'Save Our Icons' proponents building support for tax increase to help Union Terminal, Music Hall

Critics ask county to keep measure off Nov. ballot

CINCINNATI – Supporters of the so-called "icon tax" are inching closer to winning the support of two Hamilton County commissioners to put the measure before voters in November.

Aug. 6 is the deadline for adding any measures to the ballot. The "icon tax" proposal would increase Hamilton County's sales tax by 25 cents on the dollar to fund the renovation and restoration of Union Terminal and Music Hall. If approved, it would raise the rate from 6.75 cents on the dollar to 7 cents on the dollar.

In an interview after the commissioners' staff meeting Monday, Commission President Chris Monzel said he would not support placing the tax increase on the ballot if Music Hall remains part of the proposal.

Monzel suggested that focusing the plan on Union Terminal would reduce the burden on county taxpayers and could reduce the number of years the sales tax would be in place.

He noted that the county already has a half-cent of its sales tax authority invested in paying for Paul Brown Stadium and Great American Ball Park.

Dedicating another quarter-cent, he said, would be "putting the responsibility of three fourths of our taxing authority on four buildings" for years to come.

"I think that's too much, too big," he said of the proposal to fund both Union Terminal and Music Hall.

Critics of the plan echoed that sentiment in a letter to commissioners dated Aug. 3.

"Music Hall must be removed from any currently considered TAX increase for Hamilton County," stated the letter signed by 50 people, many of whom are members of the Republican Central Committee. "We suggest that the Commissioners step back from the temptation to rush this initiative onto the November ballot."

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