Group seeks to raise the tax

“I’m willing to be a tourist in my own town and pay a few extra bucks if it would help this city out”
Andy Ouriel
May 15, 2014

 

It’s not often people campaign to raise taxes.

But a small contingent frustrated by Sandusky officials cutting programs and services assembled to restock the city’s coffers through a proposed tax increase.

Several residents recently formed the group Rebuild Sandusky, which is essentially a grassroots effort to replenish city programs and services.

The group’s pitch revolves around creating funds by increasing Sandusky’s 3 percent admissions tax rate.

Hypothetically, if a majority of city voters approved the issue in November, extra funds would go toward paving roads, filling potholes quicker, removing dead trees and keeping the three fire stations open at all times.    

An admissions tax increase could also restock severely depleted staffing levels at the fire and police departments.

Earlier this year, city commissioners cut $1.1 million of services to balance their $16.3 million everyday operating budget for 2014. To do this, however, commissioners needed to slash several services, including periodically closing down fire station No. 7 on Venice Road.

Some residents decided they needed to bring back, preserve and even strengthen vital quality-of-life services.

“I know no one likes to pay more taxes, but at least I can try to pick and choose which ones I pay” said group member and Wilbert Street resident Vicki Bird. “I understand people won’t support this, but I want to make it possible to place an initiative on the ballot”

Bird estimates the group will likely need about $6,000 for legal fees so a lawyer can help place the issue on November’s ballot. By early August, group members would likely need to finalize and submit all paperwork, including valid signatures on a petition, to the Erie County Board of Elections.

The effort revs up Sunday with a spaghetti dinner benefit, with all funds going toward the cause.

“I’m willing to be a tourist in my own town and pay a few extra bucks if it would help this city out,” Bird said.

Bird said she wasn’t sure how much more the admissions tax rate should or could be. Along with income and lodging taxes, admissions taxes represent a major funding source for Sandusky’s government operation.

The admissions tax, a 3 percent fee tacked onto ticket sales at Sanduskybased entertainment venues, largely depends upon Cedar Point — the undisputed giant in the region’s entertainment industry.

From 1998 to 2012, only once did a yearly admissions tax top $2.65 million.

In 2013, when Cedar Point debuted the roller coaster GateKeeper, city officials collected $2.81 million in admissions taxes — the most ever in Sandusky’s history.

Bird said she did support the admissions tax doubling to 6 percent. If the admissions tax totaled 6 percent a year ago, city officials would have generated about $5.62 million — more than enough to handle their shortfall from earlier this year.

But others aren’t so receptive to the idea.

“I applaud their effort, and I’m willing to listen to what the public has to say about this, but I personally do not support raising the admissions tax,” commissioner Wes Poole said. “The city of Sandusky needs to spend the money we have more wisely. The approach of just throwing money at our problems is not one I want to support. Raising a bunch of money to be spent the same way it has been spent in the past is not something I’m supportive of.”

Want to go?
•WHAT:
Spaghetti dinner fundraiser to generate money in hopes of placing an admissions tax increase proposal on November’s ballot for Sandusky residents.
•WHERE: Sail In, 631 Meigs St., Sandusky
•WHEN: 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday
•MORE: $7 dine-in, $8 delivery by calling 419-627-9333. Dinner gets you spaghetti and meatballs, salad, bread and dessert. All funds will go toward the effort to place an admissions tax increase issue on November’s ballot.

Tax potential
Based on 2013 admissions tax numbers, in which Sandusky officials collected $2.81 million, here’s how much different the collection would be with different rates:
•4 percent: $3.74 million
•5 percent: $4.68 million
•6 percent: $5.62 million
•7 percent: $6.55 million
•8 percent: $7.49 million

Comments

bigdad1205

Curious that these commissioners seem more receptive to raising income tax on Sandusky city residents (most of which now earn minimum wage) rather than realizing we are a tourist town and tourist should be paying the bill.

Nemesis

How naive you are. They knew the income tax increase would go over like a turd in the punch bowl, and that the resulting anger would launch this initiative. The leaders of this are talking about TRIPLING the admissions tax, and the commissioners can deny any culpability when it causes Cedar Fair to channel their capital investment budget elsewhere.

Comrade Boose

TRIPLING?? 3% X 2 = wait for it 6%. That is DOUBLING it. Don't mislead the readers. Cedar Point is not going anywhere the admissions tax is low even at 6%.

Nemesis

8% is almost tripling it.

Cedar Point is actually Cedar Fair, a company with many parks across the country, of which CP is only one. 6% is not lower than the ZERO percent admissions tax at their other major Ohio park, which got this year's big coaster investment, moving CP further back in the running for the title of most coasters.

Comrade Boose

The group never said 8% quit misleading everyone the number is 6%

Nemesis

The group's response in the article is that they don't know what percentage they want, but the overwhelming majority of comments in support of the increase on the SR site have called for 8%

Don't blame me; blame your supporters.

JT Adams St

Oddly enough, Cedar Fair has continued to pour money into Cedar Point in spite of the fact that Sandusky has long had a 3% admissions tax, while King's Island, has a 0% admissions tax. Under your theory, Cedar Fair will walk away from a hugely profitable park because their customers, not Cedar Fair, has to pay an extra $1.50 in taxes, which is exactly what hasn't happened over the past 20 years.

Nemesis

"Oddly enough, Cedar Fair has continued to pour money into Cedar Point in spite of the fact that Sandusky has long had a 3% admissions tax, while King's Island, has a 0% admissions tax."

Oh? Who got this year's big new coaster spending? At 3% the last big proxy battle was partially based on rumblings about moving the company headquarters and de-emphasizing CP as the flagship. Nearly triple that and those rumblings will only get louder.

"Under your theory, Cedar Fair will walk away from a hugely profitable park "

Two words: Geauga Lake. Profitable park, hostile community.

"because their customers, not Cedar Fair, has to pay an extra $1.50 in taxes, which is exactly what hasn't happened over the past 20 years."

Do the math - you're talking about adding $3.50 to that $1.50. The park was profitable in the 70's when they considered bulldozing it for a housing development. It was profitable a couple years ago when the proxy battle happened. Keep killing the goose that lays the golden egg, one small wound at a time.

BIGHAWK

Yep look at Murrays powerpoint presentation on the cities website, they are already salivating at the pipe dream of 3.5+/- million for every half percent, of course the justification is how low the income tax in Sandusky is at 1%. That would take the 16 million dollar budget to almost 20, image if they propose 2%, about 7 million extra bucks. They need to look outside of the box such as privatization of Water and Sewer, and eliminating the cities bond liabilities!!

lugnut2511

Hmmm, I believe the taxes,license fees and permits for businesses alone is what ran everyone out of Sandusky to begin with..Good luck with that one.

JT Adams St

I suppose that all of the factories shutting down to relocate their production lines overseas, resulting in hundreds of city residents losing their jobs, didn't have anything to do with it.

Nemesis

Which was caused, of course, by excessive tax and regulatory burdens placed on business at the national level. Businesses exist to make money, and go where the taxes are least.

JT Adams St

No, it was caused by the fact that they didn't want to pay their workers decent wages, and preferred to use much cheaper labor overseas. Cedar Fair has already dealt with that problem by importing cheap labor from overseas.

Nemesis

And are not the NLRA and minimum wage government imposed regulations?

Do you know why Pfizer wants to buy AstraZeneca? Because they want to move out of the USA to avoid our taxes and regulations. They find BRITAIN's taxes less burdensome - that's saying a lot.

T. A. Schwanger

###

Commissioner Poole hit on an extremely important point of "spending existing tax dollars more wisely". Problem is, we taxpayers have been hearing the same for years with no change in spending practices.

Nemesis

and dropping an extra $5 million in their greedy little hands is going to make them more judicious in spending it HOW?

JT Adams St

As a proponent of an increase in the admissions tax, I'd like to say that Andy Ouriel did a nice job of presenting this story.

As for Mr. Poole's comment, I would note that generating additional revenue by increasing the admissions tax doesn't preclude the commission from spending the city's money wisely.

At present, the streets are a mess, Station No. 7 is closing on random days, and there are 300 dead trees that need to be removed. What's the commission's proposal to find the money to address those problems? What programs/services would Mr. Poole cut? Apparently, I missed Mr. Poole's interview with the Register when he ripped the current commission for giving one of the highest paid attorneys in town a raise.

While the commission has managed to "balance" its budget, it has done so by deferring road maintenance and street tree maintenance. Just because the commission chooses to ignore those problems doesn't mean that they magically went away. Although, I suppose the dead trees will be easier to remove after they fall over.

As Mayor Murray pointed out at his town hall meetings earlier this year, Sandusky is desperate for additional revenue. An admissions tax increase is an opportunity to raise that revenue and avoid a death spiral of declining services resulting in middle class residents fleeing town.

Nemesis

"I would note that generating additional revenue by increasing the admissions tax doesn't preclude the commission from spending the city's money wisely."

