Now a former state representative has formed a second group to oppose Issue 7, the sin tax extension in Cuyahoga County


CLEVELAND -- A former state representative has formed a second group to oppose the sin tax extension in Cuyahoga County.

Earl "Marty" Martin, the son of a former Rocky River mayor, who owns delis in Rocky River and Bay Village is head of the group "No on 7."

Martin says his group is not a front for or connected to any other organization and is not affiliated with the original group opposing the sin tax -- the Coalition Against the Sin Tax.

"The sports stadium deals make money for everybody except the taxpayers...That's why Issue 7 deserves to be defeated, " he said.

Martin complains the original leases with teams were far too generous, including the annual rents teams pay.

"That lease agreement was equivalent to giving billionaires a $1 million home for $22 a day in rent," he said.

Martin claims there are too many unanswered questions about exactly what the $290 million dollars the tax is projected to raise over 20 years will be used for.

He says taxpayers know gas taxes pay for roads, property taxes pay for schools, but it's unclear exactly what the sin tax money will buy.

Issue 7 supporters say the money will go toward major facility repairs the city and county are obligated to fund under lease terms. And they claim topnotch facilities will help keep a more vibrant downtown busy and bring in more tax dollars and create business and jobs at downtown establishments.

And they claim that, if the tax fails, the money will have to come out cuts from general fund budgets.

"The better way to fund repairs is to use the increase in tax revenues generated from the new downtown activity, rather than stick it to the taxpayer," Martin said.

And he called a majority voting to tax a minority (smokers and drinkers) in one county when people from all over northeast Ohio enjoy the facilities" unfair."

He says the fledgling group will soon launch a website .

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