Cuyahoga County cigarette tax increase heading to November ballot

Source: Kaitlin Durbin, cleveland.com

Published: June 4, 2024

Abstract:

CLEVELAND, Ohio — To support the arts, Cuyahoga County Council on Tuesday voted to send a proposed increase to the county’s cigarette tax to the November ballot.

It will be up to voters to decide whether to replace the 1.5-cent-per-cigarette rate first approved in 2006 with a new 3.5-cent-per-cigarette tax. The change would increase taxes on each pack of cigarettes from 30 cents to 70 cents.

Council passed the resolution unanimously. None of the members commented.

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cleveland.com cac vote

Cuyahoga County Arts and Culture board votes to ask County Council to put cigarette tax increase on November ballot

Source: Cleveland.com,

Date: April 29, 2024

Abstract:

CLEVELAND, Ohio — Board members of Cuyahoga Arts and Culture, the government agency that distributes cigarette tax money to the arts, voted unanimously on Monday to ask Cuyahoga County Council to approve a November ballot item that would enable county voters to increase the tax from 1.5 cents to 3.5 cents per cigarette.

The tax could raise an estimated $160 million between 2026 and 2035 and bolster revenues that have declined sharply since voters first approved the tax in 2006. In its first year of funding, the 10-year tax produced roughly $20 million for arts and cultural organizations across the county.

 

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Cuyahoga Arts & Culture resolves to place cigarette tax increase on November ballot

Source: ideastream, Kabir Bhatia

Date: April 29, 2024

Abstract: Cuyahoga Arts & Culture has taken its first step toward increasing the county cigarette tax from 30-cents-per-pack to 70 cents.

At a special meeting Monday, the board approved a resolution asking County Council to place an expansion of the tax on the November 2024 ballot. The new amount is estimated to generate about $160 million over the next decade.

The 70-cent figure was decided after extensive research, according to Jeff Rusnak of R Strategy Group.

“The voters really respect and admire our arts and cultural sector,” he said. “They have invested in it for nearly two decades and that has paid off. Three-and-a-half cents per cigarette is a small ask that produces really big impact.”

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CAC Trustees Approve a Resolution Requesting November Tax Levy to Fund Cuyahoga Arts & Culture Through 2035

CAC Trustees Approve a Resolution Requesting November Tax Levy to Fund Cuyahoga Arts & Culture Through 2035

Replacement Levy Could Generate $160M Over 10 Years, Expand Public Investment in Hundreds of Nonprofit Arts Organizations

CLEVELAND (April 29, 2024) – Today, the Cuyahoga Arts & Culture Board of Trustees approved a resolution to Cuyahoga County Council requesting a tax levy be placed on the November 2024 ballot to replace and expand CAC’s dedicated tax resource.

The resolution, approved unanimously by CAC’s Trustees in a public meeting, formally requests that Cuyahoga County Council submit the question of the replacement levy to Cuyahoga County voters at the November 5, 2024 general election. Cuyahoga Arts & Culture’s sole revenue source is a tax on cigarettes sold in Cuyahoga County, Ohio. The tax would continue to provide public funding for the operations of Cuyahoga County’s arts and cultural nonprofits.

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Leadership in Action

Source: Cleveland Magazine

Date: March 21, 2024

Abstract: Discover what it means to be a leader — and what issues they face — in Cleveland in 2024. By Jill Sell

Superman can lift cars over his head, bounce bullets off his chest and crush coal into diamonds with his hands. He’s capable of freezing people with his breath and melting objects with heat beams from his eyes. If the occasion warrants it, the superhero can even alter the orbit of the planets…

Cleveland’s arts and culture scene historically has been the envy of many other cities. In addition to the priceless contributions to education, creativity and the nourishment of our souls, the economic boost the region receives from museums, concerts, theater, etc., is impressive. According to the City of Cleveland Planning Commission, “the arts contribute more than $1.3 billion annually to the regional economy.”

“Cleveland also has one of the most publicly and privately supported arts communities in the country,” says Jeremy Johnson, who has been president and CEO of Assembly for the Arts, a regional arts council, since 2021.

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ASSEMBLY FOR THE ARTS LAUNCHES APPLICATIONS FOR TWO ARTIST SUPPORT PROGRAMS

CLEVELAND, April 9, 2024  — Applications for two major artist funding programs under Assembly for the Arts will open this month. The application for the Creative Impact Fund is now open, and applications for the Rapid Action Grant will open on Tuesday, April 30.