Actually, it does. Abundance breeds carelessness. The whole reason for the recent recession is that, when the Fed's been effectively giving away money at below inflation interest rates for 15 years, there's no reason for banks to be careful with it.

"At present, the streets are a mess, Station No. 7 is closing on random days, and there are 300 dead trees that need to be removed. What's the commission's proposal to find the money to address those problems?"

Well, another article this week outlined how the city is going to spend $800K on freebies for the dependent class.

JT Adams St

What "abundance"? We keep hearing from Wes Poole and you how the city wastes money. OK. Where's the waste in the current budget? And what programs, in the current budget, is the city going to cut to fix the roads? Or, are roads a waste of money? And without roads, what hope does Sandusky have of attracting any investment?

Nemesis

"What "abundance"? We keep hearing from Wes Poole and you how the city wastes money. OK. Where's the waste in the current budget? And what programs, in the current budget, is the city going to cut to fix the roads? Or, are roads a waste of money?"

A $5million jump in revenue constitutes an abundant windfall, and if you think it will be spent on roads, I have a bridge to sell you. It will be spent on building a lavish new City Hall, and handouts to buy votes from the unproductive segment of the city's population.

JT Adams St

The questions was: Where's the waste? Your answer is non-responsive. what handouts to the "unproductive segment" of the city's population do you want to cut to fund new roads?

Nor'easter

Nemesis, You have the opportunity to be absolutely sure that the money raised is used for streets and trees. Become involved in Rebuild Sandusky and be assured that the additional money is restricted for its stated purpose. There are serious costs for legal services to create enforceable and constitutional language to assure that the funds are only used to Rebuild our community. Put your effort and you money where your Mouth is.

T. A. Schwanger

###

From Sandusky's Codified Ordinances:

195.01 DEFINITIONS.

For purposes of this chapter the following words and phrases shall have the following meanings ascribed to them respectively.

(a) "Admission charge" means any charge for the right or the privilege to enter any place; a charge made for season tickets or subscriptions, a minimum service charge, a cover charge or a charge made for use of seats and tables, reserved or otherwise, and similar accommodations, greens fees, charges for the rental of or use of equipment, facilities or other property for purposes of recreation or amusement such as, but not limited to, charges ordinarily made or collected for the rental of personal watercraft, canoes or paddleboats or the rendering of service unless persons not utilizing the property or services are admitted free; also all parking charges where the charge is determined by the number of passengers in an automobile.

(b) "Person" means an individual, firm, corporation, company, partnership, association, an unincorporated association, and any person acting in a fiduciary capacity.

(c) "Place" includes but is not restricted to, circuses, motion picture theatres, dance halls, auditoriums, stadiums, athletic pavilions and fields, exhibition halls, swimming pools, amusement parks, water parks, golf courses and golf ranges, miniature golf courses, ferry boats, charter boats, bowling alleys, night clubs, cabarets, theatres of all kinds, lecture halls, archery and shooting ranges, campgrounds, recreational vehicle parks, and such attractions as merry-go-rounds, Ferris wheels, sky coasters, roller coasters, race tracks, and all places where any form of diversion, recreation, sport, or pastime is offered or provided, which are located in the City.

Question is, does the City actively collect admissions tax from the listed entities?

(Ord. 05-114. Passed 7-11-05.)

AJ Oliver

I have to respectfully disagree with my friends Wes Poole & Tim Schwanger here. Point One: A three percent admission tax is very much on the low side - in many places its 5 or even 8 percent. Point Two: The city's finances have been devastated by cuts from the state - NOT reckless spending, although there is some of that. Point Three: Tim is correct that all appropirate organizations need to pay the tax, not just CP.
I will help gather signatures.

T. A. Schwanger

###

@ AJ Oliver

My apologies for not being clear.

I am not against raising the Amusement Admissions Tax. I do however question the 3% increase (doubling).

If the powers controlling the purse strings can't spend existing dollars frugally, then how can we expect them to frugally spend an additional $2.5 million additional annually ?

JT Adams St

@ T.A. Schwanger

The city is falling behind on road maintenance and street tree maintenance. And nobody is saying where the money is going to come from to pay for those items. The city could have an extra $5 million per year added to its budget, and still be in a hole in maintaining its infrastructure. The frugality argument that people keep making is akin to someone arguing that they're not going to loan their parents money to fix their leaking roof, because their parents wasted money at McDonald's last month. Maybe the $10 spent on hamburgers was a waste, but it still doesn't make economic sense to let the house be destroyed by a leaking roof. Yes, the city wastes thousands of dollars paying commissioners to sit on their hands while the roads crumble around them, but even if the commissioners had to pay $10,000 per year to work for the city, that still wouldn't solve the infrastructure problem.

Nemesis

"A three percent admission tax is very much on the low side - in many places its 5 or even 8 percent"

While you were apparently sleeping, in another discussion thread, it was established that it is ZERO for the other major park in Ohio, which, incidentally, competes every year with Cedar Point for Cedar Fair capital investment.

Note that Pfizer is willing to move their corporation to the UK to escape a hostile tax environment. All Cedar Fair has to do is shift capital improvements downstate.

brett kinzel

Better make sure that admissions tax is legal in the first place. I'm not a lawyer, but there is some law that says taxes must be levied against a group, not an individal. CP pays 98% of the admisiion tax. Better be careful what you ask for, the new management at CP may not be as generous to the local gov't as the last.

T. A. Schwanger

###

@brett kinzel

The answer to your question can be found three postings above yours.

WhatTheHeck

Dear Mr. Kinzel.
Cp does not care about Sandusky or any small Mom and Pop business in Sandusky. I would think you would want our streets fixed. A family was almost to Cp last weekend and hit a big pot hole in Sandusky and it cost him $600.00 to fix their car. It was ashame they did not have that money too blow at Cp. What a shame saved a year for that family vacation. Cp can buy the commissioners, but you can't buy us voters. Cedar Fair owns Kings Island and they pay 8 per cent admision tax.

Nemesis

No, King's Island pays ZERO percent admissions tax. The city of Mason recently considered and REJECTED instituting such a tax.

JT Adams St

Cedar Point doesn't pay any admissions tax. The admissions tax is paid by visitors to entertainment venues. It's the same thing when you buy a car. The dealer doesn't pay the sales tax, the buyer does. How is Cedar Point being "generous" to local government by collecting admissions taxes from its customers? Even if the admissions tax were increased to 6%, Cedar Point customers would still be getting a break, because the sales tax is over 7%, and the admissions tax in Cleveland is 8%. Unfortunately, Sandusky can no longer afford to give such a huge discount on admissions taxes.

Nemesis

1. Cedar Point pays the tax. Cedar Point writes a check to the city for 3% of gate revenues, and is free to absorb that cost, pass it on to the customer, or some combination thereof. Either way, it cuts their return on investment - if they absorb it, it cuts profitability, and if they pass it on to consumers, it cuts the number of tickets they sell, because the law of supply and demand will not bend.

2. The sales tax does not apply to services, and they are not getting a break in comparison to visiting King's Island.

3.Cleveland has directly subsidized the main payers of its admissions tax to the tune of OVER half a billion dollars, funded by the sin tax. Are you willing to do that for Cedar Point?

Comrade Boose

Riddle me this one Batman when the parking tax was revoked how come Cedar Point didn't pass that savings on to their customers???

Nemesis

DUH!! Because, as I said, they are under no obligation to reflect it in their pricing one way or the other. CEDAR POINT stopped paying the tax, NOT the customers. That's the point. When they are taxed, they are under no obligation to pass on the cost, and when they are not taxed, they are under no obligation to pass on the savings.

Babo

Here's the link to the ad for season passes. https://www.cedarpoint.com/tickets/

Please note the small print "plus fees and taxes"

You are intentionally misleading people with your frankly irrational argument about who pays the admissions tax. The customer in every business pays ultimately for everything. An admissions tax or a sales tax will have little to no impact on discretionary spending for amusement activities as people expect to pay these taxes.

wjs

Despite the generic fine print, in reality, the tax is not presented in addition to the base price. Try it out for yourself by adding a ticket to the shopping cart.

Ticket: $49.99
Processing Fee: $5.99
Total: $55.98

Yes, I'm the park could sell it like this:

Ticket: $48.53
Tax: $1.46
Processing Fee: $5.99
Total: $55.98

But they don't. And I imagine there a multitude of marketing and financial reasons for doing it the way they do.

This isn't a lemonade stand. There is a lot of complexity in the economics of entertainment pricing. If a ticket goes from $49.99 to $52.50, not one of the 3 million people will understand it's a tax increase. It will be viewed as an increase in the price of a ticket. But even if it's understood to be a tax - even if the tax is presented separately - the bottom line is still an increase. That has an impact on everything it touches. It impacts attendance. It impacts Cedar Point's ability to increase prices to pay for new capital projects. It impacts the city's dependence on the tax. And maybe none of those things would be catastrophic. But if voters decide this issue by taking a simplistic view of it, they are doing themselves a disservice.

