The fallout from the Icon Tax has been, well, loud. That’s really the only word for it. And in a rare moment of solidarity, Mayor John Cranley and Councilman Chris Seelbach found themselves 100% in agreement. They felt the County Commissioners screwed it up.
Seelbach, an ultra-liberal who notoriously supports frivilous spending, supported the streetcar from inception,a bike-share program, in addition to other pet projects. So naturally, Seelbach has been vocal in supporting the Icon Tax to renovate Music Hall and Union Terminal.
Seelbach supported a plan that saw the county fund $310M while the city brought $20M to the table, all through an increase in sales tax. Cranley, also has backed this plan, siding with Seelbach, and felt the county’s fair share was roughly 93%. Many others, including councilman PG Sittenfeld also supported this plan.
City Leaders supported a plan affecting 800,000+ people, despite only 296,000 living in the city. Important to remember is that city-owned buildings are the city’s responsibility, and guess who owns both buildings? That’s a pretty raw deal for over half a million people living outside the city.
COAST, local conservative groups, and others were publicly opposed to the sales tax increase, comparing it the stadium deal that still haunts county residents. Many believed the City was shirking their responsibility and that much of the needed funds should come from both the city and patrons of the two establishments.
The board voted 2-1 on a proposal from Chris Monzel for a 5 year, quarter-cent sales tax increase, funding Union Terminal but leaving Music Hall out entirely. The proposal will appear countywide on ballots in November.
The plan was a compromise between both sides, and, it was done in good faith to best represent the constituents wishes, according Greg Hartmann. In other words, The County Commissioners Board did it’s job, and functioned exactly as designed.
But the City counted it as total loss, and the public outcry began.
John Cranley lamented the “half baked, and half cocked” plan. He declared that Hartmann and Monzel owed an explanation as to why they wanted to “raise taxes,” apparently forgetting that the reason was to spruce up Union Terminal. Cranley felt putting more than 7% of the responsibility on the city was akin to treating residents as “second-class citizens.”
Seelbach began to tweet incessantly to #FireMonzel, even turning on a fellow party-member who the voters selected in the primary, Sean Feeney. Talk about ruthless, and self serving.
With the streetcar saga still fresh in voters’ minds the city shown it doesn’t exactly have “fiscal responsibility” at the top priority. And Monzel and Hartmann sought to make rest of the county didn’t become victims of the Tax-and-Spend Wild West that the city of Cincinnati has become. Nor would they let the city dump financial responsibilities in their lap.
Hartmann told the Enquirer that he believe Cranley was “frustrated we didn’t turn Music Hall into a county liability instead of a city liability.”The commissioners made a decision based on what they felt their constituents wanted, and the stuck to it. They did their job. Such a novel concept, or at least a foreign one to a lot of elected officials.
All-in-all, the voters can be certain that Monzel and Hartmann have their best interest in mind, while understanding the lack of responsible leadership that exists in Cincinnati.
What if I told you that Cincinnati would one day be wishing it had better leaders? What if I told you the millennials that Seelbach and crew are catering to are, according to studies, likely to vote any overspenders out? Seems like that would be a pretty big wake up call indeed. One that’s badly needed.