GCP Supports Health and Human Services Levy
GCP and County Leaders to Examine Future Structural, Levy Reform Possibilities
CLEVELAND, January 28, 2020 – The Greater Cleveland Partnership (GCP) announced the chamber of commerce’s support for a 4.7 mill eight-year Cuyahoga County health and human services (HHS) levy today. In addition, the organization of more than 12,000 members vowed to convene with County officials to further examine HHS levy-related finances and agreed-upon measurements and metrics to help gauge progress going forward. In order to help avoid a future HHS levy ballot increase beyond the March 2020 measure, the County plans to develop and publish HHS levy savings that are achieved.
The HHS ballot measure will appear before voters in March. The position aligns with GCP members’ support of the last two County health and human services levies. GCP endorsed the 2016 renewal of a 4.8 mill HHS levy and the 2018 HHS renewal of a 3.9 mill levy. In its 2018 endorsement, GCP member leaders vowed to closely and actively engage with the County on future levy proceedings.
“Cuyahoga County elected officials are to be commended for taking the business community’s concerns seriously in an ongoing effort to review possible taxpayer savings and improved services that can be achieved,” said Joe Roman, President and CEO of the Greater Cleveland Partnership. “GCP believes support for the HHS levy increase is necessary because the effort demonstrates a severe and urgent societal need in which progress must be made to ensure economic vitality and those in need are protected sufficiently. We think this can be achieved in concert with additional feedback and expertise from key stakeholders, partners, and the business community.”
In addition, GCP and County leaders agreed to establish a task force. Among the purposes of the task force, will be to create an initial working group to explore and drive potential structural reforms. Officials are committed to evaluating and pursuing reforms that may improve the overall efficiency of our local tax system to offer improved services and remain competitive with peer cities.
“The business community’s support and expertise on health and human services issues over the years has been crucial,” said Cuyahoga County Executive Armond Budish. “We’re fortunate to live in a compassionate region that understands the necessity of this HHS levy increase – an increase we have not proposed in my time as County Executive. Like GCP, I also recognize the need to coordinate future tax levies in our region and continue to look for improvements we can make surrounding structural reforms and I am committed, and welcome others, to engage in those discussions going forward. Finally, we are committed to working to ensure a health and human services tax increase is avoidable in 2024.”
“Approving the HHS levy request this March is essential in order to protect those in our community who are most in need,” said Cuyahoga County Council President Dan Brady. “We thank GCP for their support and we look forward to working with its members to identify additional cost savings and transparent metrics that can be identified to improve upon the significant progress we are making as community for our children and seniors.”
GCP’s strategic plan, ForwardCLE, called for a better understanding of the impact of our collective tax climate. The proposed health and human services levy represents the second major local tax increase proposal since data was released from the GCP tax analysis. Additional local tax levy increases are also expected in 2020. GCP has continually reiterated that the purpose of these important exercises and raising the bar for support for future tax levy increases is to seek areas for improvement, not to single out any one tax or entity. This position is consistent with GCP’s stated resolve to address the unsustainable trajectory of tax growth and meets our stated basis for exception and creates a path and shared commitment to needed reform.
“As stated previously, it is our sincere hope the public, private, philanthropic sectors, and others can come together to better understand and examine a more cost-effective means of providing vital government services in our region to benefit the communities they serve,” said Scott Chaikin, who serves as GCP Board Chair and Executive Chairman of Dix & Eaton. “Our members are proud to offer support for the latest health and human services proposal. We cannot afford to become complacent as a region, however, and working with public officials and our communities is a key ingredient to achieving the success and improvement we all desire.”