Cleveland Teams Would Compete on Field for Tax Money Under Plan

If the National Football League’s Cleveland Browns don’t start winning, it could cost them stadium-upkeep money under a proposal by Cuyahoga County Executive Ed FitzGerald.

The Democratic candidate for Ohio governor wants to allocate 20 percent of stadium-maintenance revenue based on the success of Cleveland’s professional football, baseball and basketball teams.

“Cleveland’s sports fans wear their hearts on their sleeves every year, and they deserve to know that their tax dollars are being spent in a transparent and accountable way,” FitzGerald said in a release today.

The plan would require approval by the County Council to take effect next year, said Rich Luchette, a Cuyahoga spokesman.

Voters in Ohio’s most populous county in May extended a “sin tax” on cigarettes, beer, wine and liquor to raise an estimated $260 million over 20 years for maintenance and improvements at FirstEnergy Stadium, Quicken Loans Arena, and Progressive Field, Luchette said.

FitzGerald said his “win tax bonus” would set aside about $50 million during the next two decades. A Fan Advisory Network of seven residents would make recommendations for funding based on win percentage, conference standing or other metrics it determines, FitzGerald said.

The Ohio Republican Party issued a release calling the proposal a “publicity stunt.”

In any event, it might be a depressing exercise.

While the Cleveland Indians of Major League Baseball went 92-70 last year, the Browns finished 4-12 in 2013 and the National Basketball Association’s Cavaliers ended this year’s season 33-49.

To contact the reporter on this story: Mark Niquette in Columbus at mniquette@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Stephen Merelman at smerelman@bloomberg.net Mark Tannenbaum

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