What happens if sin tax fails?

CLEVELAND -- Backers of Issue 7, the proposal to renew the sin tax to cover the costs of stadium repairs, are saying that if the tax fails, the budgets of Cleveland and Cuyahoga County will take a hit.

By lease, the city and county are on the hook for stadium repair costs.

But if the tax fails on May 6, there won't be budget cuts on May 7.

That's because the present sin tax will not expire until July 2015.

And the issue could come back before voters in November and, less likely, in a special election next May.

Cleveland Council President Kevin Kelley has become one of the foremost public faces and voices for Issue 7.

He says this about the long-term financial health of Cleveland:

"Any funds would come out of the general fund, which will be the same fund that pays for police , firefighters, EMS, the parks our children play in, the trucks that plow the snow and the trucks that fill potholes."

He hypothesizes that the sin tax evenly split between facilities would mean $4 million per year for Cleveland. That's enough to hire 40 police officers or up to 80 service workers.

But he admits there are no specific contingency Plan B's. Specifying where the cuts would hit has not yet been determined.


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