Mar 21

CLEVELAND, March 21, 2018 – Members of the Greater Cleveland Partnership (GCP) endorsed Cuyahoga County’s two-year renewal of the Health and Human Services (HHS) levy and supported a separate statewide issue aiming to revise the way Ohio draws U.S. Congressional district maps.  

The Cuyahoga County HHS renewal levy, Issue 9, will appear on the primary election ballot in May. The two-year renewal of the 3.9 mill levy is the smaller of the two County HHS levies. It generated approximately $104 million in 2016 – 2017 and costs a homeowner $135.10 on a $100,000 home.  Combined with the 4.8 mill eight-year levy – renewed in 2016 and set to expire in 2024 – the County collects slightly over $230 million to fund critical social services.

“The Health and Human Services levy renewal will not raise taxes and it plays an important role in ensuring resources are available to fund crucial services for children, the elderly, and families in need,” said Debbie Read, Managing Partner/CEO of Thompson Hine, GCP Board Member, and Chair of the GCP Government Affairs Council. “The dollars collected provide a significant social safety net to help reduce higher costs to taxpayers for untreated needs.”  

GCP has long supported both HHS levies. GCP leadership will continue to actively work with Cuyahoga County to determine the need and future structure of the HHS levy when it is up for renewal in 2020. 

The GCP Board also offered formal support for statewide Issue 1, which would create a more 
bi-partisan, public process for drawing U.S. Congressional districts. Significant minority party support would be required for the legislature to approve a new map. Issue 1 offers rules that would limit the extent to which counties, municipal corporations, and townships can be split between districts; the City of Cleveland would remain whole within its district.  
The plan cleared the legislature, with overwhelming support from both political parties, prior to the deadline for proposed Constitutional amendments initiated by the Ohio General Assembly to be filed with the Secretary of State. Due to the passage of the legislature’s resolution, Issue 1 will also appear on the ballot on May 8.  
“It’s no secret the practice of gerrymandering has existed to favor the political party in the majority,” said Joe Roman, President/CEO of the Greater Cleveland Partnership. “As a 
non-partisan organization, we’re encouraged Republicans and Democrats came together on this issue, resulting in what our members believe will be a more transparent redistricting process.” 

In 2015, GCP members backed the “Fair Districts for Ohio” campaign, a coalition organized to reform our system of drawing state legislative districts. The current Congressional redistricting initiative necessitates a simple majority of votes in May to become part of the Ohio Constitution. The proposal would take effect for the next redistricting process in 2021, following the 2020 census.