Cleveland-area bingo players say no dice on sin tax

by Cleveland Frowns on April 4, 2014

Earlier this week, the Coalition Against the Sin Tax (C.A.S.T.) visted a popular Cleveland-area bingo game to speak with citizens about Issue 7 — the proposed $260+ million Sin Tax on alcohol and cigarettes that Cuyahoga County’s business and political leaders want to take from the County’s residents to give to Cleveland’s pro sports teams for improvements to their facilities. Not surprisingly, the bingo players were none too pleased with the idea of the sports owners reaching back into their kitty.

Unfortunately, there’s far too much doubt as to whether informed opinions of regular Clevelanders will be heard in this low-turnout May election, especially with hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of “Keep Cleveland Strong” propaganda flooding the County like something out of an Orwell novel. And the problems caused by money’s corrupting influence on politics won’t be subsiding anytime soon, with the U.S. Supreme Court having ruled this week that there can be no limit on an individual’s or corporation’s total amount of contribution in any given election — “the latest in a series of decisions that have all but demolished the campaign reforms adopted by Congress beginning 40 years ago in the wake of the Watergate scandal.”

Which makes it especially important for folks to inform themselves and stand up for themselves, including in Cuyahoga County on May 6 by voting no on Issue 7.

—————

Here’s a note by C.A.S.T. Vice Chair Will Tarter containing a clear and concise explanation of why he’s opposed to Issue 7. Also, here’s a link to video of this week’s City Club forum on the Sin Tax; here’s a link to a roundup of media coverage of the forum; and here’s a link to information about tomorrow’s Sin Tax panel hosted by Councilman Matt Zone and the Ward 15 Democratic Club at Our Lady of Mount Carmel at 6928 Detroit Ave. Thanks.

  • Joe Bialek

    This issue is the absurdity of absurdities. Let me get this straight: the
    purpose of the Sin Tax is to gouge those who purchase alcohol and cigarettes
    not because anyone is trying to discourage consumption but rather so the
    County can use that money to pay for sports stadiums that do not produce
    anything but a fleeting moment witnessing the passing of a football, the
    dribbling of a basketball and the throwing of a baseball so that such a minute
    tidbit of diversion can be enjoyed by all. The stupidity of this proposition is
    enough to make your head spin even though the spin doctors advocating
    passage of this nonsense are already doing a pretty good job of hypnotizing
    the voters to actually consider supporting it. At least the Robber Barons
    of the previous centuries provided something tangible such as oil, steel,
    railroads etcetera. These team owners do not even provide one tangible thing
    that could ever be considered with the term “value added.” Almost everyone
    discusses this “enterprise” as though it is the same thing as industry {which
    it is not}. The price of admission is essentially a voluntary tax paid by those
    who can afford it to pay those who don’t need it. If this isn’t a transfer of
    wealth I don’t know what is.

    The real outrage here is the fact that taxes on alcohol and cigarettes will
    not be used to aid in the reduction of addiction {hence the reference to “sin”}
    but rather to stuff the pockets of all three teams who could easily afford to
    pay for the repairs themselves. The vote was rammed through the last time
    {under somewhat suspicious circumstances} and hear we go again. But this
    time…not so fast!!! We the voters of Cuyahoga County are going to fight the
    proponents on this one and we don’t care if the teams up and go somewhere
    else {please see my views on entertainment below} because quite frankly there
    are simply more important things than sports and the unearned money that
    comes with it. Those in public office who are too stupid and lazy to find other
    ways to grow a major American city need to resign and leave their self-seeking
    political ambitions on the scrapheap of history. Don’t ever let it be said that
    this was time when the tide ran out on Cuyahoga County but rather was the
    time when the voters rose up to welcome the rising tide of change and rebuked
    this pathetic paradigm our previous elected leaders embraced.
    Let the battle be joined.

    And now to the real underlying issue at hand:

    One of the most disturbing facts about our capitalist nation is the
    misappropriation of funds directed to the salaries of entertainers.
    Everyone should agree that the value an athlete, movie star, talk-show host,
    team-owner, etcetera brings to the average citizen is very small. Granted,
    they do offer a minuscule of diversion from our daily trials and
    tribulations as did the jesters in the king’s court during the middle ages.
    But to allow these entertainers to horde such great amounts of wealth at the
    expense of more benevolent societal programs is unacceptable.
    They do not provide a product or a service so why are they rewarded as such?

    Our society is also subjected to the “profound wisdom” of these people
    because it equates wealth with influence. Perhaps a solution to this
    problem and a alternative to defeated school levies, crumbling
    infrastructures, as well as all the programs established to help feed,
    clothe and shelter those who cannot help themselves would be to tax this
    undeserved wealth. Entertainers could keep 1% of the gross earnings reaped
    from their endeavor and 99% could be deposited into the public coffers.

    The old ideas of the redistribution of wealth have failed, and it is time to
    adapt to modern-day preferences. People put their money into entertainment
    above everything else; isn’t it time to tap that wealth? Does anyone think
    this will reduce the quality of entertainment? It seems to me that when
    entertainers received less income, the quality was much higher

  • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I1kbBmlAvdI PML

    Holy Smokes – I just saw your tweet on The Big Lead Frownie. That must have been all kinds of awkward.

    http://thebiglead.com/2014/04/04/cleveland-indians-fan-dressed-in-red-face-draws-nasty-stare/

    Any conversation actually happen there? What an embarrassment.

