Ohio Issue 1, Environmental Bonds Act (2000)

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The Ohio Environmental Bonds Amendment, also known as Issue 1, was on the November 7, 2000 ballot in Ohio as a legislatively-referred constitutional amendment, where it was approved.[1] This amendment authorizes the passage of laws permitting the state to issue up to $400 million in bonds and other obligations to pay the costs of projects for environmental conservation and revitalization purposes.

Election results

Ohio Issue 1 (2000)
ResultVotesPercentage
Approveda Yes 2,197,773 57.44%
No1,628,71642.56%

Election results via the Ohio Secretary of State.[2]

Text of measure

See also: Ohio Constitution, Article VIII, Section 2o

The language appeared on the ballot as:[3]

PROPOSED CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT
(Proposed by Resolution of the General Assembly of Ohio)

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

This proposed amendment would:

  1. Authorizes the state to issue bonds and other obligations to pay the costs of projects for environmental conservation and revitalization purposes.
  2. Specifies "conservation purposes" as meaning the conservation and preservation of natural areas, open spaces, and farmlands and other lands devoted to agriculture, including by acquiring land or interests therein; the provision of state and local park and recreation facilities, and other actions that permit and enhance the availability, public use, and enjoyment of natural areas and open spaces in Ohio; and land, forest, water and other natural resource management projects.
  3. Specifies "revitalization purposes" as meaning providing for and enabling the environmentally safe and productive development and use or reuse of publicly and privately owned lands, including those within urban areas, by the remediation or clean up of contamination; and addressing by clearance, land acquisition or otherwise, contamination or other property conditions or circumstances that might be deleterious to the public health and safety and the environment and water and other natural resources, or that preclude or inhibit environmentally sound or economic use of the property.
  4. Limits the total outstanding principal amount of all state obligations issued for conservation purposes, which shall be general obligations of the state backed by the full faith and credit, revenue, and taxing power of the state, to two hundred million dollars ($200,000,000) and the principal amount of all new obligations issued within a single fiscal year to fifty million dollars ($50,000,000) plus the principal amount of obligations that in any prior fiscal year could have been but were not issued within the fifty million dollar ($50,000,000) fiscal year limit.
  5. Limits the total outstanding principal amount of all state obligations issued for revitalization purposes, which shall not be general obligations of the state and shall not be backed by the full faith and credit, revenue, and taxing power of the state but which would be secured by a pledge of designated state revenues and receipts as the General Assembly authorizes, to two hundred million dollars ($200,000,000) and the principal amount of all new obligations issued within a single fiscal year to fifty million dollars ($50,000,000) plus the principal amount of obligations that in any prior fiscal year could have been but were not issued within the fifty million dollar ($50,000,000) fiscal year limit.
  6. Requires that the obligations mature no later than December 31 of the twenty-fifth (25th) calendar year after issuance, except that obligations issued to refund or retire other obligations must mature no later than December 31 of the twenty-fifth (25th) calendar year after the year in which the original obligation to pay was issued or entered into.
  7. Determines and confirmed that state and local governmental participation in and financial assistance to environmental and related conservation, preservation and revitalization projects are public purposes, authorize the state to participate or assist in the financing of those projects undertaken by local governmental entities or by others, including not-for-profit organizations, and specify that these activities would not be subject to the lending aid and credit prohibitions of Sections 4 and 6 of Article VIII of the Ohio Constitution.

If adopted, this amendment shall take immediate effect.

A majority yes vote is necessary for passage.

SHALL THE PROPOSED AMENDMENT BE ADOPTED? [4]

Support

The following reasons were given in support of Issue 1 by the Committee to Prepare Argument For Issue 1:[3]

State Issue 1 would allow the State of Ohio to issue $400 million in bonds for the conservation and revitalization of land and water in our state.

Issue 1 seeks to improve and preserve the quality of life for all Ohioans:

  • Issue 1 will help keep our state’s drinking water, rivers and streams clean, preserve and protect wildlife and their habitats, and expand outdoor recreational opportunities for all Ohioans.
  • Issue 1 will reduce the number of polluted industrial sites and clean up brownfields (property left abandoned due to real or perceived contamination) to stimulate economic development in urban areas and private investment in our state.
  • Passage of Issue 1 will not let polluters off the hook for the damage that they have caused. Polluters can still be held accountable and be required to pay for cleanup.
  • Issue 1 will not require a tax increase but can be paid off with current liquor profits and general state revenues.
  • Passage of Issue 1 is anticipated to generate other sources of investment, including funds from the federal government and the private sector for local governments to use to protect the environment and to preserve greenspace.

How does Issue 1 work?

Two funds of $200 million each would be created. The conservation fund would be used to preserve open space, maintain local watersheds, and develop bike paths and other recreational trails. The revitalization fund would support brownfields cleanup and redevelopment, as well as urban renewal. Eligible projects would include site acquisition, demolition, and pollution cleanup.

Issue 1 would contribute to a clean, safe and healthy environment for all Ohioans, leaving a legacy that future generations deserve.

Vote YES on State Issue 1. [4]

Opposition

The following reasons were given in opposition of Issue 1 by the Committee to Prepare Argument Against Issue 1:[3]

Issue 1 proposes a Constitutional amendment to allow the state to issue new debt of up to $400 million evenly split for land conservation and land revitalization purposes. The $400 million can be reissued, without a vote of the people, as it is retired and the fund would operate in perpetuity. The new debt authority, similar to a person getting his/her debt limit raised on a credit card, is unnecessary considering the following.

Issue 1 is a poorly targeted program that will have little impact on urban sprawl, farmland protection, or urban revitalization. This program would conserve less than 1% of Ohio’s farmland and open space at a cost of hundreds of millions in taxpayer dollars.

According to the Legislative Budget Office (LBO), the cost of repaying the $200 million for conservation purposes over 20 years could reach $303 million. LBO also estimates the cost of repaying the $200 million for revitalization purposes over 20 years could exceed $308 million.

The allocation of funds for land conservation and land revitalization should be subject to the public budget process, which would allow for the approval of projects before the allocation of funding; therefore, the issuance of new debt is not necessary. The State should not be given the authority to issue new debt for a program that is a token attempt at conservation and revitalization.

Vote NO on Issue 1.

[4]

See also

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