Ohio Issue 1, Bonds for Job Stimulation (2003)

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The Ohio Bonds for Job Stimulation Amendment, also known as Issue 1 and by some as "Third Frontier," was on the November 4, 2003 ballot in Ohio as a legislatively-referred constitutional amendment, where it was defeated.[1][2] This amendment would have authorized $500,000,000 in bonds to "stimulate economic growth."


Despite the defeat of the measure, proposal-designer Ohio Governor Bob Taft secured $325 million for his Third Frontier program through the state's general budget. In 2005, another economic development oriented bond proposal by Governor Taft was put to voters. That time it was approved.[2]

Election results

Ohio Issue 1 (2003)
Defeatedd No1,235,32350.81%
Yes 1,195,706 49.19%

Election results via the Ohio Secretary of State.[3]

Text of measure

See also: Ohio Constitution, Article VIII, Section 2

The language appeared on the ballot as:[4]

(Proposed by Resolution of the General Assembly of Ohio)

To adopt Section 2p of Article VIII of the Constitution of the State of Ohio.

This proposed amendment would:

  1. Be for the purpose of creating jobs and stimulating economic growth in Ohio.
  2. Authorize state and local governments to issue bonds and provide other financial assistance to support "science and technology based research and development purposes," including new product development and commercialization, capital formation, operating costs, public and private institutions of higher education, research organizations, institutions or facilities, and private sector business and industry, as may be provided for by state or local law.
  3. Limit to five hundred million dollars ($500,000,000) the total principal amount of state general obligations issued under this amendment, and limit the amount that can be borrowed in any one fiscal year to no more than fifty million dollars ($50,000,000) plus the principal amount of those obligations that in any prior fiscal year could have been but were not issued, except that not more than one hundred million dollars ($100,000,000) of principal amount of those obligations may be issued in the first fiscal year of issuance.
  4. Authorize the state to participate or to assist in the financing of "science and technology based research and development purposes" undertaken by local governmental or private sector entities; authorize state-supported and state-assisted institutions of higher education and local public agencies to issue bonds or other obligations to pay their costs of participating in and implementing those purposes; and specify that these activities would be public purposes not subject to the Ohio Constitution's prohibitions regarding lending aid and credit.
  5. Require that these obligations mature no later than December 31 of the twentieth calendar year after issuance, except that obligations issued to refund or retire other obligations must mature no later than December 31 of the twentieth calendar year after the year in which the original obligation to pay was issued or entered into.
  6. Authorize the General Assembly to pass laws providing for its implementation.

If adopted, this amendment shall take immediate effect. A majority yes vote is necessary for passage.

A majority yes vote is necessary for passage.



Arguments in favor

The following reasons were given in support of Issue 1 by the Committee to Prepare Argument For Issue 1:[4]

A YES vote on Issue 1 will help create more good jobs for Ohioans, without raising taxes.

Issue 1 will help grow Ohio’s economy and help our state attract and retain high paying jobs. Issue 1 should be approved for the following reasons:

  • ISSUE 1 WILL HELP CREATE JOBS. Issue 1 will help create thousands of new, high-paying jobs in every region of Ohio – jobs in advanced manufacturing, information technology, biomedical products, and other high-growth industries.
  • ISSUE 1 DOES NOT RAISE TAXES. Bonds authorized through Issue 1 will not require a tax increase now or in the future. Repayment of bonds

has already been factored into the state’s long-range financial plans.

  • ISSUE 1 WILL HELP KEEP OUR CHILDREN AND GRANDCHILDREN CLOSE TO HOME. In recent years, thousands of Ohioans left the state in the pursuit of good jobs. Issue 1 will help create the kind of good jobs that will help keep our children and grandchildren close to home.
  • ISSUE 1 IS PART OF A BROAD ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT PLAN. Issue 1 is part of the state’s largest economic development initiative ever launched. With federal and private sector support, Issue 1 will help generate $6 billion of new investment for Ohio’s economy, leading to the creation of thousands of good jobs in all regions of Ohio.
  • ISSUE 1 HAS BROAD BIPARTISAN SUPPORT. Issue 1 is supported by Republicans, Democrats, Independents, business, labor and higher education leaders. Nearly every major newspaper is supporting Issue 1.

Issue 1 will help create more good jobs for Ohioans, a healthier, stronger economy for Ohio, all without raising taxes.

Vote YES on Issue 1. [5]

The official ballot book arguments in favor of Issue 1 were signed by:


Total campaign cash Campaign Finance Ballotpedia.png
Category:Ballot measure endorsements Support: $3,300,084
Circle thumbs down.png Opposition: $0

$3,300,084 was contributed to the campaign in favor of a "yes" vote on Issue 1 through a committee called the "Ohio Jobs Campaign/Ohioans for the Third Frontier."[6]

Donors of $100,000 or more to the "Yes on Issue 1" campaign were:

Donor Amount
Procter & Gamble $270,000
First Energy $200,000
Taft O'Connor Inaugural Committee $185,000
American Financial $150,000
National City Corp. $100,000
Cinergy Corp. $100,000
Timken Co. $100,000
Western-Southern Life Insurance Co. $100,000


Arguments against

The following reasons were given in opposition of Issue 1 by the Committee to Prepare Argument Against Issue 1:[4]

Voting NO on Issue 1 means:

  • You oppose expanding the ten-year corporate-subsidy plan known as the Third Frontier. It is a program that strikes at the heart of our traditional free-market economy;
  • You oppose putting the vast majority of businesses at an unfair competitive disadvantage by pitting them against government-favored, taxpayer-funded entities;
  • You oppose a three-person, governor-appointed panel picking winners and losers by determining who gets a tax break and who does not. Technology development should be driven by free-market and not state government;
  • You oppose giving preference to certain businesses, universities, researchers, and entrepreneurs who will profit financially from tax breaks that are not given to all;
  • You oppose allowing those individuals and corporations affiliated with universities to use the tax supported infrastructure of a university for their personal gain when formulating and marketing new goods and services for their own profit;
  • You oppose bypassing the Ohio Constitution’s 5% cap on state debt service;
  • You oppose putting an issue on the ballot before rules and regulations for the program have been established; and finally,
  • You oppose a $63 million increase in debt service. Ohio does not need more government spending. By locking our state into bond retirement, Issue 1 will shift funds away from legitimate services.

Vote NO on Issue 1.


The ballot book arguments opposing Issue 2 were written by:


No funds were spent opposing Issue 1.

See also

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