JT Adams St

The customers of every business at the mall pay a 7% sales tax. And some of those businesses, for example, Sears, are struggling to stay afloat. Why is that the customers of the most financially successful business in the city shouldn't have to pay taxes on the largest part of the cost of using that facility? All of the people opposed to the tax increase are effectively arguing that Cedar Fair deserves special treatment, and that its customers shouldn't have to pay taxes like the customers of every other business in town.

Babo

Sorry double post

Babo

@ WJS Seriously do you not buy an item at a given price such as a dinner at restaurant because you may have to pay sales tax on the item?

In any event, $5.99 processing fee on a $49.99 transaction is really high. Imagine if retail stores or restaurants charged you over 10% on top of the sale for using a credit card to conduct the transaction.

CP's cost of processing a credit card purchase cannot exceed 3% of the sale which would equal $1.50 and then there's another $1.50 for the 3% admissions tax leaving CP with $2.00 extra bucks profit upon which they don't have to pay an admissions tax. Very clever..they've just labeled the Admissions tax a processing fee and shifted their cost of conducting business as an add on to sale which is not taxed as part of the sale.

The gouging is likely worse on the 6 monthly payments at $20.00 for a season pass. If they are collecting $5.99 processing fee on each payment they are making an extra $4.79 on each payment above their cost to process the credit card (.60) and pay the tax (.60). So they have shifted almost $30.00 of the actual price of the ticket over to processing and avoided collecting the tax on the total admissions price.

Nemesis

"Seriously do you not buy an item at a given price such as a dinner at restaurant because you may have to pay sales tax on the item?"

Yes, as a matter of fact, I regularly choose to get take out rather than dine in to avoid the sales tax.

Babo

Ah but you frequent toney Legacy Village in Cuyahoga County and its higher sales tax rates?

In any event, the tax is included in the over priced processing fee.

I have to admit CP is extremely clever in shifting part of its true ticket price over to "processing fee" thereby avoiding collecting the admissions tax on the true ticket price.

Nemesis

"Ah but you frequent toney Legacy Village in Cuyahoga County and its higher sales tax rates?"

So now we can add sarcasm to the list of things you don't comprehend.

Babo

Sarcasm? You obviously didn't do too well on the verbal/writing portion of the PSAT/SAT.

Nemesis

"You are intentionally misleading people with your frankly irrational argument about who pays the admissions tax. The customer in every business pays ultimately for everything."

No, either the customer or the stockholder pays. There is revenue in, costs out, and the difference is profit to the stockholders. The tax is a cost out, which may or may not be directly reflected in prices charged consumers. Corporations may explicitly pass the cost on to consumers, or they may allow it to reduce profits in order to avoid impacting highly elastic demand. Case in point - when the parking tax was rescinded, CP did not reduce what they charged for parking - they applied the reduced cost to increasing profits.

"An admissions tax or a sales tax will have little to no impact on discretionary spending for amusement activities as people expect to pay these taxes."

Really? Talk to retailers just outside Cuyahoga County about that. Better yet, ask a wine and beer dealer just outside the county - there are people who drive 20 miles to buy wine in Geauga County and avoid the sin tax.

Will a family cancel their trip because of it? Probably not, but they very well might buy fewer snacks and souvenirs, or they might buy fewer Big Macs on the way out of town. Draw a line between CP and any other midwestern amusement park, then draw a perpendicular line bisecting the first line - comparative costs are a big factor for anyone living within 50-100 miles of that second line In the case of Kings Island, that includes the Columbus area; I've spoken to people who live there, and they absolutely compare ticket prices in deciding whether to visit Kings Island or CP.

blackjack82

Let me understand this? City of Sandusky collects a freebie of $2.81M more than any other city this size because of CP alone, along with the taxes of supporting hotels, restaurants, etc and still needs more money?? Really? Sounds like a spending problem, not an income problem to me.

Comrade Boose

Other cities collect a lot more on city income tax.

Cleveland 2% plus 8% admission tax on crumby sports teams
Barberton 2.25% and by the way they are a comparable to Sandusky
Geneva on the Lake 1.50% comparable to Geauga Lake Amusement park
WARRENSVILLE HEIGHTS 2.60%

So the issue really isn't a spending problem

WhatTheHeck

Count how many hotels, resturants, and ect. is in the city of Sandusky, not Perkins. First of all you do not charge admission tax on hotels and resturants. I believe they use it for other city services.

Nemesis

There is no Geauga Lake and it never had any relationshop to Geneva, which is roughly 40 miles away.

Most Ohio cities have a 1% income tax and do quite well. The cities you mention are burdened by an overabundance of the dependent class that does not pay income taxes. Oh, wait, so is Sandusky, which just announced a plan to spend $800K on freebies for them.

With government, it's ALWAYS a spending problem.

Comrade Boose

Nemis, so are you coming Sunday or not????

Nemesis

Why would I contribute to something so misguided? I've already addressed this in other threads - 4% would be reasonable, but the stalwarts in this cause won't accept anything less than 6%, which is insane.

The solution to Sandusky's fiscal woes is to cultivate a more productive populace with the earning power to generate sufficient revenue from the typical Ohio 1% municipal income tax rate. If a city government can't survive on 1% of the total earnings of those who live and work in the city, then either they're spending too much, or running the city so as to attract the wrong sort of residents.

JT Adams St

@Nemesis

And how do you propose to "cultivate a more productive populace with the earning power to generate sufficient revenue"?

Nemesis

1. Elect/appoint judges who are not bleeding hearts operating a revolving door on the city's criminal justice system. Give defendants a choice of jail or a one way bus ticket out of town, to be jailed if they return.

2.Become less inviting to section 8 housing.

3.Declare DJ's a nuisance and bulldoze it.

4. Stop spending $800K/year on handouts for those who reject the social contract. Spend THAT money on fixing the roads used most by productive taxpaying residents.

5. Privatize more public venues so certain subtle behaviors which promote degeneracy can be grounds for exlusion.

7. Stop wasting the city's time and money hounding people who rent houses to the sort of visitors who can pay several thousand dollars a week for vacation housing.

That's a start. Attacking successful businesses and expecting them to subsidize handouts for the unproductive is NOT the sort of thing productive, taxpaying, job creating people find attractive in a city.

JT Adams St

I don't think that anyone is going to open a business in Sandusky if the city bulldozes DJ's, or if more Chaussee homes become available for rent. And none of your ideas will fix a single pothole, remove a single dead tree, or pay to staff fire station no. 7.

Babo

Also, the majority of his ideas are unconstitutional.

Comrade Boose

Wrong again most cities are higher then 1% income tax. If you would have taken the time to go to Mr. Murray's town hall meeting you would have learned this.

GEAUGA LAKE and GENEVA on the lake were being used as comparables as run down tourist attractions.

Nemesis

No, most cities with an overabundance of dependent class are higher than 1%. The most prosperous cities are right at 1% or have a credit for working outside the city that gets them to an effective rate of 1%, because they understand the Laffer Curve.

Grauga Lake is an excellent example of Cedar Fair withdrawing investment from a park because of a hostile local government.
You said Geauga Lake was COMPARABLE TO Geneva. There is no comparison. Geauga Lake is in a bedroom community of outrageously expensive homes. Geneva is a rural trash hamlet.

Comrade Boose

Once again you miss the point Geauga Lake the amusement park and Geneva on the lake are comparable because they were both rundown places. Cedar Fair bought Geauga Lake from Six Flags who bought it from someone else it was never the jewel on the lake like Cedar Point. Looking forward to seeing you Sunday.

Nemesis

"Once again you miss the point Geauga Lake the amusement park and Geneva on the lake are comparable because they were both rundown places."

You compared them to each other, not to Sandusky. Proofread what you write. Geauga lake was NOT run down. It was a comparable to CF's Anaheim park in size, and actually had more first tier thrill rides, and was quite a nice park. When Cedar Fair bought it, the only change was they lost the marine mammal shows because the USDA won't allow Cedar Fair to have marine mammals. The area surrounding Geauga Lake has no comparison to Geneva - it's one of the most posh suburbs of Cleveland - that's WHY Geauga Lake closed - the community was hostile to its presence because people didn't like paying half a million for a house and hearing the noise of an amusement park, and they passed legislation that made it impossible for the park to remain competitive in the long term.(sound familiar?)

"Looking forward to seeing you Sunday".

Yeah, keep looking...you won't see me.

Babo

The Admissions tax is a special tax to compensate cities like Sandusky that have to provide the infrastructure for these massive entertainment complexes. Sandusky has foregone improvements on all of its infrastructure in favor of maintaining streets to CP and had to overbuild its water and sewer capacity to compensate for the seasonal demand.

Also Amusement parks and other entertainment venues do not pay sales tax on their sales as do most other businesses. So think of it as a tax in lieu of sales tax paid by tourists that stays local rather than going to the state and county.

In the past some have argued that this tax would harm Cedar Point but as others have pointed out the Admissions Tax is paid by the customer not Cedar Point who merely collects it as a tax on top of the ticket price. To put to bed once and for all the argument that Cedar Point pays the tax and not the customer check out their $120.00 season pass offer. It clearly states the price is $120.00 (6 x $20.00 payments) PLUS all applicable fees and taxes.