  • Beeej

    Well. Frownie is about to go viral. Who’s got the odds on how soon comments are blocked? Can I be on the list?

    • bupalos

      What’s this refer to?

      • beeej

        One of Frownie’s photos is making its way around the interweb. Check out deadspin or facebook or the link PML put above.

        • beeej

          or Yahoo’s front page.

  • bupalos

    I think the groundwork here is great. GREAT.

    But I still do think that angles that lead to the post like Bialek’s below, or like the one lady carping about how much the players make… these are bad angles and losing angles. The fact that there is a ton of energy and money in football and civic sport generally isn’t some accident of oligarchy or something. This is a universal and permanent thing, with healthy roots and a long history. The top athletes in ancient Greece arguably had more relative power and wealth than athletes today. The point shouldn’t be to denigrate the importance of sports, it should be to try and bring to light the novel and vampiristic deformity that is the civic sports owner, the way this structure of private for profit ownership perverts something that is fundamentally good.

    It should be so easy in Cleveland. I should be hearing the name Model, and terms like extortion and carpet-bagger and ransom 50 times before I hear about a ball player or the right to cheap smokes even once.

    That’s my 3 cents.

    Let me put that another way. We aren’t going to win telling people it’s important that people save 3 cents. It’s conceivable we could win saying WE AREN’T GIVING THESE RAPACIOUS EXTORTIONISTS THAT STEAL OUR TEAMS ANOTHER FUCKING TENTH OF A FRACTION OF A CENT PERIOD END OF STORY.

    • http://www.clevelandfrowns.com/ Cleveland Frowns

      I think this is right on, bup. Thanks.

  • Joe Bialek

    This issue is the absurdity of absurdities. Let me get this straight: the
    purpose of the Sin Tax is to gouge those who purchase alcohol and cigarettes
    not because anyone is trying to discourage consumption but rather so the
    County can use that money to pay for sports stadiums that do not produce
    anything but a fleeting moment witnessing the passing of a football, the
    dribbling of a basketball and the throwing of a baseball so that such a
    minute tidbit of diversion can be enjoyed by all. The stupidity of this
    proposition is enough to make your head spin even though the spin doctors
    advocating passage of this nonsense are already doing a pretty good job of
    hypnotizing the voters to actually consider supporting it. At least the
    Robber Barons of the previous centuries provided something tangible such as
    oil, steel, railroads etcetera. These team owners do not even provide one
    tangible thing that could ever be considered with the term “value added.”
    Almost everyone discusses this “enterprise” as though it is the same thing
    as industry {which it is not}. The price of admission is essentially a
    voluntary tax paid by those who can afford it to pay those who don’t need
    it. If this isn’t a transfer of wealth I don’t know what is.

    The real outrage here is the fact that taxes on alcohol and cigarettes will
    not be used to aid in the reduction of addiction {hence the reference to
    “sin”} but rather to stuff the pockets of all three teams who could easily
    afford to pay for the repairs themselves. The vote was rammed through the
    last time {under somewhat suspicious circumstances} and hear we go again.
    But this time…not so fast!!! We the voters of Cuyahoga County are going to
    fight the proponents on this one and we don’t care if the teams up and go
    somewhere else {please see my views on entertainment below} because quite
    frankly there are simply more important things than sports and the unearned
    money that comes with it. Those in public office who are too stupid and lazy
    to find other ways to grow a major American city need to resign and leave
    their self-seeking political ambitions on the scrapheap of history. Don’t
    ever let it be said that this was time when the tide ran out on Cuyahoga
    County but rather was the time when the voters rose up to welcome the rising
    tide of change and rebuked this pathetic paradigm our previous elected
    leaders embraced. Let the battle be joined.

    And now to the real underlying issue at hand:

    One of the most disturbing facts about our capitalist nation is the
    misappropriation of funds directed to the salaries of entertainers. Everyone
    should agree that the value an athlete, movie star, talk-show host,
    team-owner, etcetera brings to the average citizen is very small. Granted,
    they do offer a minuscule of diversion from our daily trials and
    tribulations as did the jesters in the king’s court during the middle ages.
    But to allow these entertainers to horde such great amounts of wealth at the
    expense of more benevolent societal programs is unacceptable. They do not
    provide a product or a service so why are they rewarded as such?

    Our society is also subjected to the “profound wisdom” of these people
    because it equates wealth with influence. Perhaps a solution to this problem
    and a alternative to defeated school levies, crumbling infrastructures, as
    well as all the programs established to help feed, clothe and shelter those
    who cannot help themselves would be to tax this undeserved wealth.
    Entertainers could keep 1% of the gross earnings reaped from their endeavor
    and 99% could be deposited into the public coffers.

    The old ideas of the redistribution of wealth have failed, and it is time to
    adapt to modern-day preferences. People put their money into entertainment
    above everything else; isn’t it time to tap that wealth? Does anyone think
    this will reduce the quality of entertainment? It seems to me that when
    entertainers received less income, the quality was much higher.

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