November 01, 2011
Ballot issues, candidates, and your business
As the largest regional business network in Southwest Ohio, the Chamber takes its role as a business advocate very seriously. Chief among our duties as regional advocate is to educate our members on candidates for public office as well as the effect local and state ballot issues have on their business. After an extensive review process in the Chamber's Policy and Ballot Issues Committee and Government Affairs Council, the Chamber's Board of Directors voted to take positions on issues critical to business in the fall general election. The following is an overview of those positions:
Endorse Hamilton County Issue 37: Issue 37, regarding health and hospitalization services, is a 3-year, 4.07 mill tax levy that would generate $119.8 million to provide health care to Hamilton County citizens who can't afford it. The Chamber recommends a “yes” vote on Issue 37 because it funds critical health care services while not increasing taxes. The Chamber urges that the funds only be used for those services for which the levy is intended – to provide care for those in need.
Endorse Hamilton County Issue 38: Issue 38, regarding children’s services, is a 5-year, 2.77 mill tax levy renewal that would generate a total of $194 million to continue to support the responsibility of Hamilton County children's services to take reports of child abuse, neglect, and dependency; investigate these reports; act to protect child victims and children at risk; coordinate adoption and foster care services; and operate a 24-hour hot line for reporting child abuse and neglect. The Chamber supports Issue 38 because the levy funds vital children’s services in Hamilton County while not increasing taxes. The levy provides services which are mandated by the state and federal government and if the levy funds do not cover them, they would be required to come from the Hamilton County general-revenue fund.
Oppose Cincinnati Issue 44: The charter amendment would aggregate the purchase of retail electric service. The Chamber opposes this issue because citizens currently have the opportunity to choose an electric supplier and the Chamber believes that the city should not be involved in this market-based, customer-choice decision. Additionally, any value of aggregation would be reduced because it would exclude about 35 percent of ratepayers who are in arrears with payments or who need to participate in energy-subsidy programs.
Oppose Cincinnati Issue 45: The charter amendment is very similar to Issue 44— it would allow the city to aggregate the purchase of retail natural gas service. The Chamber is opposed to Issue 45 for the same reasons it is opposed to Issue 44— citizens currently have the opportunity to choose a retail natural gas supplier and the Chamber feels that the city should not be involved in this market-based, customer-choice decision. Additionally, any value of aggregation would be reduced because it would exclude about 35 percent of ratepayers who are in arrears with payments or who need to participate in energy-subsidy programs.
Oppose Cincinnati Issue 47: The charter amendment would prohibit the city from assessing a tax for the collection of garbage. The tax was presented as an option to help fill the city’s budget shortfall by charging $20.50 a month to residents and businesses to generate approximately $23 million a year in gross revenue. The amendment is opposed because it represents bad governance and it will limit the ability of elected officials to efficiently do the job for which they are elected.
Oppose Cincinnati Issue 48: The charter amendment would prohibit city spending or appropriating funds for a streetcar system before 2020. The Chamber does not support any measure that eliminates the community’s ability to develop transportation or other economic development projects.
For Ohio Issue 2: Ohio Issue 2 supports taxpayer rights and increases government accountability. An analysis of labor contracts on file with the State Employment Relations Board finds that all city employees in Cincinnati, including police and fire, pay just 5% of their health insurance premium, 26% less than what the average private sector employee pays. Issue 2 asks government employees to pay just 15% of the cost of their health insurance premium. With a projected $30-$35 million budget shortfall in Cincinnati, the commonsense reforms contained in Issue 2 will certainly help the city control its budget.
Ohio Issue 2 additional resources:
The Chamber did not take a position on Ohio Issue 1, the Judicial Age Constitutional Amendment; Ohio Issue 3, the Health Care Freedom Amendment; and Cincinnati Issue 46, the Charter Amendment Regarding Campaign Finance Reports. The Chamber also did not take a position on Cincinnati Issue 32, the Cincinnati Public Schools tax levy, while noting concerns regarding permanent improvement levies.
Printable ballot issues and council candidate guides: Print and take these to the polls.