Hamilton County commissioners have unanswered questions before they will support 'icon tax' proposal

Deadline is Aug. 6 to get issue on November ballot

CINCINNATI – Proponents of the so-called "icon tax" to help fund repairs for Union Terminal and Music Hall only need the votes of two Hamilton County commissioners to put the issue before voters.

As of Friday afternoon, they had none.

The commissioners are scheduled to discuss the proposal during their staff meeting Monday. It will be their first opportunity to discuss the issue in-depth as a group and try to figure out if there's a proposal that at least two of the three of them can support.

Influential business and community leaders want the commissioners to put a quarter-cent sales tax increase on the November ballot to help fund hundreds of millions of dollars in renovations and repairs at Union Terminal and Music Hall.

The CEO of the Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber turned up the heat Friday with a letter to commissioners "strongly" encouraging them to put the measure on the ballot.

"The Chamber believes that the Board of County Commissioners has sufficient, well-researched information to allow the voters of Hamilton County to decide whether or not to approve a .25 percent sales tax increase to address the needs of these facilities," wrote chamber CEO Brian Carley.

If commissioners vote to put it on the ballot – and if voters approve the measure – it would raise the Hamilton County sales tax from 6.75 cents on the dollar to 7 cents on the dollar.

The deadline for adding anything to the November ballot is Aug. 6, but Commissioner Todd Portune said Friday that he doesn't "feel any pressure at all" to vote by then.

"I'll either be ready or I won't," he said. "And if I'm not, I'm not. And that's just the way it is."

Insiders can read more details about where each of the commissioners stand on the icon tax proposal.

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