Cleveland sin tax smackdown! Live at 12:30 pm ET!

I’m going to be taking part (via Skype) in a live debate today with Cleveland city council president Kevin Kelley, Cavs president Len Komoroski, and Peter Pattakos of the Coalition Against the Sin Tax about the plan to extend the city’s alcohol and cigarette taxes for 20 years and give the proceeds to local sports teams for building upgrades. Supposedly this is going to be webcast live at; tune in between 12:30pm and 1:30pm Eastern and see!

(UPDATE: This looks to be the preferred webcast link:

9 comments on “Cleveland sin tax smackdown! Live at 12:30 pm ET!

  1. Yikes. They need an editor.

    Opposing it will be lawyer Peter Pattakos, of the Coalition Against the Sin Tax, and Neil deMause, Editor of

    He’s a national critic of taxpayer-financed stadiums, arguing wealthy teams and owners should not tap the public.

    It’s billed as a panel “discussion.” But it’s a good bet there will be both light and heat.

    Kelley and Komoroski will argue the tax would continue to keep downtown busy and “strong” and eliminate or reduce the need to spend money from city and county budgets for repairs obligated by lease.

    Pattakos and deMause will claim the public has already been to generous to the teams.

    While characterized as a few pennies per pack of cigarettes, some of the other sins targeted are kind of steep. $3 per gallon of liquor is probably the largest revenue generator. But funding sinful sports arenas with sin taxes is just so darn appealing… almost like funding math education with lotto tickets (1983 — In July, the Ohio Legislature earmarks Lottery profits for education.)

  2. I’m also not sure how they know what I’ll be arguing, since they didn’t ask me, but maybe my feed will mysteriously go dark if I go off-message.

    Meanwhile, here’s the direct link to the webcast:

  3. It didn’t help that they shut my mic except for the times when they were directly asking me a question, so other panelists could butt in, but I could only wave my arms mutely.

  4. just posted an article about the debate:

  5. Here’s another one:

  6. Lol @ Tom Beres’ commentary at the end about the City Council President and the Q President being better organized and having a more consistent message in the “tag team two on two debate”. It’s pretty easy to organize the message of “make sure you have a big pot of money on hand so we’re less tempted to move to somewhere else with a pot of money” .

  7. Thank you for doing this! I don’t think anyone was surprised by the audience or media reactions; we all know that what passes for our local elite are in favor of this scam, and that inevitably backs them up.

    I have hope, however, that the “coordinated” and “consistent” message is not playing as well outside of their bubble. We’ve heard it an awful lot in recent years: “nice economy you have there; be a shame if something bad happened to it.” I hope that others are getting as tired of this extortion as I am.