For many of the same reasons as I oppose Issue 2, I am also against Issues 1 and 3.
Here is the Ohio Issues Report from the Ohio Ballot Board that provides the ballot language for the measures, the actual text of the proposals as well as pros and cons of each one.
Issue 1 would "authorize the state to issue bonds to provide compensation to veterans of the Persian Gulf, Afghanistan and Iraq conflicts."
Under the provision:
* The state would issue up to two hundred million dollars ($200,000,000) of bonds to provide compensation to veterans of the Persian Gulf, Afghanistan, and Iraq conflicts, and to pay for the administration of the Compensation Bond Retirement Fund and the Compensation Fund.
* The Ohio Department of Veterans Services would provide compensation to persons who have served in active duty in the United States armed forces at any time during the Persian Gulf, Afghanistan, and Iraq conflicts and who were Ohio residents at the start of active duty services and are currently Ohio residents.
So the state of Ohio is going to borrow money to pay out to a certain class of citizen based upon their employment in the U.S. armed forces. This is not for individuals who actually fought in the named conflicts, but for all veterans.
There are many who will say that this is 'the least we can do' for our veterans. But I have a sneaking suspicion that our veterans would not want the state - or its taxpayers and their fellow citizens - to go into debt just to give them cash for their service.
And that's what this measure will do. The state is going to borrow $200 million dollars to pay out to a particular class of Ohio citizens. There is nothing that says where the payments for this loan are going to come from - or whether or not tax incentives or credits on the Ohio Income Tax forms might be a better way of 'compensating' the valiant individuals.
Plus, the maximum amount is only $1,000 per vet. Do we really think $1,000 is going to be 'enough' to express our true gratitude for their service? If $1,000 is a good amount, why not $5,000, or $10,000 or even $25,000? Or is the $1,000 at a total cost of $200 million just what they think voters will approve?
And exactly how much of that $200 million is going to be dedicated to paying for the 'administration' of the bonds and the disbursements? Issue 1 would create another expansion of government, including an expansion of the costs of government.
Additionally, we're still involved in these conflicts, so we really have no idea what the final costs would actually be. Between the unknown number of veterans and the unknown costs of administration, there is no guarantee the final bill will be 'just' $200 million.
It is true that we can never do enough for our veterans, but that is a personal choice and a personal obligation - not a state deciding to borrow money and then tax everyone for the repayments. Besides, do you really think the politicians will be telling our veterans to thank the Ohio people for the 'gift'? Or will they be going around touting what 'they' did to help???
The very noble goal of providing a 'thank you' should be not be done by putting a financially-strapped state into further debt, or by expanding the cost of state government, or by taxing individuals just so politicians can have a point to add to their campaign literature.
If Ohioans really want to help our veterans, volunteer for them. Offer to help a military family clean out their gutters or do other home maintenance and repairs. Offer to drive a vet to the doctor's appointment, take them out to lunch, give them a grocery gift card, visit them when they're in the hospital.
If you want to show your appreciation for their service, YOU do it - personally - in a way that brings honor to you and them.
Vote NO on Issue 1 and take it upon yourself to provide your own 'thank you' for the sacrifices our U.S. armed services have made for our safety.
Issue 3 would amend the state Constitution to allow for one casino each in Cincinnati, Cleveland, Columbus and Toledo but would distribute the taxes on the casinos to all Ohio counties.
Many people have taken a position on this measure based upon the economic development aspects, the potential revenue to the various jurisdictions or because of the very subject of gambling.
My opposition has nothing to do with the subject matter. I believe that if you want to gamble, the state shouldn't be able to dictate to you about that choice. And while I believe that gambling can be bad - in fact, very, very bad - for some people, it can also be a form of entertainment for those who do it responsibly. Of course, that requires individuals to be responsible - or to suffer the suffer the consequences if they are not.
When it comes to tax revenue and/or economic development, pick your side and you'll find plenty of studies, reports, evaluations, etc...that will reinforce your opinion.
My opposition is to the amending of the state Constitution to carve out a business option for a particular type of business in only a few of the cities in the state.
If there was an amendment to establish plants that make whiskey in certain towns in Ohio with income from taxes distributed throughout the state, would you believe this was a proper use of the Constitution? Probably not...
What if the industry was a Halloween costume maker?
The point is that the 'industry' or specific business is not relevant. What is relevant is maintaining the Constitution as a document that applies to all equally - not one that can be piece-mealed to carve out benefits or exceptions for some.
So regardless of your support or opposition to 'gambling,' I urge you to reject the Constitutional amendment process proposed and vote NO on Issue 3.
*** If you'd like to know what positions other bloggers and media have taken on these issues, be sure to check out the 2009 Ohio Issues page on Ballotpedia.