Office of Citizen
Rest in Peace,
How Cleveland can make $11 million a year
Submitted by Roldo on Mon, 03/24/2008 - 13:18.
$11 MILLION REVENUE SOURCE
The way government works – because the people who control it are the money people – typically rewards those who already have money.
It doesn’t have to be that way. However, usually taxing ideas come from those who want to shift taxes from the big guy to the little guy.
I’d suggest a method of shifting the burden to where it belongs.
For example, the city of Cleveland bears much of the cost of entertaining suburbanites and exurbanites with sports and entertainment venues and facilities, most of which are highly subsidized and pay no or little in property taxes.
Special police protection is given to the visitors of these venues, better protection, unfortunately, than the residents in some cases. Mayor Michael White, as an example, even specified by contract that the number attendees at Jacobs Field would insure a certain number of police officers on duty. As I remember it, attendance of 35,000 or more would require assignment up to 40 traffic and other police. The first few years Jacobs Field enjoyed sellouts of more than 40,000, thus requiring the maximum number of police. I know that the police cut back on those numbers but there are still many officers working the games.
That agreement certainly has meant a drain on police services to Cleveland’s neighborhoods, good and bad.
Probably most of the people who shell out big bucks to go to Browns, Cavs and Indians games come from outside the city, which pays the bill for security, roads, other services and to build the facilities. The Browns stadium costs are borne entirely by city residents while they share heavily in the costs of the baseball stadium and the basketball arena. The city indebted itself to build two parking garages specifically to serve the baseball stadium and arena. And they lose money annually.
So the playgrounds of millionaires, the profit centers of billionaires, and the entertainment venues of many of our well-off citizens are at the courtesy of city residents, mostly poor. The fungoers are all high-class welfare clients, to be truthful.
I believe they should pay their fair share.
So take this into consideration:
The Cleveland Indians in 2007 drew 2,275,911 fans that paid an average ticket price of $21.32. That earned revenue of $48,522,422. (The team, according to listing in Forbes magazine is worth $352 million (2005), thanks much to the county taxpayers providing free workplaces.)
The Cleveland Browns drew 584,006 fans that paid an average $48.79. That earned revenue of $28,493,652 for eight games. I guess it doesn’t include exhibition games. (The Browns are worth $892 million (2005), according to Forbes.)
The Cleveland Cavaliers for the 2006-07 season drew 654,515 with a seat average cost of $50.02. That makes earning of $32,738,840. (The Cavs are worth $305 million (2005) and likely much more these now.)
In total for the three teams, ticket sales (and this doesn’t count loge revenue) gross revenue of $109 million. Nice money if you can get it.
And they couldn’t get it if the taxpayers of Cuyahoga County and Cleveland didn’t pay for their workplace. No other business gets this very special service – a free place to work and no property taxes.
So it would seem that the city is missing a great opportunity to make some money itself.
For an example, by charging a 10 percent EXTRA admission tax on these highly subsidized businesses.
From just these three private business venues the surcharge would produce close to $11 million a year. That’s a considerable amount. Since ticket prices go up annually, more as the years pass.
Such a surcharge could raise even more revenue were applied to other venues, such as the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, which taxpayers continue to shell out via property taxes at Tower City (many Tower City parcels are under TIF arrangement, meaning its property taxes go to pay off bonds for the Rock hall).
At least those who use these taxpayer funded facilities would pay a small amount of the public cost.
But that might be considered fair, something not in the vocabulary of our public officials and corporate people.
The sports teams will yowl greatly if anything such as this were proposed by a city official.
Why? Because it would raise the price of the tickets to their games.
It might make it difficult for the teams each year to raise the ticket prices themselves and pocket the dough.
Yet, in fairness to the taxpayer, the burden will be where it should be – with the teams and their fans.
Does Mayor Frank Jackson have the guts to propose such a surcharge? Does any Council member have the guts?