The two programs are made possible by the residents of Cuyahoga County through a public grant from Cuyahoga Arts & Culture and will provide flexible (unrestricted) funding and project grants to about 40 artists across Cuyahoga County. Both grant programs are open to artists of all disciplines.

Program Program Overview Eligible Disciplines # of Artist Awards $ per Artist Award Application Period
Creative Impact Fund Unrestricted funds Open to all creative disciplines 17 $10,000 Friday, April 5 to Friday, May 31, 2024
Rapid Action Grant Project-based funds Open to all creative disciplines 10-20 $500 to $2,000 April 30 to December, 2024 (or until funds are distributed)

 

The 2024 Creative Impact Fund has been redesigned from its inaugural 2023 version, and the changes are a direct result of a community engagement initiative that Assembly completed in 2023. This included hosting a series of discussions and a survey to hear directly from artists about their funding needs. The goal of this year’s Creative Impact Fund is to encourage the growth of artists’ creative practice and advance their impact on the region. Open to individual Cuyahoga County-based artists of all creative disciplines, 17 artists will each be awarded $10,000 in unrestricted funds (sometimes called flexible funds). In addition, they will receive professional and business development opportunities, mentorship and networking opportunities, and an Assembly for the Arts membership. Applications are due May 31, 2024.

Rapid Action Grants will range from $500 to $2,000. The goal of the Rapid Action Grant is to provide easy to access funds for Cuyahoga County-based artists. Artists and creatives may request up to $2,000 to support their arts-centered public projects, events or needs that are specific to their creative practice. Applications are accepted on a rolling basis until $14,000 in funds have been distributed.

Deidre McPherson, Chief Community Officer of Assembly for the Arts, stressed that artists of all disciplines and in all corners of Cuyahoga County should apply for these funds. “Assembly for the Arts wants these grant programs to help a variety of creatives across Greater Cleveland. We have worked to make the application process as simple as possible, and our team is available to help any artist who needs assistance completing the application,” McPherson said. ”We’re asking all of our community partners to spread the word so we can reach as many artists as possible.”

Creative Impact Fund Information Sessions

Assembly will host a series of in-person and virtual information sessions for interested applicants to learn about the CIF application processes.

  • Thursday, April 11 (6:00-7:00 pm)
    B-Side at the Grog Shop: 2785 Euclid Heights Blvd., Cleveland Heights, OH 44106
  • Thursday, April 18 (12:00-1:00 pm)
    Virtual Session via Zoom
    The virtual session will be recorded and posted to Assembly’s website at https://assemblycle.org/cifprogram2024/.
  • Wednesday, May 8 (6:00-7:00 pm)
    Cuyahoga County Public Library, Warrensville Heights Branch: 4415 Northfield Road, Warrensville Heights, OH 44128
  • Wednesday, May 22 (6:00-7:00 pm)
    LGBT Community Center of Greater Cleveland: 6705 Detroit Ave., Cleveland, OH 44102

Learn more about the Creative Impact Fund and register to attend an upcoming information session at https://assemblycle.org/cifprogram2024/. Details about the Rapid Action Grant and other funding opportunities for individual artists and creatives is available at https://assemblycle.org/artistfunding/.

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Assembly for the Arts is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization with a focus on advocacy, cultural policy, racial equity initiatives, research, marketing that elevates the region, and services for nonprofits, artists, and creative businesses. It is governed by a volunteer board with a strong commitment to diversity and inclusion. Assembly by design operates in close partnership with Cuyahoga Arts & Culture, a government agency, and Assembly for Action, a 501(c)4 political action nonprofit to serve the entire creative sector. Assembly is supported through major funding from: The Cleveland Foundation, The George Gund Foundation, The Char and Chuck Fowler Family Foundation, Cuyahoga Arts & Culture, Ohio Arts Council, Huntington, KeyBank, The George W. Codrington Charitable Foundation, and Fred & Laura Ruth Bidwell. www.assemblycle.org

MEDIA CONTACT:

Malissa Bodmann

malissa@compellingcommunicationsllc.com

216-536-7517


ASSEMBLY FOR THE ARTS TO SUPPORT DOZENS OF CREATIVES WITH $500,000 GRANT FROM CUYAHOGA ARTS & CULTURE

CLEVELAND, March 7, 2024 — Assembly for the Arts has announced the details of its 2024 artist support programs, funded by a $500,000 grant from Cuyahoga Arts & Culture. The programs will provide unrestricted funds and project grants to between 66 and 78 artists. Awardees will benefit from professional development, institutional connections, access to dedicated workspace, performance and exhibition opportunities and more. 

