Issue 22: Where did backers of Cincinnati's parks tax go wrong?

CINCINNATI –  Voters piled on the pushback Tuesday to Cincinnati’s Issue 22 – with surprising defeats in neighborhoods that were promised the most under the tax plan, a WCPO analysis shows.

All told, 58 percent of voters rejected the proposed charter amendment and permanent tax that would have pumped $5.5 million annually into Cincinnati’s Parks Department.

Across the city just 25 of 185 precincts supported the plan, according to Hamilton County Board of Elections data.

The measure received the most support in wealthier precincts – where median household income is $60,000 or higher. In those areas, about 28 percent of voters favored the issue, compared to only 9.6 percent of voters in poorer areas.

A WCPO analysis shows where the measure met the most rejection and support across Cincinnati’s 52 neighborhoods. Here’s a look at the highlights: 

  • Hyde Park: Mayor John Cranley’s own neighborhood voted down the measure with several Hyde Park precincts reporting rejection rates ranging from 53 percent to 61 percent.
  • West Side: Some of the largest margins of pushback came from the city’s West Side. Votes against the measure tallied 59 percent in precincts that include West Price Hill, 55 percent in Westwood precincts, and 72 percent in parts of Mount Airy.
  • The largest precinct covering Northside overwhelmingly rejected the plan with 82 percent voting against the measure.

Click on the map below to see where Issue 22 landed the most pushback and support.


Several neighborhoods that were promised big investments from the tax plan also balked at the proposal. Here’s a quick look:

  • Westwood: 55 percent of voters rejected thee plan, which leaders said would have funded a new town hall and pocket park.
  • Parts of Mt. Airy defeated the proposal, which promised an $11 million plan for new walking trails and makeover to Mt. Airy Forest.
  • Evanston: 56 percent of voters here rejected the measure, which promised a $2 million investment in the former King Record studios. Evanston residents also would have benefitted from the nearby Wasson Way trail.
  • Clifton and Corryville: Voters here rejected the plan by 64 percent and 53 percent respectively. The community’s neighbor, 90-acre park Burnet Woods, was promised a $10 million makeover under Issue 22.

Following the measure’s defeat Tuesday, Cranley said he has no plans to pursue future attempts to fund the parks through new tax proposals.

“Voters are telling us that they don’t want their taxes raised and I plan to listen,” he said. “We’re going to have to live within in our means.”

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