The Hero Zone's picture
The Hero Zone

Thanks for the explanation, Babo!

Nemesis

"Sandusky has foregone improvements on all of its infrastructure in favor of maintaining streets to CP"

Reality - $2 million a year is MORE than enough to maintain the streets to CP.

"and had to overbuild its water and sewer capacity to compensate for the seasonal demand."

Reality - it's a fee based service - all users pay in proportion to the burden they place on the system.

"Also Amusement parks and other entertainment venues do not pay

sales tax on their sales as do most other businesses."
Reality - they pay sales tax on all applicable transactions. In-park spending, not gate receipts, is their primary performance benchmark and every dime of it is subject to sales tax.

"the Admissions Tax is paid by the customer not Cedar Point who merely collects it as a tax on top of the ticket price."

I suggest you go take an accounting course. Pay special attention to the term "fungible" They are under no obligation to pass the cost on to customers.

"To put to bed once and for all the argument that Cedar Point pays the tax and not the customer check out their $120.00 season pass offer. It clearly states the price is $120.00 (6 x $20.00 payments) PLUS all applicable fees and taxes."

And yet, your credit card is only charged $120 dollars. PERIOD. I guess the applicable fees and taxes are paid in pixie dust.

Babo

The paid shill returns with lots of bluster but no facts. Again here's the link to the ad for season passes. https://www.cedarpoint.com/tickets/.

Also you neglect to add in the incremental costs associated with having to maintain a much larger water and sewer system than necessary year round to meet extremes in seasonal demand and the problems the city faces with EPA due to failing to separate storm and sanitary sewers as another poster points out.

Nemesis

"The paid shill"

That's funny. If, as you claim, this won't have any negative effect on CP's profitability, then who would pay me, and why on earth would they want to?

You've claimed that the tax costs CP nothing because the tourist pays it, that it won't hurt CP's profitability, and that tourists won't even notice the price difference. In fact, to hear you tell it, it's an unmitigated win-win that will pretty much restore truth, justice, the American Way, and the nickel candy bar. So then, exactly WHO would this hurt enough that they would pay me to oppose it? To assert that I'm a paid shill is to assert that this has a serious financial downside for someone in a position to invest, OR disinvest in this community.

So which one is it?

"returns with lots of bluster but no facts. Again here's the link to the ad for season passes. https://www.cedarpoint.com/tickets/.

FACT: As another reader posted, when you add it to the shopping cart, no charge for the tax is listed

"Also you neglect to add in the incremental costs associated with having to maintain a much larger water and sewer system than necessary year round to meet extremes in seasonal demand and the problems the city faces with EPA due to failing to separate storm and sanitary sewers as another poster points out."

Those problems are at the extreme other end of town and totally unrelated to CP. The maintenance costs are covered by the additional fees, especially when one considers that sewer fees are based on water usage, and CP uses millions of gallons in their waterpark rides that never go into the sewer system.

Furthermore, the development along 250 in Perkins has deiven far more expansion of water treatment capacity than CP.

WhatTheHeck

I bought my niece a CP pass and it cost me $197.00

Babo

You were taken, as they advertise the price at 6 payments of $20.00 plus fees and taxes. Of course maybe their processing fees will make up the difference in which case it's a misleading ad IMO.

Ask for a refund of the difference between what you paid and the sale price.

DGMutley

CP pass can be very costly with all the bells and whistles. But ya only go around once so what the hey.

Nor'easter

Improvements for the Cedar Point route and sewer and water services exceed $100,000,000.00 since the city has spent major money on maintaining streets and separating sewer lines as required by EPA Federal Court orders. Make the records requests and you would be informed.

Comrade Boose

Want to stay updated on fire station closing (Station 7 closed again today, sixth time in May)and which street are bad check us out at www.facebook.com/RebuildSandusky Like us on Facebook and get an alert when station 7 and or 3's is closed

SamAdams

Good article in some ways, but it sounded to me like the reporter interviewed the wrong person. Bird seemed lukewarm at best, and certainly wasn't all that knowledgeable about the issue OR the group promoting the change! If there are Rebuild Sandusky members reading the comments, could one (or more) of you provide more details?

What I DO know: AVERAGE admissions taxes are about 8%. Ours is 3%. I can't imagine jumping straight to 8% is a good idea (besides being greedy in a very nasty way), but what's the problem with 5% or 6%?

Who's subject to admission taxes? Cedar Point, obviously, but how about theaters? Museums?

I can't understand how Commissioners would prefer to raise an income tax on year 'round residents, many of whom are already cash-strapped. If the City pays for the roads -- and it does -- why aren't the tourists helping out? Nothing wrong with that! There's PLENTY wrong with a Commission that seems unwilling to do anything EXCEPT cut services and raise taxes that would generate less money and hurt a lot worse!

JT Adams St

Andy Ouriel interviewed the right person, and the article correctly summarizes the goals of Rebuild Sandusky: repair the roads, keep Station No. 7 open, and remove the dead street trees. Those are simple goals that affect everyone in the city. The belief of Rebuild Sandusky is that those goals can be funded through an increase in the admissions tax. The group's objective is to circulate petitions this summer, and have an admissions tax increase on the ballot in November. The current consensus appears to be that the voters will be asked to approve an admissions tax rate of 6%. But first, an attorney has to be paid to draft the language for the ballot initiative, which is the purpose of the upcoming fundraising event. Obviously, the group has a lot of work to do in the next few months.

Nemesis

They don't need an attorney. It's not that hard.

DGMutley

Agree.

Nor'easter

In order to be sure there is not a legal technical error, a qualified municipal law attorney is a necessity. Are you volunteering?

Nemesis

"What I DO know: AVERAGE admissions taxes are about 8%."

Um no, 8% represents the HIGHEST figure cited.

"Ours is 3%. I can't imagine jumping straight to 8% is a good idea
(besides being greedy in a very nasty way), but what's the problem with 5% or 6%?"

What's wrong with 4% - it solves the budget crisis without handing commissioners a windfall bonus with which to get into mischief.

"Who's subject to admission taxes? Cedar Point, obviously, but how about theaters? Museums?"

Yeah, how about that? The maritime museam, the Merry Go Round museum? The State Theater? = all of them struggling non-profits that bring visitors to downtown?

"I can't understand how Commissioners would prefer to raise an income tax on year 'round residents, "

They wouldn't. It's a false flag. Ever hear of reverse psychology? People are being played.

Sam, the tourists ARE helping out. The admissions tax more than covers the incremental burden on city infrastructure and services attributable to CP. Think about it - what's the biggest line item in the budget? Police payroll - who commits all the crime in Sandusky, tourists or residents?

Go back to your first principle, per Jefferson - that government governs best which governs least. Any scheme that gives government room to spend more is bound to lead to bad results. The additional revenue will go to moving City Hall and more handouts to the dependent class to buy their votes, and the streets will remain unpaved.

Babo

Eight percent is what most world class amusement parks pay and is roughly equal to the sales tax figure which Amusement parks do not pay on their admissions sales.

Nemesis

Sam incorrectly cited 8% as the AVERAGE. I stated it is the maximum. Given that we know parks that pay 0 and 3 percent, for there to be an AVERAGE of 8, or for you to have a legitimate beef with what I said, there must be parks paying significantly more. NAME ONE.

Yeah, I know....math is hard.

Babo

I was pointing out that world class amusement parks typically pay 8% admission tax. Since CP widely claims to be "the best amusement park in the world" it follows it is a world class park and should be expected to charge its customers world class prices including taxes to support the community within which it conducts business.

Nemesis

Kings Island is every bit as world class, and pays no admissions tax. The extent to which local government sees the need to levy confiscatory taxes punitively targeted at one local company is not a measure of the quality of the the company's product except in the mind of a marxist for whom "success" and "profit" are dirty words.

Babo

I must have missed the revolution in Orlando Florida.

Nemesis

Just because they impose such a tax doesn't mean they tout is as a basis for measuring the quality of their amusement parks.

But hey, I get it...logic is hard for some people.

Babo

Obviously.

Nor'easter

Try Las Vegas. Their admissions tax is 10%.

KURTje

Vicki I respect your opinion since you are honest. Don't laugh....could some kind of "lottery" be utilized? (just an idea)

Babo

Another idea to consider is a property tax dedicated to streets and infrastructure and then make sure properties are properly valued.

Nemesis

Sure, we could explore that, rather than storming the causeway with pitchforks and torches.

twosenseworth

The city already has a tax dedicated to street improvement. It came in the form of a $5 added fee for license plates years ago. The only problem is that most of the funds collected were eventually diverted for salaries, not street repairs. As for your property tax suggestion, I will offer you a resounding NO to any new property taxes for any purpose. I believe in living within my means, and so should the city.

One last thought to chew on. If this admission tax venture is successful, the added $5M will surely build a new city building surrounded by crusty streets and felled trees.

Nemesis

EXACTLY!!! Good point about the license plate fee.

