The Sin Tax Renewal Vote – From the View of an Outsider

I don’t live in Cuyahoga County anymore.

Now, when it comes to the issue of the renewal of the sin tax that has been in place to build Quicken Loans Arena, Progessive Field and FirstEnergy Stadium, I kind of don’t have a horse in this race. After all, I don’t smoke and if I wanted to buy alcohol, I wouldn’t have to travel to Cuyahoga County to get it.

At the same time, how many people in Cuyahoga County regularly visit any of those three venues? Judging by attendance at Cavs and Indians games, not many. And in all three cases, most of those visitors are people like me who live outside the county.

Supporters of this measure are bending over backwards trying to scare the living crap out of people to get them to vote for this thing. Their television ads seem like less of a political statement and more of an example of black-hat search engine optimization, saying the word jobs so many times that it sounds like that ridiculous Versace song.

Their argument rings hollow. Pass or fail, it won’t stop people from going (or not going) to games. The jobs spawned from event attendance, like at restaurants, gift shops and the like, are here to stay. And none of these teams are moving anywhere, thanks to the ironclad leases they have with the city of Cleveland that will require them to shell out an arm and a leg to leave.

I don’t need to tell you this, my brethren from Cuyahoga County. Well, I shouldn’t have to, at least. Of course, I keep having to remind you that about 100,000 of you did blindly vote for a convicted felon to be your judge a few years back, so you can thank those folks bereft of any kind of attention span for this.

There are plenty of alternatives to funding improvements, including the ticket fee alternative proposed by the issue’s opponents. Sure, as a non-county resident, I could take umbrage with that, but seriously, it’s $3.25. Like that’s going to keep me or anyone from going to the ballpark.

But what do I know? I’m the guy who’d benefit the most for having this sin tax renewed, because I wouldn’t be the one shouldering the burden while having the ability to enjoy the facilities.


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