CLE mayor proposes raising income tax to 2.5%

Posted at 11:45 PM, Feb 01, 2016
and last updated 2016-02-02 05:15:35-05

Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson has proposed raising the city's income tax to 2.5 percent to make up for a budget deficit of more than $41 million.

Jackson said the income tax hike would result in balancing the budget, as well as providing the city with another $40 million to spend on improving city services. He said a study is underway to figure out where the funds will be used specifically.

When asked if he was afraid the tax hike would drive employers away from Cleveland, Jackson replied, "No, I'm afraid if I can't plow a street, why would they even come? If they call police and it takes them half an hour to get there, why would they come?"
Cleveland City Council president Kevin Kelley added that he's open to the increase, but he wants specifics.
"But not if it's just status quo," Kelley said. "It's got to make us better."
Both Kelley and Jackson blamed the large deficit on Gov. John Kasich's move to cut local government funding by millions of dollars over the last several years. 

Voters will get to decide whether or not to approve the hike. It will be on the ballot either in November or next spring. 

About 87 percent of the city's income tax is paid for by people who work in Cleveland, but live in the suburbs. This would be Cleveland's first income tax hike in 35 years.