Cool Cleveland Interview, Part 2: Jim Rokakis
Cool Cleveland - March 23, 2005
Cool Cleveland: What does the word Regionalism mean to you?
Jim Rokakis: Regionalism to me is a belief that we have to take the region s dwindling resources and
put them to work collectively for the betterment of all Northeast Ohio. In 1970, 40% of the county total
came from the City of Cleveland; in the last collection, it was 17% which means there is not much left.
So, in order to support the school system on a rapidly declining tax base…when you pass a mill in
Cleveland, you collect $6 million, and a mill in the County collects $33 million. Not only do tax values
decline, but 36% of the property in Cleveland doesn t pay taxes. Religious, non-profit, civic, educational,
and hospitals – they don t pay taxes. And over $2 billion is not collected because of the
tax abatement program, out of a total of $5 billion. …