Cuyahoga County commissioners voted 2-1 today to raise the sales tax a quarter of a penny to to help bring a Medical Mart to Cleveland.
Commissioners Jimmy Dimora and Timothy F. Hagan voted for the tax.Commmissioner Peter Lawson Jones, who has said he wants the issue to be put on the ballot, cast the lone dissenting vote.
The tax, which would raise the total sales tax in the county to 7.75 percent, would pay for a convention center. Merchandise Mart Properties has said it will not create a Medical Mart here without a new convention center that would provide space for permanent showrooms to display and sell medical technology and equipment.
The mart would draw year-round visitors, as well as attract as many as 50 medical trade shows a year, bringing in thousands of people would would stay in Cleveland hotels, eat at restaurants and visit area attractions.
Residents can force the issue to the ballot if they gather more than 45,000 signatures in 30 days.
Ok, so here's my take on this ... I am praying Clevelanders get the 45000 signatures needed to force this to public ballot. We are already taxed out the wahzoo and I can honestly say that the minute this sales tax increase is implemented, I will do everything I can to avoid shopping in Cuyahoga County. That's right - I'm willing to drive out of my way to pay sales tax in a different county to avoid being a "major" contributor a new convention center and Medical Mart because I don't believe either will fix the city. Do we see sales tax increasing to improve the state of education in the city or, even, countywide? Do we see sales tax increasing to fund emergency or social services to help the many needy people in our county? A new convention center will only be a piece of construction which will sit empty and unused for most of the time and if people feel so strongly about a permanent Medical Mart why aren't institutions like the Cleveland Clinic, University Hospitals or MetroHealth pooling their resources to bring said feature to the city? I don't understand why Cleveland thinks the answer to our "how do we NOT be one of the poorest cities" question is in entertainment/tourism. The answer is in rebuilding regional, state, country confidence in the Cleveland's potential for new business and to rebuild the city's neighborhoods - beginning with the school system - to attract intelligent, talented, employed individuals to the city to work and live.