During the Cleveland Plan discussions in 2012, a principle for the GCP and partners was the need for levies to have a term of years, rather than being in place permanently – also known as a “continuing levy.” Terms remain important to encourage progress, provide the community an opportunity to measure results, and review desires for future support.
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 moved to support the November CMSD levy increase.
The CMSD’s ballot question addresses a severe and urgent societal need. Cleveland: vote “yes” on Issue 68 this November.
As a result, the business community cannot make the case for an extra $18 million annually (a 40% permanent increase) – in perpetuity – to operate CCPL’s 27 branches. Without discussion around an aggressive restructuring of library systems in our county (which is home to nearly 70 individual branches), GCP board members voted to oppose the CCPL’s ballot Issue 70.
Issue 70 will likely win the approval of voters on November 3rd. Northeast Ohioans are not only resilient, but we generously support our institutions. GCP board members voted to oppose a permanent allocation of tax dollars to fund an institution in an ever-uncertain environment. This can serve as an opportunity to discuss how we allot a shrinking pot of wealth to a growing number of challenges.
Cleveland is the poorest big city in America, according to U.S. Census data and Greater Cleveland’s tax burden is higher and growing at a faster rate than nearly all peer cities. We urge our community to join in a dialogue around how we can leverage tax dollars to change the trajectory of our region, because “business as usual” will produce similar outcomes.
Bold action and improved funding models and updates to laws over time are not only necessary but required if we hope to grow the economic prosperity of the region. Colleagues and community members have voiced support for the general premise of needing to fix our local tax system but have said, “drawing the line in the sand with libraries isn’t the right place.” Where is the line? Perhaps, evaluating every municipal and county levy is the right place and this is the start.