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Voters To Decide Five Statewide Questions




Voters across Ohio will decide five statewide ballot issues when they go to the polls, Tuesday, Nov. 4.

The five issues deal with everything from the construction of a casino in Clinton County to private property rights.

•Issue 1 is an effort to change the state constitution to move up the deadlines for citizen-initiated statewide ballot issues, sets deadlines for county boards of elections to determine the validity of petitions, and give the Supreme Court jurisdiction in all such cases.

Proponents say earlier deadlines saves the state money by preventing the state from explaining a ballot issue that eventually is removed from the ballot. It also helps maintain voter confidence by keeping unapproved issues off the ballot, and helps provide efficient and effective elections.

On the other hand, earlier deadlines mean new laws proposed or modified by initiative petitions won’t take effect for months, and means more expensive state issue campaigns. Delaying an initiative petition vote increases the amount that must be spent to get the attention of the voters.

•Issue 2 authorizes the state to issue up to $400,000 in bonds to continue the Clean Ohio program.

Clean Ohio is a conservation, preservation, and revitalization effort the proponents say will not raise taxes. The proponents claim it creates jobs and economic development, preserves family farms, and cleans up and redevelops abandoned industrial sites.

Opponents point out the bonds will have to be repaid in the future. If approved, Issue 2 would put the state $400 million deeper in debt.

Water Rights

•Issue 3 would amend the Ohio constitution to protect the rights of property owners to the ground water under their property, on or in waterways that abut or travel through their property. However, the public welfare would overrule the private property owner rights.

Proponents argue that passage of Issue 3 affirms that a property owner has a property interest in the reasonable use of ground or surface water.

The other side states Ohio already has a Supreme Court decision affirming such rights. Also, the passage of Issue 3 would incorporate legal doctrines into the state constitution that are not appropriate.

Pay Day Loans

Issue 5, sometimes known as the payday lending law, would change the state’s shortterm lending law to limit loans to $500, give barrowers at least 30 days to repay the loans, and limit the interest rate to a 28% annual percentage rate.

Proponents claim payday lenders are charging up to 391% interest on a two-week loan. They claim payday lenders prosper by trapping borrowers into a cycle of repeat borrowing.

Opponents say the changes take away one financing option, limit the numbers of loans a person can take out, and takes away a person’s privacy by placing their name in a government database.

Opponents say Issue 5 threatens 6,000 jobs in Ohio’s payday lending industry.

Casino

•Issue 6 is a proposal that would amend Ohio’s constitution to allow one privatelyowned gambling casino in Clinton County in southwest Ohio. The casino would be required to pay a tax of up to 30% on its gross receipts after payouts.

Out of the taxes, 90% go to Ohio’s 87 other counties. Clinton County gets 10%.

The amendment includes a provision that the 30% tax rate would be lowered to the rate paid by another casino, if another is allowed in Ohio.

Those in favor of Issue 6 say it will create 5,000 new jobs, will generate an estimated $200 million from the casino tax alone, and stop Ohio gamblers from going out of state to gamble.

Opponents claim the casino operator, an out-of-state firm, will take millions out of the Ohio economy, won’t stop Ohioans from going out of state to gamble, will create new gambling addicts, and will create a private monopoly.

Opponents claim the proposed legislation is filled with loopholes, with no guarantee as to the number of jobs created or that Ohio counties will see any money.

Opponents also note Clinton County voters turned down a casino gambling issue in 2006.


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