Hamilton County Commissioner proposes ticket tax to help pay for stadiums

CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19) - Hamilton County Commissioner Todd Portune is taking the next step in getting a ticket tax on the November ballot. Thursday Portune proposed a tax on admissions for games at Great American Ballpark and Paul Brown Stadium to help pay off the deficit caused by the two new stadiums.

Portune is working with the citizen based group, Class Action, Citizens League Against the Subsidy of Sports to start circulating a petition to get the ticket tax initiative on the ballot.

He needs more than 8,500 signatures on a petition to get the proposal onto a ballot. It would be a city ballot measure that would not involve the entirety of Hamilton Co. Portune has not approached the city about it.

Portune says the goal is to generate enough money to balance the stadium fund without laying the burden across the entire county.

"I don't think we should be having to have all the citizens of the county pony up other money; whether it's the county dipping into its general fund, or whether It's every citizen in the area having to come up with additional money to balance the budget. At the end of the day the best way, the fairest way is for a user fee to exist at the stadiums to cover whatever overage there is," said Portune.

The teams' leases would not come into play at all. The Bengals or Reds would not have to approve the ticket surcharge, because it would be the decision of the county. If nothing is done, the county could be in debt in the stadium fund as much as $650 million over the life of the leases.

In 1996, Hamilton County residents voted to raise sales tax to help pay for the stadiums, and property taxes were raised in the county to help pay for the stadiums.

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