State Rep. John Boccieri (D-Poland) today denounced a $5 million capital budget request to relocate a practice facility for the Cleveland Browns as a poor allocation of taxpayer dollars. The merit of the proposal from the Columbus Partnership pales in comparison to the importance of guaranteeing the health and safety of Sebring, Ohio residents after their water was found to be contaminated with lead, Boccieri argues.

“I would have a hard time explaining to our taxpayers why millions of their hard-earned dollars are going to an organization like the Cleveland Browns when we have kids at home drinking lead-contaminated water,” Boccieri said. “I am in bipartisan agreement with Representative Dovilla, a Republican from Berea, that this is an absurd proposal. We have a slew of other commonsense initiatives that deserve this funding.”

Instead, Boccieri wants the $5 million in question to go to the Ohio Public Works Commission for water purification and other infrastructure improvement efforts in Sebring. He adds that the state has much more pressing priorities it needs to target with its capital budget allocations.

“I am a recovering Browns fan as much as the next person and I want them to start winning, but appropriating $5 million of taxpayer money after we already spent millions building their stadium would be a severe case of misplaced priorities,” Boccieri added. “We should be getting serious about rebuilding our crumbling infrastructure and helping communities.”

Lawmakers have been receiving capital budget project proposals from their districts since late last fall. The total budget target is expected to be released in April.

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