CLE mayor asking for .25% increase in income tax

CLE mayor asking for .25% increase in income tax

CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) - Mayor Frank Jackson laid out the city's budget Tuesday and says it comes up short. He says he can make ends meet with cuts in 2016 but there is no way to make up a massive projected shortfall in 2017.

Mayor Jackson was direct in his presentation. He went page by page through a breakdown of city revenue and expenses.

The bottom line is simple. Revenue is down and expenses are up leaving a $42M dollar gap.

"If you don't have the money then you can't pay for the service and if you have a $50M gap then you will cut services and lay off people to the tune of $50M whatever that may be," Jackson said.

That is why he wants a half percent hike in the income tax. That move is expected to raise $83M. Jackson calls it a clear choice for voters, not a threat.

The mayor said property tax revenue is down 13%. For example in 2001 $51M was collected. Last year, the collection was $33 million.

The mayor said overall revenue is flat and expenses are going up. He blames the state of Ohio's cuts to the local government fund.

Several steps must be taken before an increase can appear on the ballot.  The first happened Tuesday with the mayor's request, next city council must vote to put it on the ballot, then citizens will decide.

Only then can the tax be collected.

"I support a point 5 percent increase and I think I have a rational basis for doing that," Jackson said.

The mayor was matter of fact and serious but not without humor at one point telling reporters, "The only good tax ladies and gentlemen is the one you don't pay, that's the only good one. The next best tax is one you pay and you get a benefit and that's what this is."

That benefit will cost you 50 additional dollars for every ten thousand you make.

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