JT Adams St

So let the streets fall apart because we're afraid that, against the will of the entire community, Dennis Murray, Jr. will spend the entire increase in the admissions tax, which could amount to $30 million over 10 years, on moving city hall? Will that happen with the assistance of unmarked United Nations helicopters, or will this operation call for assistance from the denizens of Area 51?

DGMutley

If you've driven around the streets lately you'll see that the permissive tax clearly is not enough to maintain our streets.

The city is seriously underfunded. Good management isn't robbing Peter to pay Paul.

The city is fast becoming crisis driven which eventually is going to cost the residents big-time.

Nor'easter

Get involved and be sure the language of the petition requires street, tree and fire station 7 is the only way the money can be used.

YouMustBeJoking

Either raise the admission tax to 6%. Or make them pay sales tax on EVERYTHING from parking to tickets etc. Nemesis, I don't know why you are objecting to this. But it is the best move in regards to the residents of Sandusky, and for the safety of the residents as well as the tourist, by being able to keep all 3 fire stations open, and fully staffed. Our roads are the worst that I have seen them in over 30 years. Please realize this is the best option for a city whose residents are forced to cater to the tourist. We are forced to pay more for things just because Cedar Point is here. If you don't believe me look at the area dollar menus, they are now $1.69 - $2.59. If you drive to Norwalk. it's much less. Oh and don't forget about the bumper to bumper traffic, which turns a 5 minute trip into 45 minutes, if your lucky. What about the streets these tourist use in OUR city? Why is it ok for Cedar Point to charge Each and every vehicle that drives on the causeway? Even if your not parking, even if you simply missed the turn onto 1st street and was forced to cross over the causway in order to turn around, you still MUST pay a fee for simply using Cedar Points road. If a bus full of people from out of town go to Cedar Point, pay to park and pay to get in, they have a picnic, with the food that they brought from home, they ride some rides and then head back out of town. How much money did Sandusky make off of them? ZERO, NOTTA. But that's fair right? I don't think so. Raising the admission tax to 6% is a bargain. I purchase season passes for my family every year, and paying an extra 6% wouldn't change that, not one bit.

Babo

Sales taxes do not go to the city but to the state (majority) and to the county. A sales tax increase would be the worst tax to impose on admissions as the city bears the burden but the state receives the benefit.

JT Adams St

Nemesis isn't objecting. He/she is trying to generate enough posts about this article to put it at the top of the top comments list. It's just like the commissioners proposing an income tax increase to generate a movement to increase the admissions tax. Crafty buggers, the lot of them.

Nemesis

"Either raise the admission tax to 6%. Or make them pay sales tax on EVERYTHING from parking to tickets etc. "

Fine, but then EVERY business in the state pays sales tax on those things and the admission tax goes to zero. Kasich actually proposed rolling most services into the taxable category, and people howled. What transactions are subject to the sales tax is a separate issue, decided at the state level.

"Nemesis, I don't know why you are objecting to this. "

1. It's a massive increase in overall taxation and spending by a city government known neither for prudent spending nor for being responsive to how residents want money spent.

2. It's a class warfare attack on those who actually make the local economy functional.

3. It's an attempt to have working, taxpaying tourists subsidize services to a population with way too many non-working, non-taxpaying residents. i.e. marxist redistribution of wealth. A significant percentage of the supporters want an 8% admissions tax because they want to eliminate the city income tax altogether.

"But it is the best move in regards to the residents of Sandusky, and for the safety of the residents as well as the tourist, by being able to keep all 3 fire stations open, and fully staffed."

No, it's not - there are other ways to solve those problems, like repurposing the city's planned $800K in dole spending this year.

"Our roads are the worst that I have seen them in over 30 years."

Not because of Cedar Point. Just because the city has been poorly run doesn't mean we bleed the one successful local industrry to fix the problem.

"We are forced to pay more for things just because Cedar Point is here. If you don't believe me look at the area dollar menus, they are now $1.69 - $2.59. If you drive to Norwalk. it's much less."

I don't patronize fast food places enough to notice, and neither should you if you want to live a long healthy life.
"Oh and don't forget about the bumper to bumper traffic, which turns a 5 minute trip into 45 minutes, if your lucky."

Not if you choose your routes wisely.

"What about the streets these tourist use in OUR city?"

What about them? 90% of CP traffic drives less than 4 miles each way within the city limits, using, at best, 3% of city roads..
The current admissions tax, along with the income taxes paid by CP and generated indirectly by CP guest spending, are 15-20% of the city budget. Do the math.

"Why is it ok for Cedar Point to charge Each and every vehicle that drives on the causeway? Even if your not parking, "

Because it's a private road they built with private money.

"even if you simply missed the turn onto 1st street and was forced to cross over the causway in order to turn around, you still MUST pay a fee for simply using Cedar Points road. "

No, that's not true. I've made many a U turn before the toll booth when dropping someone off, and never gotten so much as a funny look.

"If a bus full of people from out of town ...How much money did Sandusky make off of them? ZERO, NOTTA. "

No, Sandusky made 3% of their ticket price, and income tax from everyone who made their fun possible.

"But that's fair right? I don't think so."

But it's fair to make a tourist, who has already paid federal and state taxes to subsidize Sandusky's overabundance of dependent class members through SNAP, Section 8, ADC, etc., further subsidize the police department that spends most of its time keeping those same residents from shooting each other?

"Raising the admission tax to 6% is a bargain. I purchase season passes for my family every year, and paying an extra 6% wouldn't change that, not one bit."

That's YOUR elasticity of demand, not everyone's. Your
willingness to blindly pay whatever price you're told is what makes the price keep climbing.

Train

Nemesis must be a CP stockholder

Nemesis

Wrong - the only relationship I have with CP is that I visit the park a few times a year. HOWEVER, your assertion is interesting. IF, as Babo and others claim, raising the tax to 8% won't have any negative effect on CP's profitability, then why would a stockholder be expected to object? So, thank you for making my point.

Nor'easter

Are you a Cedar Fair stockholder?

Nemesis

I refer you to the first sentence of the comment to which you are responding. Did I stutter?

Babo

Stuttering is a verbal communication affliction and not applicable to writing.

Nemesis

Some of us can grasp metaphors.

Babo

But you're not one of us.

Nemesis

Once again, that's all you have to offer?
I know you are but what am I?

DGMutley

Nice article on Rebuilding Sandusky Andy Ouriel!

sorryhog

Now you wonder why people don't fraternize downtown?

ohioengineer

Be careful not to kill the golden goose. I lived in the Akron area for 25 years and watched as both government and unions bled the "rich" tire companies. Anyone want to hazard a guess as to how many tires are manufactured in Akron today?

WhatTheHeck

This is why Sandusky lost their factories. This is no comparasion to admision tax. well Akron must have the same politicians running their money too. your roads are just as bad. Why should the tax payers of Sandusky have to pay more income tax. We are already a poor town. Give the city residents a break. Why couldn't the commissioners put this on the ballet along with the 7 going down to 5. I guess they want to have their meetings in a car like the 70's. they did this so they can get a raise also and only need 3 commissioners to pass something instead of four.

Nemesis

"This is no comparasion to admision tax."

Wrong. It's a business; it seeks to profit. If the city taxes it and diminishes its profits, it will seek more hospitable venues.

JT Adams St

Cedar Fair isn't the only business in town that seeks to make a profit. There are shops in downtown Sandusky that also seek to make a profit. There are auto dealers in town that seek to make a profit. There's a mall full of stores all of which to seek to make a profit. And all of their customers pay 7% plus in sales tax. Why? Not because we live in a communist community, but because, over the course of decades, that's one of the methods that the residents of this state have chosen to fund their state and local governments. Which tax is fairer, a 7% tax on school supplies for children, or a 6% tax on roller coaster rides?

brett kinzel

The pro-tax people are barking up the wrong tree. Sandusky is a very small city of 25k people. We are on the largest protected harbor on the great lakes, and have a billion dollar comnpany within our borders. But we are still broke, or can't fix potholes, or whatever it is you want, or think the tax will correct. Our city manager position pays almost as much as the Govenors position, and our law director makes more than the state attorney general. Taxes have to be levied on a group, not an individual. The number is 98% and rising.

Babo

Yes the group consists of the millions of tourists who patronize the area avail themselves of the infrastructure and help destroy it and then return to their communities where they do not have to live with the negative quality of life issues created by enormous influx of people and traffic.

You are correct on one point the law director is grossly overpaid and incompetent to boot.

Nemesis

"the negative quality of life issues created by enormous influx of people and traffic"

Yeah Babo, those tourists are TOTALLY responsible for Sandusky's quality of life issues. It was only last week, I was walking through Legacy Village in the eastern suburbs of Cleveland the other day and heard two soccer moms getting out of their minivans talking about how this weekend they were going to strap on a Tech-9 (or was it a pink and black hammer?) and drive to DJ's in Sandtown to pop a cap in some ho for making eyes at their baby daddies.

wjs

If you want to look to Cleveland for inspiration on the admissions tax rate, you might want to consider the money that could be raised by also accepting their 2% income tax rate.

