Friday, March 7, 2003

Tarbell floats idea of tax on water taxi

By Gregory Korte
The Cincinnati Enquirer

It sounded like a good example of regional cooperation: a Covington riverboat operator would allow Reds fans to park in Kentucky and ride a water taxi to the new Great American Ball Park.

The cost: $2 to get to Ohio, free to go the other way.

At least one Cincinnati city councilman sees that as patently unfair, and is proposing a $2 tax on Ohioans who want to take the ferry to Kentucky.

"To pick up our people - and take them back to their jurisdiction to party for free - strikes me as contrary to good inter-governmental relations," Councilman Jim Tarbell said

Tarbell's taxi tax brought a tempest from the southern banks. "Bush-league thinking," Covington Mayor Butch Callery called it.

BB Riverboats owner Allen Bernstein said he already pays $1,200 a year for the right to dock at the Public Landing.

"If they don't want me to drop people over there, I won't," he said. "And I will be more than happy to tell people in Northern Kentucky that Cincinnati doesn't want them over there."

The tax seems to have little support. Councilman David Pepper said Tarbell may have a point, but a tax is the wrong answer.

"They're being entrepreneurial," he said. "The average citizen in Cincinnati and Kentucky is excited about a water taxi, and the politicians need to figure out a way to make it happen."

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