Submitted by Roldo on Thu, 11/12/2009 - 14:08.

I haven’t read the 300 page plus consulting report on management and efficiency of Cleveland government and I probably won’t. I leave it to others. I know it won’t touch the one revenue source that Cleveland should tap if it had any concern for its citizens. It is out of the question. Won’t happen.


The so-called city income tax – the city’s largest revenue source by far - is really a payroll tax. It’s a tax on your wage income. It’s a regressive tax that takes from the first dollar someone earns. It’s a tax that hits people so poor that they don’t pay federal income taxes but must pay this tax. The feds at least tax somewhat progressively though the rich still get away with tax robbery.


If we really wanted a fair tax the so-called city income tax would be progressive. In other words, the guy who makes $150 a week would pay far less proportionally than the guy who makes $150 or $500 a day, or more.


It’s an obvious source of more revenue for cities. But it’s ignored. Why? Because wealthy people decide who gets taxed and by how much.


It’s legal theft calculatedly devised by professional hired thugs. Sometimes called lawyers or legislators.


Cleveland residents pay 2 percent on their earnings. If they work outside Cleveland and pay in the work community they may reduce the Cleveland tax by one-half, up to 1 percent. So, in other words, if they work in another city aside Cleveland they pay the 2 percent to the work community but get a half off Cleveland’s 2 percent.


So they pay 3 percent total. Someone who makes a lousy $10,000 has to fork over $300 to the city. That’s a paycheck and a half a week. A lot of money to a low income working stiff.


That’s a lot of money right off the top. No deductions. You pay on dollar number one. The city doesn’t care if you have heavy medical bills or other hefty expenses. Pay up. Now. In fact, before you take your pay home.


So it’s obvious if local government wants to raise revenue it should not go to unnecessary fees - increased sales taxes, catching people on minor traffic infraction and charging $100. THEY SHOULD GO WHERE THE MONEY IS. But they can’t seem to find the path.


Oh, that would be horrible, wouldn’t it? Taxing people with money. Outrageous.


- When the County Commissioners – Tim Hagan, Jimmy Dimora and Peter Lawson Jones (who didn’t vote for it but has gone along, as usual, for the ride) - wanted to raise big money for a medical mart and convention center, they didn’t go where the big money people live, but went to the small money people. They increased the most regressive of taxes - a one-quarter percent sales tax hike. It has raised $74 million as of last month.


It hits the little people hardest. Another quarter-percent to someone making $100,000, or $400,000 as Joe Roman at Greater Cleveland Partnership does, means nothing to them. But the pennies to someone trying to get by, that can add up to pain. Sometimes more pain than they can take.


 - When Cuyahoga County, led by Hagan the Great White Liberal,  wanted to raise funds for Gateway it didn’t go to those who HAVE money but to more sales taxes, so-called sin taxes on beer, cigarettes, wine and alcohol. And most heavily on cigarettes and beer. Plus, they charge sales tax on the sin tax!


 - When the city wanted to build Browns Stadium, Mayor White, the African-American liberal, came up with an 8 percent parking tax, added 2 percent admission tax, increased the tax on car rentals, and best of all, added a 10-year extension of the sin taxes ($58 million collected as of last month).


This is FAR greater a mugging than anything stolen by the political thieves now being pursued by the FBI. I wish they could go after the legal thievery. That’s where the real money is.


But it passes without even a hint that a robbery is in progress.


In fact, the Pee Dee promotes and propagandizes for these taxes without a hesitation or demands for an examination of other ways to pay for these projects. Unfortunately, the Pee Dee is the only major source of information for the public. That’s why it is so central to the ills we see.


So the public is essentially in the dark.

As an example, I wrote in 1995 when Council addressed the football stadium taxes, “The day council debated this issue for seven plus hours NOT ONE SINGLE MEMBER OF THE PUBLIC was present in the room.”


It’s not the first time. We have so little real citizenship here that it is no wonder that government is so bad.


But as usual the people who feed off government were much in attendance. I wrote: “The lineup was impressive. Tony Garofoli of Climaco, Climaco, Seminatore, Leftkowitz, told council what a good deal the legislation was. Garofoli, in this scheme, is the best representative for the city. After all, he had negotiated the Gateway leases at the stadium and the arena, both sweetheart deals for the team owners, and he had negotiated the sweetheart lease for Figgie (Chagrin Highlands), now in court… He’s got the perfect record of selling the citizen interests out.”


Who else was there?


“There was Joe Roman, executive director of Cleveland Tomorrow (now Greater Cleveland Partnership), the tail that wags city government. (He) had an entourage of professionals, including Bob Dykes, a political researcher and pollsters popular at city hall; Andy Juniewicz of Wm. Silverman, politically popular public relations firm, and testifying to what a good deal the city had before it was CT member and member of the mayor’s task force, Paul Carleton, managing director of Carleton, McCreary, Holmes, another investment firm.


“Tim Offtermatt, former chief financial officer at Gateway (certainly a qualification for another smelly deal), now with A. G. Edwards, a broker and public finance firm, was there, along with Alan Baucco of the firm. The financial data presented was worked up by Paul Komlosi of McDonald & Co., so you can expect that firm to be part of the deal.


“All the pros were there for their bite of the apple.”


So the average guy doesn’t stand a chance here or in Washington, D. C. because he’s absent in the decision-making.


But there should be no crisis in government funding – here or nationally – if only the rich are taxed fairly.


Can we make that happen? Just a little bit. A city income tax with a graduated tax to slightly even the score.


It would take Ms. Susan Goldberg and Mr. Terry Egger to use their front page headlines in the manner of selling Issue 6 to do that. Can we expect it? Tell me.



( categories: )