September 5th, 2016

roldo bartimole squareIt would have been a dramatic page one lead story in the Plain Dealer. ¶But it turned out to be just another piece of corporate propaganda posing as news. ¶The Greater Cleveland Partnership endorsed its Mayor Frank Jackson’s income tax increase. Was anyone surprised? This is prelude to a strong push by the PD for the Jackson tax hike. It was a free page one ad. ¶The story led the PD on Sunday August 28th as if it were a major event.

It would have been had the GCP had NOT endorsed the tax increase. Now that would have been news.

However, finding Joe Roman and his corporate gang in favor of an increased tax on working stiffs hardly seems front page news. The GCP has strong-armed mayors, council member and county council members into huge debt for their desired projects to benefit private interests. We are getting the bills.

Happy Labor Day.

The Greater Cleveland Partnership—made up of the top corporate/legal bosses of the city—NEVER rejects a tax that isn’t aimed at them.

And believe me none are aimed at real wealth.

The list they’ve pushed on the public is long:tThey are the sports sin tax, the arts sin tax, the hike in the sales tax for the convention center, the so-called medical mart and the 600-room money-draining county-owned hotel. Not to mention the new County headquarter building. As Jackson said they’ve given billions of dollars.

The list is long. The reminders to voters mostly absent. The PD never does the simple job of adding up the subsidies.

And we are awaiting the possibility for the tax for a new “justice” center.

It’s no big secret that the GCP agenda keeps taxpayers in debt. The GCP backs Jackson’s tax to the hilt since he’s done their bidding for a decade and more.

A report this past week from the County should be a dire warning.

The warning should have merited dark page one headlines: Cuyahoga County is $1 billion in debt. To be exact, $1,082,395,000.

This didn’t make Page One headlines. Why? Because the Plain Dealer has begun to sell Mayor Frank Jackson’s payroll tax increase from 2 to 2.5 percent, a 25 percent hike. On the first dollar you make.

“Cuyahoga County currently has a $1 billion in debt outstanding,” says a new report by William Tarter, for Cuyahoga County. He’s with Community Solutions describing itself as a non-profit, non-partisan local think tank.

This debt includes, writes Tarter, more than $330 million in bonds for construction of the Cleveland Convention Center and the Global Center for Health Innovation (med mart). Additionally, bonds were issued for other capital projects, including the Hilton Convention Center and the new Cuyahoga County headquarters.”

He writes: “The County was facing a multi-million operating budget deficit and a considerable amount of debt.”

He quotes from the County Executive (Armond Budish) budget proposal:

I want to be very clear that the biggest problem we inherited is debt and debt service,” noting the county promoted a number of important projects but not paid for with cash but debt.

Now, our credit card is maxed out. The borrowing well is dry. To put it simply, we cannot responsibly borrow money for the foreseeable future.

No kidding.

Budish, according to Tarter’s report of September, 2016, called the debt problem “terrible pressure” on the operating budget.

The County debt per capita is $861.83, according to the report.

The County expects to pay down this debt over the next 20 years. The amount needed to reimburse the debt, the report notes, is expected to be $78,225,333 this year and “then peak in 2020 at close to $100 million”

It won’t be paid off until 2035.

So who put the city and county into this position?

Of course, the people GCP represent – The Elite.

Meanwhile, we have an emergency at the Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority (RTA), which also faces fiscal problems. It has raised rates and cut services but still needs revenue before more stringent decisions are made.

There has been a call for an added quarter percent for the sales tax in the county. Cuyahoga County already has the highest sales tax at 8 percent, once again a highly regressive tax. The only resource that should be tapped for added revenue for mass transit is the State of Ohio, negligent in the extreme on this issue.

There’s danger in failing to oppose regressive taxes and allowing GCP to dictate the form of taxation without considering new taxes that weigh more heavily on corporate interests.
Taxes on some groceries are next in line.

It’s an absolute necessity to change course.

By Roldo Bartimole…


  1. Garry Kanter says:

    Anyone—not this column—describing Cuyahoga County as being run by The Democrats is badly mistaken.

    The GCP is the local chapter of the business and Republican friendly US Chamber of Commerce.
    Joe Roman is a national officer.

    That’s your 1%-ers. Not a Progressive in the bunch.

    Budish and his ilk would be Republicans in any other city in America. But in monopoly political party Cuyahoga County, they are “Democrats.”

    And the whole lot of ’em won’t stop taking everything until everything has been taken.

    Unless we start running candidates that can win, nothing will change.

    $50 MILLION in bonds were borrowed for demolitions, as per Jim Rokakis, the WRLC, and the Land Bank.

Leave a Reply

To prove you're a person (not a spam script), type the security word shown in the picture. Click on the picture to hear an audio file of the word.
Anti-spam image