SBD/February 29, 2012/Facilities

Browns Push For Extension Of Cleveland's Sin Tax; May Seek Help From Indians, Cavaliers

Browns execs asked city for $5M loan for repairs to be repaid later this year and in '13
Cleveland's three major professional sports franchises along with the city of Cleveland and Cuyahoga County could "come together to win an extension of a cigarette and alcohol tax that would pay for the future upkeep of the city's sports palaces to extend the life of those structures," according to Jay Miller of CRAIN'S CLEVELAND BUSINESS. The team effort will be needed because "renewing or replacing the so-called sin tax, which now runs only through 2015, will be a come-from-behind challenge." The "biggest challenge will be changing the minds of state officials and overcoming the tobacco and alcoholic beverage lobbies, which in 2008 slipped into a budget bill language that forbids counties from levying local sin taxes." The charge to extend the sin tax "is led by" the Browns. Execs from the football team "went before Cleveland City Council earlier this month to ask for a $5 million loan from the city for repairs that would be repaid later this year and in 2013 from future sin tax proceeds." Team officials said that the 13-year-old stadium "needs a variety of work." Browns General Counsel Fred Nance said, “We anticipate a collaborative effort among the three teams." Miller notes the Cavaliers and Indians "are aware of the Browns' moves but are staying on the sidelines for now." At the end of '15, the bonds Cuyahoga County and the city of Cleveland "issued to pay for their shares of construction of the Gateway buildings and Browns Stadium, respectively, will have been repaid." The teams have 30-year leases "that put the onus of capital repairs on the city and county governments." The city, the county and the Browns agree they need a secure revenue stream that will be dedicated to paying for major capital repairs" (CRAIN'S CLEVELAND BUSINESS, 2/27 issue).
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