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C.L.A.S.S. Action Cincinnati: Where Do You Stand?

Paul Brown Stadium and Great American Ballpark separated by The Banks Project
Paul Brown Stadium and Great American Ballpark separated by The Banks Project

We reported a while back about Sith Lord Todd Portune and his proposed tax that could add up to $14 on the already high Bengals ticket prices. We originally wrote that Portune's proposed tax could just add to the long list of grievances that fans have with the team, and keep them from selling out games in 2011.

Well, while Portune has been busy assembling the Death Star and killing younglings for the emperor, he's also found the time to launch a website for his cause, known as the Citizen's League Against Subsidized Sports (C.L.A.S.S.) Action. Here's what Portune, and others, hope to get on the November ballot in Cincinnati:

The Citizen's League Against Subsidized Sports is an initiative designed to restore fiscal sanity to the relationship between professional teams and the communities that host them.

Our mission is to return the responsibilities for stadium upkeep and operation to those who SHOULD be responsible -- the multi-million dollar professional sports franchises that reside there.

Our immediate goal is to collect the 7,468 valid signatures needed to place this initiative on the November ballot in Cincinnati.

According to the website, the stadium needs in Cincinnati drain close to $10 million of Hamilton County's yearly budget. They also say that their goal is not to raise the ticket prices at the stadiums. Even though if this was to make it on the ballot in November and is passed into law, it would create a "ticket tax," C.L.A.S.S. explains that the only way that the ticket prices would be increased is if the teams continued not to pay for their own operating cost.

However, if this movement becomes law and the teams decide that the responsibility shouldn't be theirs, the fans will be the ones that suffer, having to pay the ticket tax to create the extra money to pay for stadium upkeep.

So, what side of the argument do you fall on? On one hand, Portune (who I referred to as a Sith lord because anybody who threatens to make ticket prices higher is evil in my mind) and C.L.A.S.S. want to save Hamilton County up to $10 million by making the Bengals and Reds pay for their own stadium upkeep, which they have plenty of money to do. Even if ticket prices have to be increased through a new "ticket tax," people who don't use the stadiums would no longer have to pay for them and people who actually attend games would. Makes some sense right?

On the other hand, though, the Bengals and the Reds have done nothing illegal or out of the ordinary. Hamilton County voters decided to give the Bengals and the Reds this deal. On a recent Who Dey Perspective, Bengals public relations director Jack Brennan claims that both the Bengals and the Reds signed standard NFL and MLB leases. Brennan also points out that the Bengals have been pumping money back into Hamilton County.

-Dedicated more than $10 million toward the Ft. Washington Way highway project.

-Elected to purchase approximately $100 million worth of privately owned riverfront property to foster further downtown development

-Decided to subsidize The Banks development projects

-Doubled the County's commitment for Cincinnati Public Schools from $5 million per year (as was originally agreed upon) to over $10 million per year.

So, what do you think?