- Sam Allard / Scene
"Deciding whether to vote for Issue 7...should not be a difficult decision," opines the Northeast Ohio Media Group's editorial board in its Sin Tax endorsement Friday morning. "Nobody likes to pay taxes, but this is about as painless as any tax could be."
It's not like the official thumbs up comes as a shock. In January, the NEOMG was already insisting that the Sin Tax was necessary for the upkeep of Cleveland's three downtown sports facilities, even as the editorial board acknowledged that the corporate folks who made promises back in the 90s never followed through.
"The original sin tax was passed in 1990 with the promise of some 28,000 jobs to be created in the Gateway District," the editorial board wrote on January 25. "But those projections were predicated on the development of office buildings that never materialized, GCP President Joe Roman now says."
The NEOMG wrote that though the current Sin Tax has nothing to do with creating jobs or positively affecting Northeast Ohio taxpayers in any tangible way — it's literally about the obligations demarcated on a truly shitty lease — Issue 7 is still the best way to "remind team owners that this town desperately wants a champion much more than it yearns for a cool fan experience."
That's a logic Scene's having a hard time fully understanding. We too, desperately want a champion much more than we want a cool fan experience, particularly when "fan experience" is a term owners love to use when they're talking about things like scoreboards, to generate beaucoup advertising dollars (of which Cleveland won't see a penny) as opposed to the fans themselves, who as a rule hate obtrusive advertisements.
For reference, the proposed upgrades for the scoreboards at Progressive Field and Quicken Loans arena — $23.9 million — cost more than the entire construction of Classic Park in Lake County, home of the Captains.
"We can rail all we want about the wealthy people who own the three teams, but the fact is a lease is a lease and these improvements must be made," writes the NEOMG editorial board, which hasn't roused itself to rail against the wealthy owners at all.