Ohio State Issue 2, which voters will be deciding on November 4, is a proposal to allow the state of Ohio to issue and spend an additional $400,000,000 in bonds for conservation and environmental revitalization purposes. $200,000,000 would be issued for conservation puposes and $200,000,000 for revitalization. The Institute for Principled Policy urges Ohio voters to cast a “NO” vote and reject this expansion of the state’s bonded indebtedness.
In an economic environment that would best be described as “toxic”, especially as it relates to Ohio’s economy, the proposal to push for more debt so the state can use it to buy up farmlands and other private property under the guise of “conservation”, is foolhardy. The state would in effect be taking those properties out of the tax bases of communities and creating a double tax burden. Other landowners will have to assume the burden of the lost tax revenue base as the state gobbles up more land, and the bonds, once matured in 25 years, will have to be repaid with interest.
This represents hoisting an additional tax burden on the next generation, as the bonds for conservation are backed as “general obligations of the state, and the full faith and credit, revenue and taxing power of the state.” This means that these obligations will be paid first out of the public treasury, including interest and debt service, as they mature. Given the economic catastrophe that is Ohio, this is nothing more than a future tax increase on our children.
The “revitalization” package, although not general obligations of the state and thus not a guaranteed tax increase for future years, has it’s own significant drawbacks.
These bonds may be used, as authorized in this constitutional amendment, for the support of privately owned lands, in a number of ways classified as “revitalization.” This aspect of “public-private partnership” is nothing more than central planning and favoritism toward private parties utilizing public taxpayer funds (which will have to be used to pay off the $200,000,000 in bonds that may be issued under this proposal).
There are many promises made by the committee who drafted the argument in favor of Issue 2, the most repeated of which (and in actuality in the language, bolded, italicized, underlined and written in all capital letters) is the claim that passage of this “DOES NOT RAISE TAXES.” Yeah. Right. Sure. What the committee, Rep. Barbara Sears, Senator Mark Wagoner and Senator Sue Morano, neglected to add was the phrase “RIGHT NOW.” The whole truth is that yes, indeed, this is an all-but-guaranteed tax increase on future generations, just not on those who are “living for the moment.”
A long-term vision includes providing economic opportunity and security for our children’s children. State Issue 2 militates against that vision. For this reason, we ask Ohio voters to vote “NO” on State Issue 2.