Ohio Bonds to Fund Public Infrastructure Amendment, Issue 1 (May 2014)

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Ohio Issue 1
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Type:Constitutional amendment
Constitution:Ohio Constitution
Referred by:Ohio State Legislature
Topic:Bond issues
Status:Approved Approveda
The Ohio Bonds to Fund Public Infrastructure Amendment, Issue 1 was on the May 6, 2014, primary election ballot in Ohio as a legislatively-referred constitutional amendment. It was approved.[1]

The measure funded public infrastructure projects, including improvements to roads and bridges, by allowing the issuance of $1.875 billion in general obligation bonds over the course of 10 years.[2][3]

This measure was sponsored in the Ohio Legislature by Sen. Kevin Bacon (R-3) and Sen. Gayle Manning (R-13), where it was known as Senate Joint Resolution 6. After its approval, the amendment took effect immediately.[4][5]

Election results

Below are the certified election results, with 100 percent of precincts reporting:

Ohio Issue 1
Approveda Yes 797,207 65.11%
These results are from the Ohio Secretary of State.


For Ohioans, voting on bond issues was nothing new. Voters approved a measure similar to Issue 1 in 1987, subsequently renewing it twice. Since then, the state has appropriated approximately $500 million toward infrastructure in Cuyahoga County, according to the Ohio Public Works Commission. In 2005, voters approved a $1.35 billion statewide bond resolution, also known as Issue 1, with 54.12 percent of the vote.[3]

In 2006, the bonds put $6.9 million toward reconstructing Kinsman Road and another $3.5 million grant in 2011 went to improving the Big Creek watershed in Cleveland, according to the data. Outside of Cleveland, the figures show another $4.3 million grant in 2012 to widen Pearl Road in Strongsville. Committees in the Public Works Commission's 19 districts divvy the money each year to local governments who apply for aid.[6]

—Robert Higgs, Cleveland.com, [3]

Text of measure

The following was the ballot language:[2]

Proposed by Joint Resolution of the General Assembly

To enact Section 2s of Article VIII of the Constitution of the State of Ohio

A majority yes vote is required for the adoption of Section 2s.

This proposed amendment would:

1. Authorize the state to issue bonds or other obligations to finance or assist in financing public infrastructure capital improvements for local governments and other governmental entities. Capital improvement projects would be limited to roads and bridges, waste water treatment systems, water supply systems, solid waste disposal facilities, storm water and sanitary collection, storage, and treatment facilities.

2. Determine that such capital improvements are necessary to preserve and expand the public infrastructure, ensure public health, safety and welfare, create and preserve jobs, enhance employment opportunities, and improve the economic welfare of the people of Ohio.

3. Limit the total principal amount of the state general obligations issued under the amendment to no more than $1.875 billion over a ten-year period, with no more than $175 million issued in each of the first five fiscal years and no more than $200 million in each of the next five fiscal years. Any principal amount that could have been issued in any prior fiscal year, but was not issued, may subsequently be issued.

4. Require that obligations issued under this amendment mature no later than thirty (30) years after their date of issuance, and that any obligation issued to retire or refund other obligations mature no later than the permitted maturity date for the obligations being retired or refunded.

5. Authorize the General Assembly to pass laws implementing this amendment, including laws establishing procedures for incurring and issuing obligations and laws providing for the use of Ohio products, materials, services and labor to the extent possible.

If approved, the amendment hall take effect immediately.

A "YES" vote mans approval of the amendment.

A "NO" vote means disapproval of the amendment.

Ohio Issue 1 2014.png


Constitutional changes

See also: Article VIII, Ohio Constitution

Issue 1 amended Section 2 of Article VIII of the Ohio Constitution. Specifically, it added section 2s.[7]

Read the full text of the constitutional changes here.


Ohio Constitution
Seal of Ohio.svg.png

This measure was sponsored in the legislature by Senators Kevin Bacon and Gayle Manning, where it was known as Senate Joint Resolution 6.[4]


SJR 6 "Yes" Votes

Below are lists of state legislators who voted "yes" on SJR 6, thereby referring Issue 1 to the ballot:[8]

Note: A yes vote on SJR 6 merely referred the question to voters and did not necessarily mean these legislators approved of the stipulations laid out in Issue 1.


The following representatives voted in favor of placing this measure on the ballot:[8]


The following state senators voted in favor of placing this measure on the ballot:[9]


The arguments presented in favor of Issue 1 in the Ohio Secretary of State's official voter guide were prepared by the proponents of Issue 1, including Representatives Stephanie Kunze, Tim Brown and Chris Redfern, and Senators Kevin Bacon, Gayle Manning and Eric Kearney. They read as follows:

A YES vote on Issue 1, the State Capital Improvements bond issue, will continue a program that has been in place since 1987 and help support the completion of badly needed road, bridge, sewer and other infrastructure projects in local Ohio communities, with no increase in taxes.

