By Brittany Clingen and Josh Altic
Voters in Ohio approved the first statewide ballot measure of 2014 during the May 6, 2014 primary election. Ohioans said "yes" to Issue 1, which funds 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. For Ohio residents, 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% of the vote. The current Issue 1 was referred to the primary ballot by a majority of the Ohio Legislature, with only two state representatives voting against sending the measure to voters.
Local measures in Ohio featured the third attempt by anti-fracking activists to approve their Youngstown charter amendment, which was also on the ballot in May and November of 2013. The amendment sought to:
- prohibit "unconventional natural gas extraction using horizontal hydraulic fracturing;"
- ban "the establishment of infrastructures supporting gas production;"
- ban "the storage, transportation or depositing of gas drilling waste products" in Youngstown; and
- establish a "Community Bill of Rights."
Although the initial vote count showed the initiative amendment being approved by a very small margin, by the end of the night, the ballot tally showed that voters had rejected the measure once again.
In California, where seven local parcel taxes were seen by voters in six school districts and one healthcare district across the state, all six school district parcel taxes were easily approved. The most notable measure on the May 6 ballot affecting the largest number of Californians was Measure C, a parcel tax of 14 cents per square foot, requested by the West Contra Costa Healthcare District. This measure needed a 2/3rds supermajority vote for approval, but was rejected, only receiving approval from 51.93 percent of voters. District officials said that, without this parcel tax, the Doctors Medical Center (DMC) hospital, located in San Pablo, could be forced to drastically reduce its services or even shut down entirely. This gave today's decision by voters in the district life-changing consequences for the medical staff at the hospital and for patients throughout the area.
- ↑ Ballot Board, "Certified Ballot Issues for May 2014 Primary Election," accessed March 23, 2014
- ↑ 2.0 2.1 Cleveland.com, "Ohio Ballot Board OKs language for state Issue 1, which will ask voters in May to reauthorize capital improvements bond program," February 20, 2014
- ↑ OpenStates.org, "SJR 6: Ohio Senate Joint Resolution," accessed April 22, 2014
- ↑ Protect Youngstown website, "Homepage," accessed January 6, 2014
- ↑ Mahoning County elections office website, "May 6, 2014 election results," accessed May 7, 2014
- ↑ ABC Local, "Parcel tax proposed to save Doctors Medical Center," April 14, 2014
- See also: School bond and tax elections in Ohio
Ohio is one of a handful of states that expresses its property tax cap limit in the amount of mills using the mill rate formula over an mathematical formula. Ohio has a ten mill limit that is protected by the Ohio Constitution since 1953. Also, Ohio requires approval for any new bonding by the Ohio School Facilities Commission. Ohio uses an adjusted valuation per-pupil formula to determine which districts should get bonding. Districts with the lowest ratings are given first consideration in the process of getting a bond issue approved.
Supreme Court justices selection changes
Chief Justice Moyer, Ohio State Bar Association and the League of Women Voters all agree that a change is needed in how the Supreme Court justices are selected. On Friday November 20, the three parties agreed to work together to build a coalition that would support a constitutional amendment that would make it so that justices are appointed and stand for a retention election. Currently statewide elections are held to select justices. Moyer believes that there is a perception that campaign contributions influence judicial decisions. The suggested that early next year they would have a plan set out on how to go about these changes.