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Voters to decide veteran compensation, gambling issues
Buckeye Farm News
Two state issues that voters Nov. 3 will be deciding deal with compensation for military veterans and casinos in four Ohio cities.
While Ohio Farm Bureau has not taken an official position on either one of these issues, members are encouraged to closely study the issues before going to the polls, said Beth Vanderkooi, director of OFBF’s state policy.
“One of the goals of Ohio Farm Bureau is to provide political education for members on all issues and not just ones that we take a stance on,” she said.
Below are summaries of state Issues 1 and 3 provided by the state secretary’s office (Issue 2 would create the Ohio Livestock Care Standards Board).
State Issue 1
Voting yes on Issue 1 would allow the state to issue $200 million in bonds to provide cash bonuses for Ohio veterans who served during the Persian Gulf, Afghanistan and Iraq conflicts. If approved, the constituional amendment would take effect immediately and be in place until Dec. 31, 2013.
Arguments provided by the Secretary of State’s office
For Issue 1:
Supporters say it is a “much-deserved ‘thank you’ to Ohio’s servicemen and women.” Ohioans who fought in the Persian Gulf, Afghanistan and Iraq could receive $100 per month of service, not to exceed $1,000, while those stationed in other locations during those conflicts could receive $50 per month of service, not to exceed $500.
Issue 1 would also offer a $5,000 death benefit to the families of soldiers killed in the line of duty. Supporters say passing Issue 1 would “continue a longstanding Ohio tradition of supporting our veterans.”
Against Issue 1:
Opponents say now is not the time to have the government take out more debts to provide compensation to vets. “While this may be a worthwhile and noble endeavor, the state of Ohio should not be going further into debt,” they say. They also argue that the money could be retained by taxpayers who have suffered during the economic downturn. “This money could be used by taxpayers for their own purposes or used for other plans and directly helping people in need.”
State Issue 3
Issue 3 would amend the Ohio Constitution to allow for one casino each in Cincinnati, Cleveland, Columbus and Toledo and distribute a tax on those casinos to each county in Ohio. Licensed casino operators would be required to pay a $50 million fee to be used for state job training and to make a minimum initial investment of $250 million in their facility. It would permit approved types of casino gambling authorized by Michigan, West Virginia, Indiana and Pennsylvania as of Jan. 1, 2009 or “games subsequently authorized by those states.”
Passage of Issue 3 would authorize the casinos to be open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Casino facilities would be “subject to all state and local laws and provisions related to health and building codes, but that no local zoning, land use laws, subdivision regulations or similar provisions shall prohibit the development or operation of the casinos at the designated sites.”
Arguments provided by the Secretary of State’s Office
For Issue 3:
Supporters say it will create 34,000 new jobs and produce $11 billion in economic impact over five years for Ohio. They say it will generate $651 million a year in tax revenue to be shared by all 88 counties, the eight largest cities and every Ohio public school district. The $200 million for state job training program will “put Ohioans back to work.” Having Issue 3 pass also will help keep money and tax revenues in Ohio because more than $1 billion leaves the state every year when Ohioans travel to neighboring states to gamble.
Supporters also noted that the AFL-CIO, Ohio State Building Trades Council, Fraternal Order of Police and many local labor organizations have endorsed the plan.
Argument against Issue 3:
Opponents point out that Ohio voters have already said no to casino gambling four times before. They say “nothing in Issue 3 requires casino operators to build anything. No revenues get paid to the state if no one builds in a city.” They say Ohio’s casinos would pay a lower percentage of their profits than casinos in most other states and that the Ohio legislature would not be able to impose a higher tax rate.
They also say “border states would dictate to Ohio” because Issue 3 says Ohio would be forced to offer games