Deadline looming to decide if Hamilton County Commissioners approve a sales tax hike

CINCINNATI - Hamilton County Commissioners will meet on Monday to talk about ways to deal with the shortfall in the stadium fund.

Commissioner Todd Portune suggested raising the current sales tax from 6.5 to 6.75 percent to erase deficits in the fund paying debt service on Paul Brown Stadium and Great American Ball Park.

Portune said his proposal is a last resort to give the fund the long-term stability it lacks. The projected deficit for 2013 is $7 million and $18 million for 2014. The tax hike would generate $30 million a year.

The increase would add 25 cents to the purchase of $100 worth of taxable goods. The sales tax on a $20,000 car would go from $1,300 to $1,350.

Commission President Greg Hartmann said he would study the Portune proposal, but favors reducing the property tax rollback voters approved in 1996 to pay for stadium construction.

Commissioners have to come up with a plan by Dec. 5 to make the fund solvent so that Hamilton County Auditor Dusty Rhodes can set rates for property tax bills.

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