October 11th, 2016

If Clevelanders vote to increase the income (payroll) tax two things will happen that won’t be very helpful to the city. In my opinion anyway.

The ballot issue asks for a 25 percent increase in the 2 percent regressive payroll tax. Much too much. That means 2.25 percent of your first earned dollar—and every one after—goes to the city.

What does it say to us or me at least?

First, it will encourage Mayor Frank Jackson to run for re-election next year. Why not? The coffers will be full for spending—full speed ahead.

It would be an unprecedented fourth four-year term for Jackson. It would make him—a sleepy, sloppy city leader—the longest serving in the city’s history. Four more years of caretaker government.

What a vacancy of leadership we are experiencing.

Second, it will serve to grease the skids for East Cleveland to join Cleveland.

This will be done with little proper examination by anyone.

The city of Cleveland should not have to absorb all of E. Cleveland without some compensation. East Cleveland certainly doesn’t have it. Only the State of Ohio has the resources to rescue of a city out of fiscal control. One proposal suggested a $10 million grant by the state. This would be inadequate.

It’s not clear also that Cleveland should take all of E. Cleveland and all its problems itself.
Likely, Mayor Jackson and the essentially AWOL city council will bend like those palms did for Hurricane Mathew when the corporates—Greater Cleveland Partnership and the media—Plain Dealer editorially—push to deliver the vote. They will use the scariest tactics possible. There will be support by mayoral hopefuls Zach Reed and Jeff Johnson. You can bet on it.

All in on the crime.

YOU MUST DO THIS, will be the cry, OR FACE HELL.

If it’s to happen, E. Cleveland has to be broken up with different Cleveland city wards taking parts and possibly even Cleveland Heights taking a part of its adjacent suburb.

This could ensure a breakup of the present corroded political command in the suburb.

It cannot be allowed to be a separate ward within Cleveland with power exerted by some of the same E. Cleveland politicians.

The demands made recently by East Cleveland officials—that they remain on a payroll, keep certain controls of the present regime, and other aspects of a corroded city operation—can’t be allowed at all. It must be sharply rejected.

However, it suggests how rotten a deal this could be for taxpayers in Cleveland.
That’s why the geography of E. Cleveland has to be broken up.

Its shady city culture must not endure. That can happen only by destroying what now represents its citizens.

There will be heavy political, corporate and media pressure to do the deal. Why? Because some of E. Cleveland offers development opportunities with is location abutting University Circle, which could expand. Money!

It’s noteworthy to point out that former Council President George Forbes, who rarely had a thought that didn’t envision profit, had pushed for a deal several years ago.

The Plain Dealer quoted Forbes saying, “I just think the time is right to have the discussion,” Forbes said. “And it surprised me to discover how many people feel the same way. I see a greater city through this merger. I really do.”

He also must see potential lucrative deals.

Cleveland could offer, as usual, heavy subsidies that wouldn’t be impossible under East Cleveland. This would be the incentive for the usual interests to profit. And the usual citizens will pay.

The 25 percent increase in Cleveland’s tax will be pressed upon voters as so essential that if they turn it down the city will have to cut all kinds of services.

Deep slashes in police protection will be the favored with such fears peddled by the Plain Dealer and TV news, with the help of the GCP and its friends.

It’s a pitch to be ignored.

By voting NO, residents will tell the mayor, city politicians, the PD and corporate overlords to find a more equitable tax. What a rare thought.

This may mean going to the state and asking the legislature to allow a new tax that will hit at wealth, not regressively at low and middle income people. Imagine a fair tax!

It’s the only way to stop the continued gouging of ordinary people with sin taxes, sales taxes and payroll taxes, all regressive, and the continually increasing of payroll taxes, which will spread from Cleveland to its suburbs.

It is way past time for citizens to balk at continued salami slicing of their income with unfair, inequitable taxation.

Only by forcing a crisis in funding will ordinary people tell their elected representatives to stop representing ONLY the wealthy with taxes that don’t bother the rich but fall upon the rest.

Have I said this enough times?

By Roldo Bartimole…

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