CLEVELAND (July 21, 2020) – The Greater Cleveland Partnership (GCP) applauded the Cleveland Metropolitan School District’s (CMSD) decision to limit its November levy to a 10-year term, instead of proposing a permanent CMSD tax levy ballot question. The move allows voters more decision-making power over a future CMSD tax levy question at the end of its term. Due to the importance of the CMSD levy for future generations, and an increased level of accountability through a 10-year term, the GCP’s Board of Directors also moved to support the November CMSD levy increase because the initiative addresses a severe and urgent societal need.
During the Cleveland Plan discussions in 2012, a key principle for the GCP and other partners was the need for levies to have a specific term of years, rather than being in place permanently – also known as a “continuing levy.” A term of years remains important to GCP’s members to encourage meaningful progress, provide the community an opportunity to measure results, and review desires for future renewed support.
“GCP has been deeply engaged on multiple tax levies over the past several years,” said Scott Chaikin, Chair, GCP Board of Directors and Executive Chairman, Dix & Eaton. “The business community was instrumental in implementing the Cleveland Plan, GCP members have enjoyed an open dialogue with CMSD leaders over the years, and I expect critical conversations will continue on improvements to benefit Cleveland’s students and the region.”
The GCP also expressed disappointment in the Cuyahoga County Public Library’s (CCPL) intent to ask voters to support a permanent 1-mill tax increase in November to contribute to the library’s operating budget. GCP opposes a tax increase representing a 40% permanent hike in its current form. GCP is willing to consider supporting a short-term increase if CCPL leads discussions among peers around aggressive restructuring.
Permanent tax levies are becoming increasingly rare in the Greater Cleveland area. Volunteer leaders of the 12,000-member business organization believe permanent property tax levies for the November ballot are particularly inappropriate in lieu of an uncertain economy, potential leadership changes, an increasingly uncompetitive tax environment, and the need for accountability and structural reforms.
GCP completed a comprehensive tax analysis as part of its ForwardCLE strategic plan in mid-2019. The study showed Greater Cleveland’s tax burden was higher and growing at a faster rate than nearly all peer cities.