would bring in $84 million next year. About half of that would go to fill a projected budget hole.
The rest of the money would make improvements in virtually every city department .
It would pay for consent decree costs, hire 63 more police officers next year, pay for a sweeping violence prevention programs, hire more building inspectors, and additional personnel to upgrade an understaffed lead abatement program.
If it's defeated there would be massive cuts, including hundreds of layoff and program reductions. Some programs would be eliminated.
It would mean slower emergency response times.
If it's defeated , it would be a setback on Cleveland's comeback ride.
The business community through the Greater Cleveland Partnership backs the hike.
But Mayor Jackson admits the campaign could use more resources.
His wide-ranging interview is attached in two segments.