"It is a breach of faith - and a solemn pledge that both Portune and Pepper made with the voters - to do away with the property tax rollback," said COAST Chairman Jason Gloyd. "Portune and Pepper are not just increasing our taxes, they are breaking their word. We can never trust government again."
The Pepper/Portune plan is to repeal some or all of the stadium property tax rollback. The rollback was promised to voters as a part of the 1996 half cent stadium sales tax increase. Both Pepper and Portune have promised the voters that the rollback was sacrosanct. "We cannot go back on a promise made to taxpayers over a decade ago," said Commissioner David Pepper in this article. "While we have to tackle our tough budget issues, we cannot do so by raising property taxes."
"Far beyond a debate over tax policy (and we're striving to keep taxes as low as possible), this is a much more fundamental issue of basic governance, and adhering to the clear consent of the governed. In that light, I consider any move to divert dollars from the PTR to be a deeply illegimate act. It lacks fundamental integrity. And it's simply not an option."If this promise is broken, commissioners will be increasing property taxes without a vote of the people. This is the second time these two liberal commissioners have increased taxes without a vote -- they did it in 2007 with the Super Sized jail 1/2 cent sales tax hike that was repealed by the voters and the WeDemandAVote.com coalition. The increase became needed because of continued profligate over-spending by the Commission, especially on the bloated Banks project.
-David Pepper, PepTalk Blog, Nov 18, 2008
This is but the latest heartbreaking disappointment from the stadium sales tax debacle:
- The project has run overbudget, and repayment accounts have been in deficit for years.
- The Bengals lease was an unprecedented ripoff of taxpayers, and the worst professional sports lease nationally.
- The state of Ohio reneged on its promised contribution.
- The tax has been extended beyond the date originally promised.
- Sales tax projections were intentionally over-stated.
- Ultimately the Bengals hired Commissioner Bob Bedinghaus, who negotiated the lease, at a six-figure salary.
- "The Banks" was originally supposed to be an added bonus to restore nightlife to the riverfront after Sleepout Louies, Porky's and The Old Spaghetti Factory were wasted during stadium construction, but it has since morphed into a mammoth boondoggle more expensive than both stadiums combined.
- City and county governments conspired to bury another train station in the project, despite the fact that we have no passenger rail transportation. Then they left no way to get trains into or out of it, wasting $42 million.
COAST is encouraging voters to flood the County Commission Offices with faxes, letters, e-mails and phone calls on Monday.