WhatTheHeck

Yea, lets run the few customers these Mom and Pop businesses have totally out of their business. That is all we do is tax ourselves out of a life Everyone get ready to stay home the rest of their lives. Get ready wjs to stay home, cause their will be no more small business in Sandusky. Sales, property, and income tax is the answer. Bla, Bla, and Bla

worddrow811

This group deserves a lot of credit for being willing to try something, anything, to make Sandusky a better place for all who live there or visit.

One has to look at the big picture. No one is going to want to move to a place that looks scary and or neglected when one drives through town to get to Cedar Point, are they? Remember Detroit?

To all you naysayers, you are part of the problem. Jumping to conclusions before anything has been done is not going to solve the problem.

Make Sandusky a beautiful place to live, reduce the crime and put the city's government under the microscope to carry out their job which is making Sandusky a beautiful place to live and reduce the crime.

JT Adams St

Exactly right. Nobody wants to open a business in a city that looks like a neglected dump. An admissions tax increase allows Sandusky to maintain its very competitive 1% income tax rate, while also investing in much needed infrastructure improvements. Maybe Wobser will be a bust, but an admissions tax increase would give him the funds necessary to move the city in the right direction, and develop more local businesses. Starving the government of funds will tie Wobser's hands, and leave him lurching from one round of budget cuts to the next.

reader

JT has an excellent point. Mr. Murray's town hall meetings convinced us the city needs more revenue.

The problems are apparent...Closed fire station, dead and dying trees, crumbling, pothole covered streets...

The new city manager needs additional revenue to solve these and other problems and make our city a great place to live, work, and play.

twosenseworth

Starving the government of funds? Are you serious? Apparently you don't remember the one-time $300K First Energy windfall a few years ago, dropped right in the laps of our financially starved commissioners? I was under the impression that much-needed repairs to the city building were finally going to happen, after years of neglect, but the whole cache managed to be repurposed. It's a familiar pattern. More funds aren't going to solve the over-spending issues. Funds dedicated for a specific purpose mean nothing.

DGMutley

JT is exactly right. "Starving the government of funds will tie Wobser's hands, and leave him lurching from one round of budget cuts to the next."

It puts him in the very same situation that the Commission was in when the 300 grand was misappropriated. We've been underfunded far too long.

JT Adams St

And where did the $300,000 go? And which of those projects or services do you object to the money being spent on? And how does the re-purposing of a one-time $300,000 windfall prove that the city will misspend tens of millions of dollars in additional revenue over the next 10 years?

Nemesis

"This group deserves a lot of credit for being willing to try something, anything, to make Sandusky a better place for all who live there or visit. "

Doing the wrong thing is worse than doing nothing.

"One has to look at the big picture. No one is going to want to move to a place that looks scary"

and that's the tourists/CP's fault?

"Remember Detroit?"

Detroit was the result of too much government, and you're advocating more of the same.

"To all you naysayers, you are part of the problem. Jumping to conclusions before anything has been done is not going to solve the problem."

Oh, better we should wait until a bad idea has wrecked things and it's too late before we object?

"Make Sandusky a beautiful place to live, reduce the crime and put the city's government under the microscope to carry out their job "

OK, but how does that translate into dropping $5million extra in the commissioners' lap while hurting the profitability of the one entity driving the local economy.

worddrow811

You're exactly what I am saying. Your negativity and vitriolic attitude is an example of complaining about everything without offering anything to make it better. Does it give you pleasure to take my opinions and tear them down so you look/feel smart? I don't see you out there doing anything but criticizing.

I stand by what I said. Since you proclaim your self to be the All knowing Wizard, tell us what you see. Nothing. I thought so.

Nemesis

"Does it give you pleasure to take my opinions and tear them down so you look/feel smart? I don't see you out there doing anything but criticizing."

What you fail to grasp in your emoting is that it's not always about you, or about me. It's not about how I feel or how you feel.
Stop emoting and start thinking. This is about a proposal for a major change in how the city is run. That change will have objective consequences, and people here differ on what they will be. I am presenting fact based arguments why it's a bad idea with bad consequences, because those bad consequences would do objective harm to the local economy. Others are arguing their position that the consequences will be good. It's about the good of the local economy, not about your all-consuming feelings.

worddrow811

What you fail to grasp, is that we are all in this together here in Erie county, Ohio and no you are not presenting fact-based anything.

As I said, towns do not prosper when they are not kept up, the crime rate is high and people stop caring. This you fail to comprehend because you want to be RIGHT. There won't be any local economy if everyone is forced to move away because the local governments fail to act on increasing taxes to pay for the repairs and upkeep of our fair county that they want to visit.

I see no problem in asking tourists to help pay for the damages that they do to our streets. We need to draw industry back to this area and slums are not going to entice anyone to live here. Tourists have their place and when I go somewhere, I become a tourist in their space. It's not just me, me, me.

We spent an hour this afternoon sitting in a parking lot on Milan road at Steak n shake just watching the traffic. Were they all tourists? Probably not, but they were all using the roadway to get to wherever. We should not expect the residents of Erie County to pay for their wear and tear on our streets.

If having a tax collected by Cedar Point to pay for this helps all of us, then why not?

Towns are never built all at once and they don't deteriorate all at once.

And yes, it is about how I feel and what's wrong with that? At least I care and why don't you? We are all in this together and those who fail to understand that, lose.

Nemesis

"What you fail to grasp, is that we are all in this together here in Erie county, Ohio and no you are not presenting fact-based anything."

I fully grasp that, and yes, I have been making fact based arguments, and I will continue to do so below.

"As I said, towns do not prosper when they are not kept up, the crime rate is high and people stop caring. "

You're right, but the tourists don't cause the crime, or the apathy. That's all on the residents. This whole "bleed the tourists" concept doesn't help that, because it further absolves the residents of responsibility for their own city.

"This you fail to comprehend because you want to be RIGHT."

And still you make it about feelings. No, I don't want to be right, I want the city to do right, and my position on what right is is based on my knowledge of economics, not on the fact that I'm emotionally impressed that a bunch of people are passionate about an ill-considered scheme.

"There won't be any local economy if everyone is forced to move away because the local governments fail to act on increasing taxes to pay for the repairs and upkeep of our fair county that they want to visit."

The problem with that statement is the assumption that increasing taxes is the only, or even the best, way to get the repairs done. You see, in your emotional fog, what you fail to grasp is that I'm not saying the streets shouldn't be repaired, but rather this is NOT the only or best way to get it done.

"I see no problem in asking tourists to help pay for the damages that they do to our streets. "

Nor do I - again, you fail to grasp what the contention is. The tourists ALREADY pay completely for the damages they do to our streets AND THEN SOME. CP, through admissions and income taxes, directly provides over 20% of the city's budget, and that's WITHOUT considering taxes generated by tourists spending money off CP property.

"We need to draw industry back to this area and slums are not going to entice anyone to live here. Tourists have their place "

Tourists don't create slums. Slum dwellers create slums.

"We spent an hour this afternoon sitting in a parking lot on Milan road at Steak n shake just watching the traffic. Were they all tourists? Probably not, but they were all using the roadway to get to wherever. We should not expect the residents of Erie County to pay for their wear and tear on our streets."

1. That wasn't in Sandusky.
2. This isn't about the county, it's about the CITY.
3. Most of the damage to that stretch of 250 comes from semi's delivering goods to stores along 250 for RESIDENTS to buy. When a truck hauls 80,000lb. of pavers to Menard's. that's not for the benefit of tourists.

"If having a tax collected by Cedar Point to pay for this helps all of us, then why not?"

Because it doesn't happen in a vacuum. There are consequences and secondary effects - taxes are not magical panaceas. My point is that those consequences will do more damage to the local economy than they are worth. My other point is that just because you raise taxes doesn't mean the streets will get paved. We already DID that - adding $5 to the fees for license plate renewals SPECIFICALLY to pay for repairing local streets, and the city went and spent it on something else.

"And yes, it is about how I feel and what's wrong with that? At least I care and why don't you?"

If I didn't care, I wouldn't bother to participate. Just because I'm not sobbing about how someone disagreed with me and that made me all butthurt doesn't mean I don't care; it just means I'm not a second grader.

So, to summarize:
-Just because someone disagrees on HOW to get something done doesn't mean they disagree on whether to get it done at all.
-Just because someone disagrees with you doesn't mean they don't care, or that they are trying to make you cry.
-The intensity of your emotions about a problem don't contribute to finding a sound solution.

worddrow811

Perhaps, nemesis, if you would stop worrying about my feelings and get over yourself, we could agree to disagree. People like you are always finding ways to insult others to make your point.

You are saying that they will fail without so much as a by your leave and that speaks to me of arrogance. How many times did Edison not invent the light bulb before he did?

At least I use correct grammar - check your last sentence, second grader not.

None of us know what will or won't work, but unless we try something, we have no right to assume it won't.

At no time have I been sobbing, crying or butthurt, whatever that is!

I am a positive, anything is possible person and you appear to go the other way.