  • ISSUE 1 BRINGS NEEDED REPAIRS. To keep us safe and to maintain our quality of life, local communities need our help to fix deteriorating roads, bridges and other facilities. Issue 1 renews a highly successful 27-year old program to Ohelp local governments afford these vital improvements.
  • ISSUE 1 IS A TRIED AND TRUE SUCCESS FOR OHIO. First authorized in 1987, it has been renewed by voters twice, in 1995 and 2005.
  • ALL 88 COUNTIES BENEFIT, AND THOUSANDS OF JOSBS ARE CREATED. All 88 Ohio counties have benefited from more than 11,500 grants for vital local projects. Issue 1 will mean thousands more projects will be completed, and an estimated 35,000 jobs will continue to be created. An objective grant allocation process assures fairness so that communities both large and small receive funding.
  • NO INCREASE IN TAXES. Funds to repay project bonds are already built into state budget planning, so Issue 1 has NO increase in taxes. And Ohio's strong finances and excellent bond ratings make possible a modest increase in funding for these capital improvements. Issue 1 also reduces pressure to raise local government taxes.
  • BIPARTISAN SUPPORT. Democrats and Republicans, organized labor and business, and Ohioans from all walks of life join in bipartisan support for Issue 1. The vote in the Senate to put Issue 1 on the ballot was 31-0, and the vote in the House was 90-2.

Issue 1 is a proven, affordable program that's good for our local communities. Help build stronger Ohio communities and create jobs by voting YES on Issue 1. [6]

—Representatives Stephanie Kunze, Tim Brown, Chris Redfern, and Senators Kevin Bacon, Gayle Manning and Eric Kearney, [5]


SJR 6 "No" Votes

Below are lists of state legislators who voted against placing SJR 6 on the ballot:[8]

Note: A no vote on SJR 6 meant that a legislator did not want to refer the question to voters and did not necessarily mean these legislators disapproved of the stipulations laid out in Issue 1.



The argument presented in opposition to Issue 1 in the Ohio Secretary of State's official voter guide was prepared by the Ohio Ballot Board in the absence of any submission in opposition, as required by Ohio Revised Code Section 3505.063(B). It read as follows:

Issue 1 allows the state to issue more general obligation bonds, increasing indebtedness to pay for public infrastructure capital improvements. As a result, all Ohio taxpayers will be paying interest on those bonds to cover local government projects including roads, bridges, waste water treatment systems, water supply systems, solid waste disposal facilities and storm water and sanitary collection, storage and treatment facilities. These are community-based projects from which many Ohioans may not see a direct benefit and which local governments should prioritize and pay for using locally-raised dollars.

The state government has gone back to voters numerous times for permission to issue more general obligation bonds, most recently in 2005. Issue 1 not only represents an increase in the amount of borrowed money and spending on local infrastructure as compared to previous years, but it also comes sooner than voters expected. When Ohioans approved the las round of general obligation bonds in 2005, they expected it to last for a full 10 years.

Though the newly issued bonds will pay for projects over the next decade, it may take up to three times that long to pay them back as outlined in the full text of Senate Joint Resolution 6, which placed Issue 1 on the ballot, "Each issue of obligations issued under this section shall mature in not more than thirty years from the date of issuance, or, if issued to retire or refund other obligations, within that number of years from the date the debt being retired or refunded was originally issued."

Vote NO on Issue 1. [6]

—Ohio Ballot Board, [5]

Path to the ballot

See also: Amending the Ohio Constitution

At the time of Issue 1's approval, there were multiple ways to potentially amend the Ohio Constitution. The Ohio State Legislature could propose amendments, according to Article XVI, if 60 percent of both chambers agreed to it. The Ohio Constitution included some unusual constitutional-level provisions governing this process including:

  • The constitution established the Ohio Ballot Board.
  • Elections on amendments proposed by the legislature could take place on general election days or special election days.
  • The Ohio Supreme Court had original jurisdiction over matters relating to legislatively-proposed amendments.
  • Lawsuits against legislatively-proposed amendments for the most part couldn't be filed within 64 days of the election.

On January 14, 2014, the Senate passed SJR 6 by a vote of 31 to 0. On January 22, 2014, the House passed the resolution by a vote of 92 to 2, thus sending it to the May primary ballot.[10]

Senate vote

January 14, 2014 Senate vote

Ohio Issue 1, SJR 6 Senate Vote
Approveda Yes 31 100%

House vote

January 22, 2014 House vote

Ohio Issue 1, SJR 6 House Vote
Approveda Yes 92 98%

See also

Suggest a link

External links