Cedar Point takes lead on admissions tax

Jul 25, 2014
Editor’s note: This is the letter sent from Cedar Point vice president and general manager Jason McClure to Sandusky city manager Eric Wobser concerning the proposed admissions tax increase:

Dear Eric,

As you heard in your first meeting with our team, Cedar Fair recognizes the importance of generating additional economic development in Sandusky. A healthy and growing economy benefits both today’s citizens and importantly, those generations who come behind us.

A little over a year ago we started an internal analysis to determine the best approach to support a broader range of local economic development efforts. This work recognized the loss of resources the city has experienced as the state tax system has evolved.

As you now have learned, taxes paid by Cedar Point to the city represent more than one-third of the total annual tax receipts for the city.

Cedar Point is also responsible for more than 98 percent of the admission taxes the city receives. For the long-term health of the city, we simply must continue to find opportunities to diversify and grow the tax base.

While I know it is extremely early in your tenure with the City, we have been very encouraged by your commitment to taking a thoughtful approach to reinvigorating the local economy.

As we have explained to you, within rational limits, we support broad based taxes such as income taxes, as this aligns everyone’s interests and, to some degree, would start to moderate the city’s reliance on a single tax payer.

To demonstrate our commitment to the opportunities that you see ahead of us, we are prepared to pay additional taxes as notedbelow.

As part of our on-going, corporate tax planning we are prepared to execute an approach that will, based upon our current performance, result in the city receiving additional income tax revenue from Cedar Point of approximately $500,000 annually beginning in 2015.

Additionally, we will support a 1 percent increase in the admission tax rate, subject to the approval of a .25% increase in the city’s income tax rate; and, the absence of any competing admission tax proposals.

These additional revenue streams will help to stabilize the budget challenge. To solidify the city’s commitment to long-term economic development, we have agreed that 50 percent of the admission tax increase will be dedicated to an economic development fund that would be directed by your office.

From 2012 to the end of 2015, Cedar Point will have invested more than $100 million in incremental capital expenditures designed to protect and grow tourist visitation to Cedar Point with ancillary benefits to local businesses. Finding others who will invest in the future of Sandusky is critical. With the increased tax revenues referenced above along with your dedicated commitment to developing a vision for moving Sandusky forward, there will be both the tools and the plan to make a real difference. We look forward to continuing to work in partnership with you and other community leaders to build on the progress implied by this first step. Welcome home to Sandusky. Sincerely,

—Jason McClure
Vice President & General Manager Cedar Point


Sandumpy Proud

LOL! Cedar Point is dictating how much of an increase in admissions tax they will accept and with the stipulation that the .25% income tax is approved? This is hilarious! What's even more funny is how the commissioners bent over for them! What a bunch of clowns all around!

Comrade Boose

It's called a compromise yes it's not what Rebuild Sandusky committee wanted but in the end it is a GREAT deal for Sandusky

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Sandumpy Proud

What a douche


Agree! He just wants what's best for all he wants to Rebuild Sandusky!

Sandumpy Proud

What's even more surprising is how well Jeff Smith went along with this. I thought he was a fiscal conservative.


Great response. I think the city finds it easier to just point to the big dogs to just keep paying instead of supporting economic growth and support in our local business. We have many resources to offer and great potential yet we just sit stagnant.

Sandumpy Proud

I would like to hear Mr. sugar's thoughts on this article.


Well played CF, decimated the citizen led 6% admissions tax drive
and got the Commission to link 1% increase to an income tax increase. Both will likely go down at the polls unless of course there's a huge turn out of non income producers at the polls.


That be me to vote YES! More than once if needed.


That's not difficult to achieve since the city's entire problem is an overabundance of non-working, non-taxpaying people who nonetheless vote.

The letter makes a good point about overdependence on a single taxpayer. Cedar Point stepped up and offered to accept a 33% increase in a punitive tax directly targeted at them, provided the citizens put some skin in the game with a smaller 25% increase. Given that CP currently contributes over a third of the city budget, that's more than fair; it's downright generous, and then, they go even further to give the city a half million dollar annual gift on top of that by restructuring their payroll tax obligations. When was the last time you left a deduction sitting on the table at tax time out of a desire to help the community?


ROTFLMAO!!!! The last paragraph tells it all. I can't stop laughing. CHUMPS.

The Big Dog's back

Quit looking in the mirror, maybe you'll stop.

Julie R.

Blackmail at it's finest.


I agree. Many in Sandusky want to blackmail CP. Businesses don't want taxation without representation. CP pays the admissions tax, then collects income tax from the employees as the city's largest employer and pays property tax. What more do people want? Why would a business want to relocate to Sandusky to encounter the attitude I read in these posts?

Julie R.

As I'm sure you know, that's not what I meant. It's the city of Sandusky that's trying to blackmail the people. (no surprise there)


I see the city as attempting to remain viable so that a successful business can remain viable. Cedar Point is going nowhere, it can't move, but the customers can go somewhere else. Look at old resort towns outside of New York City that once boomed and are now mostly abandoned hotels. Cedar Point can fail which will cause a trickle down effect in the community. You're are all in this together.


It doesn't sound as if you would open a business that employs full time people and hire someone like "big dog".

Would anyone else?

I'm simply trying to understand what happened to all the jobs.


I am guessing Big Dog does not have a job and is on the govt roles.

Sandumpy Proud

So if there wasn't a .25% income tax increase on the ballot Cedar Point wouldn't pay the increased admissions tax? Wow!

Comrade Boose

Think of it as going into a casino You ( the local tax payer) put's $25.00 down on a single deck black jack game then Cedar Point (the casino) matches that bet. You get Black Jack instead of winning $37.50 ( street repairs) you win $75.00 (street repairs, station 7 open, dead tree's taken care of)



Lol giving your money to gov is a huge cr*p shoot, with the taxpayer being on the end of a 44.


Sugar....don't you work either? You seem to write on these blogs all day, every day.


(street repairs, station 7 open, dead tree's taken care of)


A shiny new city hall downtown.

Comrade Boose

If you watched Mr. Wobsers plan he laid out where the tax money is to go no mention of a new shiny city hall

Mr. 25 Cents

Cedar Point is kicking in $500,000 of additional income taxes starting in 2015. If the ballot initiative to increase the income tax to 1.25% fails, Cedar Point will still pay the $500,000 every year.


Actually, that offer seems contingent upon the ballot issue passing. They've made it clear they're not going to carry this burden alone without the residents having skin in the game.

Comrade Boose

Quit misleading the readers

Go to https://www.facebook.com/Rebuild...
watch the video or look at the slides the only thing that is contingent on the income tax passing is the 1% admissions tax not the $500,000.00


Sandusky still has one of the lowest income tax rates around. Port Clinton, Milan, Norwalk, Fremont, and Bellevue all have 1.5%. Huron is at 1%. Vermilion is at 2.5%. You should support this proposal and make sure the commissioners spend it wisely.


Did you not read the letter? CF supports this city, 1/3 of it. PC , Milan, Norwalk , Fremont, Bellevue and Huron do not have millions given to them from an amusement park, and yet somehow they make it. CF is telling the city to get their sh** together . And we are telling them to live in their means. 40 years of stinkin Dem, crony capitalism RINO rule has led to this. Enough. Look north people this is what Detroit did.gave into public sector unions, ran the companies to dry and raked their citizens through the coals.


Vote YES.