How greedy can Sherwin Williams be? Wealthy company looks for handout to stay in Cleveland
by Roldo Bartimole
You may have heard or read that the paint company Sherwin Williams is looking for a new home. They have been in Cleveland for 150 years or so years. The years don’t make a difference to the paint company. It doesn’t matter that the company and its employees have been served and nurtured here by various local governments for a century and a half. No, it’s not enough. The greed must be satisfied.
A century and a half just don’t matter. —Doesn’t matter that they have been protected by publicly paid fire departments for those 150 or so years. —Doesn’t matter that its employees have been safeguarded by publicly paid police departments for such a long time. —Doesn’t matter that their children have been educated at publicly financed school systems. —Doesn’t matter that health departments have kept communities where they live healthy. —Doesn’t matter that publicly-funded water systems have provided clean water. —Doesn’t matter that tax and fee-funded sewer systems have kept them safe and clean. —Doesn’t matter than city & state funding has provided them with roads and highways to get to work and ship their products. —Doesn’t matter that citizens tax themselves for stadiums and arenas for their pleasure. —Doesn’t matter that the public treasure provides airports for transportation of them and their products. —Doesn’t matter that public subsidy provides a transit system that helps their employees get to work.
Why go on. It doesn’t matter. It just doesn’t matter. These corporate greed masters want more. They conveniently forget yesterday — all the yesterdays.
This “Cleveland company” that had revenue in the 12 months ending Sept. 30, 2019 of $17.8 BILLION dollars here in Cleveland. It wants MORE. This Cleveland company that paid its chief J. G. Morikis $13,213,749 in salary and benefits last year now wants to either stick-up Cleveland and Cuyahoga County, just as a bank thief would—or leave. One-hundred-and-fifty years or not.
What’s interesting is that the media/news people are making it seem WE OWE THEM something to make them stay. They actually endorse the bribery. What nonsense. We have become government by bribe. Who can offer the biggest, best bribe wins the corporate chiseler? What a sick way of governing.
Nothing new though. Check the past in this LOOK BACK at how it started: In the November 13, 1976 issue of Point of View in an article titled Ralph Perk fronts for property tax scheme to benefit downtown business, speculators I wrote: “Mayor Give-A-Way, thwarted in his plan to buy and lend the Arena to speculators, remains undaunted and has come up with a new gift to business – a property tax gift to developers.” The articled noted the legislation could “rob the city and city schools of needed revenue for 30 years into the future.”
An October of 1991 article in Point of View titled Up and Down Mike White offered this assessment of Mayor Michael White, “White wants to represent himself as the most concerned politician for the Cleveland Schools but he makes it difficult to believe him when he goes to Columbus to get legislation to relieve Gateway of paying taxes that largely go to the Cleveland schools.”
A March 1993 Point of View article titled Trough Time says, “If you want to know why Cleveland’s political leaders are willing to spend $93.3 million in almost all public funds for the Rock and Roll hall of Fame & Museum you only have to look at the contracts to be let, worth millions of dollars.”
Later the article notes the promise that the City of Cleveland admissions tax revenue offered to the Cleveland Schools make up for the property taxes diverted from Tower City to pay for the Rock Hall is projected to fall way short of the losses the Cleveland schools will suffer. “The figures provided through the year 2000 show that the six percent admissions tax will in no year reach the $580,000 that Mayor White officials say the schools will lose annually. By the year 2000, the schools will lose at least $3,388,600 by Rock Hall figures.”
Cleveland has been in this give-away business for a while now. The price goes up, as it usually does. The problem is that the governmental cost has to be made up somewhere. The tax abatements, the TIFs, the outright grants and gifts are tax losses. The big guys get them. The little people pay more to make up the difference.
Editor’s Note: Roldo Bartimole, a veteran Cleveland investigative journalist, blogs at: havecoffeewillwrite.com where this article was first published. For a complete version of this article and other articles by Roldo Bartimole visit: havecoffeewillwrite.com.