Assembly will disseminate the awards directly and via partnerships with Cleveland Public Theatre, Julia de Burgos Cultural Arts Center, Karamu House, and SPACES. Cleveland Public Theatre, Karamu House and SPACES will use additional outside funds to expand their programs. 

Assembly and the partners designed the 2024 programs in response to the creative community, which advocated for: 

  • Prioritizing unrestricted funds and increasing the award amounts for individual artists 
  • Simplifying and streamlining grant application processes to reduce administrative burdens 
  • Encouraging applicants from historically underrepresented or marginalized artists 
  • Creating a central virtual space to find grant opportunities, deadlines, and resources 

Jeremy V. Johnson, president and CEO of Assembly for the Arts, said the 2024 Support for Artist program reflects feedback from artist surveys and listening sessions. “We took to heart the concerns of creatives. We made the application process easier, expanded unrestricted funds, and broadened the reach to more disciplines,” he said. ”We are ensuring our outreach efforts include increasing awareness of these opportunities to artists of all creative disciplines.” 

The 2024 programs are as follows: 

For full details about these programs, please visit https://assemblycle.org/artistfunding/ 

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Assembly for the Arts is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization with a focus on advocacy, cultural policy, racial equity initiatives, research, marketing that elevates the region, and services for nonprofits, artists, and creative businesses. It is governed by a volunteer board with a strong commitment to diversity and inclusion. Assembly by design operates in close partnership with Cuyahoga Arts & Culture, a government agency, and Assembly for Action, a 501(c)4 political action nonprofit to serve the entire creative sector. Assembly is supported through major funding from: The Cleveland Foundation, The George Gund Foundation, The Char and Chuck Fowler Family Foundation, Cuyahoga Arts & Culture, Ohio Arts Council, Huntington, KeyBank, The George W. Codrington Charitable Foundation, and Fred & Laura Ruth Bidwell. www.assemblycle.org

MEDIA CONTACT:

Malissa Bodmann
malissa@compellingcommunicationsllc.com
216-536-7517


Cuyahoga Arts & Culture still eyeing November cigarette tax renewal

Source: ideastream

Date: February 15, 2024

Abstract:

A renewal and expansion of Cuyahoga County's cigarette tax for the arts could appear on this November's ballot - but its size and scope are still being determined. During its meeting Thursday, the Cuyahoga Arts & Culture board discussed the levy campaign with Jeff Rusnak, CEO of political strategy firm R Strategy Group. Last fall, he recommended placing the cigarette tax on this fall's ballot. Without any action, it would expire in 2027.

CAC receives its funding from the 30-cent-per-pack cigarette tax, and revenues have fallen by half since the tax’s inception in 2007. Board members have sparred at previous meetings over how and when to ask voters to renew and expand the tax. Rusnak recommended that CAC's role should be educational, with community outreach on how the arts can have a positive impact on education and mental health.


Opinion: Greater Cleveland must plan for sustainable public arts funding future: Jennifer Coleman

Source: Cleveland.com

Date: December 27, 2023

Abstract:

Cuyahoga County’s public funding for the arts has recently been featured in the local news cycle. Cuyahoga Arts and Culture (CAC), the agency responsible for disbursing funds collected from the countywide cigarette tax, is managing a 50% drop in revenues since the tax began to be collected in 2007. Local news articles have highlighted — among other things:

1) Issues surrounding CAC’s funding of individual artists.

2) Highly contentious CAC board meetings, and

3) Questions on the feasibility of a countywide levy campaign to increase the 30-cent-a-pack cigarette tax amid infighting among leaders in the arts community.

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Want to join Cuyahoga Arts & Culture board? County is seeking applications

Source: ideastream

Date: January 8, 2024

Abstract:

Cuyahoga County is accepting applications for the board of Cuyahoga Arts and Culture. While recent meetings have been increasingly tense, the agency is still responsible for distributing public funding for the arts – more than $246 million since 2007.

The terms of two trustees, Charna Sherman and Karolyn Isenhart, will end March 31. As of Monday afternoon, Isenhart said she was planning to re-apply for another term. Sherman said she is not reapplying.

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