Cuyahoga County Executive Ed FitzGerald has an idea for deciding how to hand over those $260 million in new cigarette and alcohol taxes approved last month to the Cleveland Indians, Cavaliers, and Browns, and it’s a doozy:
FitzGerald is expected on Thursday to propose tying distribution of 20 percent of the county’s sin tax to on-the-field performance from Cleveland’s professional sports teams, according to sources briefed on the plan.
The 20 percent — estimated to be at least $2.6 million a year — would be awarded to FirstEnergy Stadium, Progressive Field or Quicken Loans Arena based on the success of the teams using the facilities.
That’s … kinda crazy, but it just might work? An example of walking the fine line between stupid and clever? On the upside, if part of the value of a sports team to taxpayers is getting to jump up and down when your team wins, then creating an incentive for your team to win — other than the normal incentive of, you know, winning — makes a kind of sense. On the other hand, I have no idea how they’d write this into law — subsidy dollars based on winning percentage? bonuses for making the playoffs? — so right now it seems a bit like pandering to sports fans unhappy with their favorite teams’ owners getting money when the teams all suck. Tune in this afternoon for more details, maybe.