Now go do your job and take this apart sentence by sentence and see if I give a hoover dam!

Nemesis

"None of us know what will or won't work, but unless we try something, we have no right to assume it won't."

Yes, we do. It's a big wide world and there's almost nothing truly new that hasn't been tried. History is a litany of repeated mistakes. We all have every right to critically evaluate an idea and reject it if it doesn't pass muster.

"I am a positive, anything is possible person and you appear to go the other way."

Which shows how little you've been paying attention. I'm supposed to be this wellspring of negativity who wants the city to collapse, according to you, all because I won't jump on this particular bandwagon, when you've offered absolutely no sound reason to get behind this idea.

Instead of repeatedly telling me how horrible I am for disagreeing with your little pipe dream, why don't you try offering some intelligent reasons for me to believe in it. Tell me for instance:

-how this is going to get the streets paved any better than the LAST new tax created specifically for that purpose, that was spent on something else.

-why, when you leftists want to tax tobacco or something else that's bad for people, you're all about using the tax code to shape people's behavior, but when you want to jack up this tax, you believe it won't have any impact on the choices and behavior of tourists or investors?

-how, in a city with hundreds of miles of roads, contributing 20% of the city's budget isn't enough to cover the wear and tear on 4 miles of those roads.

-how putting the screws to CP to give the commissioners more money to spend AS THEY PLEASE is going to magically turn into paradise a town whose main problem is entirely too many people who would rather stay home and get stoned all day than actually work for a living.

Don't give me more about how I'm a big meany - consider those points and give me substantive answers. Tell me why this is the RIGHT thing to do, not that we should do it just for the sake of doing SOMETHING.

worddrow811

you're a nice person, you are correct in all that you say, speak and do and God loves you, no matter what and I don't have anything more to offer so here it is, uncle! Have a nice day. I'm going to go take a long walk off a short pier.

JT Adams St

The facts:

(1) The customers of other businesses in town pay over 7% in sales tax.

(2) Rebuild Sandusky is proposing to increase the admissions tax to 6%, which is LESS than the sales tax.

(3) There is no reason why a winter coat or school supplies should be taxed at a higher rate than roller coaster rides.

(4) The fact that Cedar Fair is highly profitable does not support the idea that its customers should be exempt from taxes. Just the opposite. A highly profitable enterprise is in the best position to absorb any diminution in revenues as the result of a modest tax increase on its customers.

(5) When the admissions tax was originally imposed, Cedar Point didn't pack up and move to Perkins. Instead, it grew exponentially.

(6) The City has no money to pave the roads, or pay to staff Fire Station No. 7.

(7) There is no "waste" in the city budget. And the opponents of the admissions tax have not identified any "waste" in the city budget. Imagine that John Smith budgets $1,000 per year to maintain his house (roof, siding, trim, gutters, etc.), while Jane Doe budgets $0. Both of their roofs begin to leak. How much money will Jane waste on her roof repair? None, because she doesn't have any. According to Nemesis and Wes Poole, Jane's a genius. John will waste $150, because he will overpay for shingles. Who is doing a better job of managing their budget?

(8) Balancing the budget by not repairing roads simply creates additional infrastructure expenses over the long-term. The opponents of the admissions tax never discuss when they are actually going to fix the roads or where that money is going to come from.

(9) Ten to twelve minutes is a very long time to wait for an ambulance in a medical emergency. If you don't think 10 to 12 minutes is a long time to wait for an ambulance, imagine if you found your child unconscious in a swimming pool, and then watch 12 minutes tick by on your clock.

(10) The people who are opposed to the admissions tax have no ideas about how to pay to fix the roads or staff Fire Station No. 7. Instead, they simply whine about how the poor get handouts from the government.

(11) An increase in the admissions tax rate to 6% is a viable solution to a real problem. And it's not unfair to Cedar Fair or its customers. Instead, a 6% admissions tax for Sandusky is consistent with the 8% admissions tax in Cleveland, the 8% admissions tax in Orlando, and the 7% sales tax in Erie County.

Nemesis

JT, about your facts:

(1) The sales tax is a separate consideration. The state of Ohio decided services were not taxable, and when the governor proposed changing that, you leftists HOWLED.
(2) NO ONE has authoritatively named a figure yet for the proposed increase, and until you can show me the printed petition with a hard figure on it, the best infomation is the number that has been publicly by the most supporters of the increase, which is 8%
(3) See #1
(4) No one has suggested that the fact CP is profitable suggests it should be taxed less. You need to google "straw man fallacy"
(5) At the time the admissions tax was first imposed, CP was a standalone entity. It is now just ONE option among many for Cedar Fair's capital improvement investment. Cedar Fair has weathered one proxy battle that was partially about shifting headquarters and investment away from Sandusky, and has closed one profitable northern Ohio park due to a hostile host community.
(6) The city has $800K to spend on handouts for the dependent class - it's already budgeted, as reported in the Register last week. The city has funds from the $5 vehicle registration surcharge that are specifically for road repair and are being used for other purposes like administrative salaries.
(7) See #6.
(8) See # 6
(9) See #6
(10) See #6 (and BTW, I don't oppose an increase in the admissions tax to keep the fire station staffed, but 4% is more than adequate for that.)
(11) It's unfair to ask tourists to pay even more than the 20+% of the city budget they currently contribute, when the incremental burden they place on the infrastructure is well below 5%. Cleveland has directly contributed half a billion dollars in direct subsidies to the entities upon which it imposes an admissions tax - an admissions tax of 25% wouldn't begin to pay the interest on the construction loans for the stadiums the city GAVE them. Do I even need to talk about the airport and other subsidizing investments Orlando has made? Furthermore, Mason, OH, with ZERO admissions tax on Kings Island, is a better place to live than Cleveland or Orlando.

JT Adams St

The sales tax is not a "separate consideration." Just like the admissions tax, the sales tax is a means of generating revenue. There is no reason why the sales tax should be 7% and the admissions tax should be 3%. Why should entertainment be taxed at less than half the rate of essential goods? The "because it's Cedar Fair" answer just doesn't cut it.

What are the specific $800,000 in handouts that you think the city can cut from its budget? I spoke with Jeff Smith today about waste that could be trimmed from the budget to fund road improvements. He agreed that there was no waste in the budget that could be cut to fund road improvements. (Apparently, he has been reading Mao's Little Red Book in his spare time.)

You basically admit that even if $800,000 in unspecified cuts were made to the budget, that would keep Fire Station No. 7 open, but not leave any money to improve the roads. So, even if the $800,000 in cuts (that apparently no commissioner supports) were made, we'd still be left with crumbling roads and 300 dead street trees.

No, it's not unfair to tourists to ask them to pay an admissions tax. Everyone who goes to Cedar Point--both tourists and local residents--has to pay the admissions tax. The same is true of every venue in Sandusky that collects the admissions tax. How is taxing tourists at the EXACT same rate as local residents unfair? Because Cedar Fair doesn't like it?

Cut the BS about Six Flags in Aurora. Was that Cedar Fair's flagship park? No, it was competition for Cedar Fair's flagship park. Do you really think that the park would still be open if the residents of Aurora had thrown rose petals on the street when Cedar Fair execs visited? The fact that Cedar Fair never invested a dime in Six Flags had nothing to do with the fact that it operated a competing park in Sandusky?

Yes, you have suggested that because Cedar Fair is successful, it should be taxed less. Someone suggested, I believe it was you, that because Cedar Fair makes piles of money, if it closed its bank accounts in Sandusky, Citizens Bank would go out of business. Would you make that same argument about Mona Pizza? In fact, most of the arguments that opponents to a tax increase make involve some variation on the theme that because of its enormous wealth, Cedar Fair will be able to punish Sandusky for increasing the admissions tax. Therefore, Sandusky shouldn't tax successful companies, only those that can't afford to leave town. Great plan.

I'm glad that Mason is able to fully fund all of its fire stations and pave its roads, and maintain excellent parks, and attract new residents to town, without collecting any admissions taxes. Unfortunately, Sandusky isn't able to do all of those things without generating more revenue, a point that has been conceded by Dennis Murray and Jeff Smith, and seemingly, Nemesis. If we could get that extra money by a 50% Nemesis tax, without bothering tourists, I'd be all for it. And I'm sure Dennis Murray has a bunch of great ideas for new revenue streams. But they're so great that he wants to copyright them before he shares them with the public. So, we're left with the available ideas--raise the admissions tax and raise the admissions tax.

DGMutley

"Cut the BS about Six Flags in Aurora. Was that Cedar Fair's flagship park? No, it was competition for Cedar Fair's flagship park." --JT

Bingo!

Nemesis

"The sales tax is not a "separate consideration." Just like the admissions tax, the sales tax is a means of generating revenue."

So are the income tax, the gasoline tax, and the inheritance tax. That doesn't make them relevant to this discussion.

"There is no reason why the sales tax should be 7% and the admissions tax should be 3%. Why should entertainment be taxed at less than half the rate of essential goods?"

