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Thursday, July 14, 2016

City Council Tees Up Income Tax Hike Issue for Voters in November

Posted By on Thu, Jul 14, 2016 at 12:11 PM

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With costs related to the U.S. Department of Justice consent decree mounting and a 2017 budget shortfall looming, the city is turning to an income tax increase — from 2 percent to 2.5 percent — to pay for the burden. City Council approved a resolution that will place the issue before voters on the November ballot.

From a council spokesman: "If approved by voters, the increase would generate about $80 million annually to expand city services, hire additional police officers, purchase new equipment and pursue capital projects."

(The increase would amount to an additional $50 in taxes for every $10,000 earned each year.)

Councilmen Brian Kazy, Martin Keane and Zack Reed voted against the resolution.

Reed pointed out the touchy position that council finds itself in, telling Cleveland residents that a minimum wage increase is not advisable while asking for an increase in income tax. "My hope is that as we make the city healthy and as we make the city financially healthy, which is our main goal and obligation," Reed said, "we then begin to take care of the most needy people in our community." (No one on council responded to that comment.)

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