Schools Levy Renewal, Income Tax Hike Face Cleveland Voters

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We know that most people are really only interested in voting for one race this year: the Marcia Fudge/Beverly Goldstein race in the 11th District. But don't forget that there are other things to vote on when you arrive at the polls!

Cleveland residents will confront a few "ballot issues" on Nov. 8 (or earlier, if you're not into the whole ritual of Election Day). Check it out:

Issue 32: A proposed municipal income tax increase.


Cleveland leaders are pushing a .5-percent income tax hike, bringing the total income tax levied in the city to 2.5 percent. It's been pitched as the silver bullet needed in light of the city's federal consent decree costs and its impending budget shortfall. The raise would generate an extra $80 million per year for the city.

Issue 33: A proposed charter amendment.

This issue will change the name of the Police Review Board to the Civilian Police Review Board and will increase its size from seven to nine members. Five of those members would be appointed by the mayor, and four of those members would be appointed by City Council. The board reviews use-of-force allegations against Cleveland police officers; it plays an integral role under the consent decree. In fact, the amendment before voters was urged on by reformed practices contained within that document.

Issue 108: A proposed tax levy renewal for the Cleveland Metropolitan School District.

Four years ago, Cleveland voters approved a massive 15-mill levy in tandem with the state-approved Cleveland Plan for Transforming Schools. This year's issue would renew that — and maintain current property tax rates — for another four years, ensuring that voters continue to hold the district "accountable" for its reforms, CEO Eric Gordon said earlier this year. If the levy renewal issue does not pass, the levy will expire.

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