Stadiums causing budget shortfall

By Brad Underwood – bio | email
Posted by Trina Edwards - email

CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19) - For all the fun fans can have at Paul Brown Stadium and Great American Ball Park, remember, you are paying for it.

The county is facing a major shortfall paying for the two stadiums.

It's a problem 14 years in the making. Over estimations of revenue coupled with economic disasters continue to put the county in a deeper hole.

Right now, commissioners say the county is facing a $30 million shortfall for next year with the two stadiums.

"There's no way to solve this issue without there being an increase in taxes," said commissioner Todd Portune.

Portune presented a new plan on Monday that he says would be more than just a fix for a year, but five years, putting the county back in the black.

"One year sales tax increase of a half a cent, that will give us over the next five years to a point where a combination of reducing the property tax rollback and the casino revenues," he said.

There are other options too, such as raising ticket prices, asking the teams to pay back some cash, or even selling the stadiums.

However, the county doesn't have the authority to do that.

"I'm going to make another proposal, I think we might need to look more broadly about what kind of cuts we can make to fix this," said commissioner Greg Hartmann.

Hartmann continues to push his plan to cut back on the tax rollback promised to residents, which would raise property taxes and cut $22 million from UC hospital.

"I think what we've learned in all these meetings is that there's no silver bullet," said Hartmann. "These are very difficult, this is a very difficult issue, it's the biggest issue we have at the county, I still think we can deal with it. Governments are making tough choices all over this country right now and that's what we have to do."

One of the big problems is the over estimation of revenue from the beginning. Commissioner Portune says the Reds generate about $2 million a year for the county. At Paul Brown Stadium, the county loses about $10 million a year.

Whatever plan the county chooses, taxpayers will be taking the hit on sales or property taxes.

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