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City of Cleveland, Cleveland Politics, Issues, Poverty

What fool taxes himself or herself?

by Roldo Bartimole

(Plain Press, November 2016)    If the Cleveland Establishment forces—you know them—can’t back a $15 an hour wage, then they shouldn’t tax the first $15 an hour of pay. Or even, not tax the minimum Ohio wage of $8.10. That would make the first $16,848 ineligible for the city tax.

That would be called FAIRNESS.

At $15 an hour, a 40-hour week and a 52-week year would total $31,200 in income. If you discounted the tax on the $15 an hour, most Cleveland workers wouldn’t pay a dime in income (payroll really) tax. Wealthy people, of course, have many sources of income that are NOT taxed by the city’s so-called city income tax. Nor are there any deductions. You pay the full cost.

COMMENTARY

Then, with the exemptions, you’d have to tax the high rollers more or stop giving away public dollars to private interests.

The more you give them, the more they’ll find ways to take. It’s never ending.

In Cleveland, the push is on to raise the city’s income tax 25 percent from 2 to 2.50 percent on every dollar you earn, starting with the very first buck.

Don’t be a sucker November 8th and vote to increase your own taxes. The politicians already do that to you enough.

Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump tapped into this resentment; revealing people are more than upset. They’re angry. They have the right to be.

Why do they even need these extra bucks? Reason: they’ve been giving away too damned much to sports teams, to developers and to other building owners.

Cuyahoga County passed a sales tax increase to build a new convention center, a fake medical mart and now a sure money-losing, grande, 600 room hotel.

The latest figures in September show $49.2 million in receipts from the quarter percent sales tax effective January 2015.

That comes out of your pocket. Same with the Arts & Culture cigarette tax, now showing a $27.3 million take and new version of the sin tax with a $14.5 million balance. That’s after taking $240 million in the first 15 years and some $135 million in the next 10. Cuyahoga taxpayers will be paying the latest tax for 20 years.

Further, building after building has been getting abatement and TIF (where taxes are diverted from public use, mostly the county, city and city libraries).

The news media, PD and TV and its I-teams never go after the biggest crooks doing legal robberies.

Now, Mayor Frank Jackson, Cleveland City Council members (all but three), the Greater Cleveland Partnership (GCP), and the Plain Dealer (PD) urge you in Cleveland to tax yourself.

I love the way the PD rationalizes the increase it supports: “The proposal would raise Cleveland’s income tax to 2.5 percent from 2 percent, where it has languished since 1981.”

“Languished.” No, actually as worker incomes have jumped, so has the city taxes take. It hasn’t “languished,” it has kept up taking the same percentage from higher incomes.

In its news columns, the PD also takes the corporate side (big surprise).

In announcing the GCP endorsement, the article says: “The endorsement is significant because GCP’s 73-member board of directors is a who’s-who of Northeast Ohio’s wealthiest business executives, many of whom work in Cleveland and stand to lose thousands of dollars of their own income if voters approve the tax increase in November.”

If they lose thousands, that means they’re making tens, if not hundreds of thousands. Like giving up movie tickets occasionally. However, the reporter doesn’t go out and talk to the many people living hand-to-mouth on low incomes and finding what the tax means to their budgets. How pennies hurt.

Wealthy people, as GCP members, don’t feel impact of a half-percent tax increase but people living on the edge feel it heavily.

Further doing the selling of the business moguls, the article goes on with this propaganda: “In an interview Friday, GCP President and CEO Joe Roman said the board spent months analyzing the proposal before voting to endorse it. And board members, he said, feel strongly that investing the tax proceeds into Cleveland neighborhoods and improved services would create a healthier city overall, fertile ground for further investments and business opportunities.”

It would be hard to believe that these business sharpies spent months analyzing anything involving regressive taxing of ordinary workers. Doesn’t pass the s*it-smell test.

The PD and others always sell the tax in a most unfair manner, telling Cleveland voters they aren’t paying, suburbanites are paying.

This time they’ve upped the figure to 87 percent paid by suburbanites. They never document it and they always raise the percentage.

It’s as if suburban workers are not people and don’t have bills to pay. Further, the income (payroll) taxes are high in the suburbs, meaning double taxation on workers.

The Cleveland League of Women Voters didn’t endorse the levy increase. That’s because, I’m told, there isn’t any Cleveland League of Women Voters.

That’s too bad. Cleveland 2016 seems a city with little leadership, almost no strong activist entities.

And it seems that the news media, what’s left of it, fails to encourage dissent or opinions against the powers that be. Except, I guess in its Cleveland.com opinions following most articles. They are filled with racism, hate and thoughtless opinions, allowed because they are essentially unidentified. Unlike printed letters to the editor, which require a real name and location, the commenters are allowed to make up names.

Tell Mayor Jackson and the wealthy GCP members to go elsewhere or do something novel—tax themselves.

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