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Next Tuesday Ohio voters will decide the outcome of three statewide initiatives. The Reverend's recommendation is for Ohio voters to vote "no" on all three.
Issue 1 is, I think, a symbolic initiative, a feel-good intitiative which proposes to give Ohio servicepeople, especially those who have served in Iraq or Afghanistan, up to a $1000 bonus as a symbol of Ohio's appreciation for their service.
If the state of Ohio were not scambling just to figure out what spending to cut next.....or what gambling games to legalize in order to close a big state budget deficit.....then symbolic bonuses to servicepeople could be seriously considered.
But Issue 1 includes the floating of bonds. $200 million worth of bonds. Ohio doesn't have any extra money to pay military bonuses to Ohio military personnel.....so if Issue 1 passes, Ohio will be committed to paying bonuses with the proceeds from selling bonds AND returns on those bonds when they come due, with money Ohio does not have.
Issue 2 is tricky, I think. A yes vote on 2 will permanently establish a Livestock Care Standards Board by amending the Ohio Constitution. This Board will set standards for animal care and well being at Ohio's farms. Issue 2 is being sold as a vehicle to protect Ohio's "farms and families", to maintain "food safety", to encourage "locally grown and raised food."
Issue 2 is pre-emptive. It is an attempt to get out in front of a possible 2010 Ohio ballot initiative making it a criminal offense to confine animals in tiny restricted spaces. California passed something like that in 2008.
Issue 2 is meant to benefit agribusiness interests in Ohio. Nothing wrong with that, really. However, rewriting the Ohio Constitution in order to shield Ohio agribusiness from accountability in raising food animals.......except from a farmer-friendly State Board.....I'm thinking.....is not the way forward for the Buckeye State. Vote no.
Issue 3 is deja-vu all over again, Yogi. A yes vote will put a casino in four Ohio cities, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Columbus and Toledo. That's it. Ohio has rejected statewide gambling efforts 4 times, yet, here we go again.
Now that Governor Strickland's effort to place slots at race tracks to help the state's budget deficit is in limbo, Issue 3 may just have a chance of passing. It shouldn't. Ohioans should vote no.
When it comes to casino gambling or slots, Ohio is late to the party. Other states are already positioned. Yes, Ohioans take a lot of their money over to adjacent state casinos right now. That is no excuse to pass some hastily-arranged new limited-casino plan, benefitting only a couple of big corporate gambling players.
If Ohio intends to introduce casino gambling into the state.....something I am for on the merits.....it has to be done with much more planning and creative thinking. Issue 3 does neither.
In addition, Issue 3 is, like Issue 1, a Constitutional Amendment. Once passed.....very difficult to change.
The Reverend encourages Ohio voters to just say no.....on Issues, 1, 2 and 3.