Why should clothing be taxed, but not food? (in Michigan, clothing is not taxed.) Why should taxation of beverages be based on the percentage of fruit juice? All interesting questions, but not germane to this issue. There have been heated discussions at the state level about what sales should be taxable with various philosophical arguments, but it's a separate issue. However, when the governor suggested taxing services, including entertainment, you leftists vehemently opposed it, so the question becomes, which of your two faces is talking today?

By the way, I'm all for reducing the sales tax, and if you want a general tax on all service transactions (like the fees Murray charges his clients) I'm open to talking about that, but not singling out one class of services in order to target one company.

I might add that there's a very good economic reason to tax essentials and not frills - elasticity of demand - you can predict revenue better when demand will be less responsive to taxation.

"The "because it's Cedar Fair" answer just doesn't cut it. "

Again with the straw man - why don't you try responding to things that HAVE been said?

"What are the specific $800,000 in handouts that you think the city can cut from its budget?"

Go read the Register article from last week. It was all about improving quality of life for the dependent class.

"I spoke with Jeff Smith today about waste that could be trimmed from the budget to fund road improvements. He agreed that there was no waste in the budget "

Surprise, surprise!!!! a politician says there's no room to cut the budget! And of course, you just couldn't find it in your leftist heart to treat anything out of the mouth of a government official as anything but holy writ.

"(Apparently, he has been reading Mao's Little Red Book in his spare time.) "

It wouldn't surprise me. That or some Chomsky. A more appropriate name for your initiative would be Occupy Cedar Point.

"You basically admit that even if $800,000 in unspecified cuts were made to the budget, that would keep Fire Station No. 7 open, but not leave any money to improve the roads. "

No, I don't. I pointed out that it could be put toward both.

"So, even if the $800,000 in cuts (that apparently no commissioner supports)"

So, the fact that the commissioners want it that way is now your justification for this tax increase? Except that the commissioners have come out pretty strongly against this initiative, which was triggered by their calls for an income tax increase. On top of that, they are apparently infallible regarding potential budget cuts. So, exactly HOW do we know when to believe what they say, and when not to?

"How is taxing tourists at the EXACT same rate as local residents unfair?"

Because the tourists are already taxed more than enough to cover the incremental burden they put on the infrastructure. They are already subsidizing services to the non-working segment of Sandusky.

"Cut the BS about Six Flags in Aurora."

It's not BS. Flagship or not, it was profitable. It was served from Cleveland by RTA. Aurora passed legislation that made it impossible for that success to continue long term, because people in the surrounding posh developments didn't want to hear screams and fireworks every evening. And yes, they did invest there. Theming and the general condition of ancillary facilities improved markedly when CF bought it from cash-strapped Six Flags,

"Yes, you have suggested that because Cedar Fair is successful, it should be taxed less. Someone suggested, I believe it was you, that because Cedar Fair makes piles of money, if it closed its bank accounts in Sandusky, Citizens Bank would go out of business. "

I never said anything of the sort, and even if I had, that in no way implies its success is a reason it should be taxed less. It IS a primary driver of the local economy, and that IS a reason not to vindictively levy pointedly targeted EXTRA taxes at it. The sales tax is a broad tax that applies to all businesses, INCLUDING CP, whose primary profit center is fully taxable in-park sales. AND.....

"Would you make that same argument about Mona Pizza?"

Yes, if, for instance, you were suggesting a pizza tax, specifically aimed at one local business category. Your bogus claims apply quite well to a pizza tax. Pizza is not subject to the sales tax - why should recreational food not be taxed as much as essentials like clothing?

"In fact, most of the arguments that opponents to a tax increase make involve some variation on the theme that because of its enormous wealth, Cedar Fair will be able to punish Sandusky for increasing the admissions tax. Therefore, Sandusky shouldn't tax successful companies, only those that can't afford to leave town. Great plan."

1. Sandusky IS taxing CP, and I'm on record in support of a small increase to 4%, even though they are already paying more than their share.

2. Yes, taxation decisions should be based on a dynamic revenue model that acknowledges the fact that entities will adjust their economic activity in response to changes in taxation. Go look up the Laffer Curve.

3. Recent history shows that the risk of Cedar Fair disinvestment is very real. Tax policy has a very real ability to drive away productive economic activity.

4. When a community gets vindictive and confiscatory with existing local businesses, it discourages other potential employers from locating there.

"I'm glad that Mason is able to fully fund all of its fire stations and pave its roads, and maintain excellent parks, and attract new residents to town, without collecting any admissions taxes. Unfortunately, Sandusky isn't able to do all of those things"

So stop and ask yourself WHY is Sandusky unable to do all those things? Does Mason have a magic money tree or a secret diamond mine under their city hall? NO? Well then, what's the difference? The difference is that Sandusky has an overabundance of people who would rather sit and get high all day than go to a job. The difference is Sandusky has more shootings per capita than Cleveland. Sandusky's problems are generated internally, not by tourists.

A week from now, thousands of disreputable-looking bikers will descend on Sandusky, and based on past experience, they'll behave better than the residents. In almost ten years, they've failed to generate as much crime as locals at DJ's do in one night. You want more revenue from tourists? Make it so they can venture into downtown to spend some money without taking their life in their hands.

You want my enthusiastic support, then credibly tell me how this "put the screws to the biggest productive entity in town" proposal of yours will solve those problems, or even keep them from getting worse?

Better yet, tell me how you can guarantee that the $5million windfall revenue increase you're advocating will be spent on repaving the streets rather than building a new Taj Mahal city hall downtown, handouts for the non-working residents, etc.

Without those two elements, all you're doing is attacking the goose that lays the golden egg so politicians can play big spender, and at best delaying the inevitable transformation into a mini-Detroit. Maybe you can answer those questions - your buddy Babo gave up and fell into name-calling.

Babo

Nemesis isn't the Wizard... he's a munchkin. http://www.urbandictionary.com/d...

Nemesis

Really? That's what you want to base this campaign on - namecalling?

Real classy.

Babo

LOL, so you like to dish it out but can't take it.

In any event it was the third definition..the extreme competitive role playing troll.

http://www.slate.com/articles/he...

Nemesis

Dish what out? I respond to your points on the issue, and you call names.

And trust me, if I wanted to play that sort of game, I can dish and take with the best of them.

Babo

Trust you? Why would anyone trust such a negative, and disordered character?

WhatTheHeck

To all you good people come support the admision tax to day at Sail In. The committee needs at least $2000.00 for a retainer for a lawyer to get our petitions started. $7.00 in house and $8.00 to go or delivery. 419 627 9333

sugar

I don't give a rats butt about Cedar Point, better to tax them then me but Nemesis point of Gov's poor stewardship of the money it takes from producers is valid. Why not cut all the city employees pay by 5%? How about we look at their retirement benefits? How about privatizing the water works? How about skipping that 800k handout? Stop taxing everyone to death. I will laugh my self silly of CP does leave, than you will have NOTHING.

WhatTheHeck

Sugar you are cold, do you really feel that way about your 25,000 neighbors?
Wow, God Bless you and your family. I hope your Mom or anyone in your family does not live around Station 7. The city has been protecting the 100 jobs that work in Cp corporate offices. The new CEO's wife hates Sandusky, so we all know the wife will get her way and the CEO will move them. It will cost cp billions to move CP, besides the tourists pays admision tax not CP. If you live in Sandusky Sugar just vote no.

Smcc Alum

The simple answer is that taxes create more problems.

Smcc Alum

The simple answer is that taxes create more problems.

Smcc Alum

The simple answer is that taxes create more problems.

Nor'easter

It is taxes that provide you with bus transportation to school. If you study, you will learn your assertion is false.

Rosa

Cedar Point will not leave over an increase in admissions tax, that extra 2-3percent will not harm them in the least...C'mon, let's get real...
Nemisis must have a great position with Cedar Fair, or is in their pocket....
Most citizens with children have passes, so if we don't mind spending the extra $$$$, the tourist are not going to even notice.

Nemesis

Rosa, do you see the problem with these two statements?

"Cedar Point will not leave over an increase in admissions tax, that extra 2-3percent will not harm them in the least...C'mon, let's get real..."

"Nemisis must have a great position with Cedar Fair, or is in their pocket...."

For starters, the second one is patently false, and I've already covered it - I have NO relationship with Cedar Fair other than being an occassional customer at their parks.

But the bigger problem is the reasoning failure inherent in making those two statements. IF, as you claim, it "will not harm them in the least" THEN WHY would someone acting on their behalf, as you FALSELY claim I am, have any reason to oppose it?

If your answer is that Cedar Fair wrongly believes they will be harmed by this, please supply your economics and business credentials to show us why you know better what effect it will have on them than the executive team of a billion dollar company. Specifically, show us how much money companies YOU run have made as evidence of your superiori ability to predict economic outcomes. I won't hold my breath.

This marks the THIRD time I've caught supporters of this increase making this idiotic combination of claims - it's a good barometer the for lack of wisdom behind this scheme. One would think Rebuild Sandusky would be organized enough to put forth better advocates than this.

Rosa

sorry, I meant Nemesis.