Cleveland Pol Wants 'Win Tax' to Prod Losing Teams

Stadium money would be doled out by 'fan council'

By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff

Posted Jun 6, 2014 2:15 PM CDT

(Newser) – Local governments are constantly doling out cash to professional sports teams, and now one Cleveland politician thinks the public deserves to see some wins for its money. Cuyahoga County voters last month extended a "sin tax" on alcohol and cigarettes to pay for stadium upkeep for Cleveland's three major sports teams. Yesterday County Executive and would-be governor Ed FitzGerald proposed distributing some of that money based on the relative success of those teams, an idea he calls the "win tax," the Cleveland Plain Dealer reports.

The Browns, Cavs, and Indians haven't managed a world championship between them in 50 years. "We love these teams," FitzGerald says. "But we can also try to demand to get something a little bit better than we've gotten." His proposal would set up a "fan advisory council" to determine the criteria for distributing the money. The idea met with what the AP describes as "terse 'no comments'" from the teams. Republicans panned the idea (FitzGerald is a Democrat), with party chairman Rob Frost objecting that it would send the message that Cleveland only supported winners. "That's not how we do things in Cleveland," he reportedly said.

A workman leaves the job site at FirstEnergy Stadium in Cleveland where renovation of the 15-year-old home of the Cleveland Browns continues Thursday, June 5, 2014.   (AP Photo/Mark Duncan)
Cleveland Cavaliers shooting guard Matthew Dellavedova (9) falls to the court as point guard Kyrie Irving (2) defends the basket, Friday, Nov. 22, 2013.   (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)
Cleveland Cavaliers' Kyrie Irving, left, falls as he drives past New York Knicks' Pablo Prigioni, from Argentina, in the fourth quarter of an NBA basketball game Tuesday, Dec. 10, 2013, in Cleveland.   (AP Photo/Mark Duncan)
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