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Government and Politics

Critics say Ohio Issue 1 is a deferred a tax
But the state's budget director says spreading out costs for major projects is good policy

Karen Kasler
Ohio Office of Budget and Management Director Tim Keen says spreading out costs is the right way to pay for big projects.
Courtesy of Ohio Office of Budget and Management
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The single statewide ballot issue on Tuesday’s ballot has no organized opposition, but the $2 billion bond issue to raise money for construction and repair projects does have a few critics.


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Issue 1 will allow the state to sell $1.875 billion in bonds over 10 years. But Maurice Thompson of the 1851 Center for Constitutional Law says it does more than that. He claims it will raise Ohioans’ taxes 15 to 20 years in the future.

“The reason all the politicians are for this is because they can spend this money today, they can target it to politically sensitive areas today, and not have to be held accountable for the tax increases ten years from now because they’ll be long gone, and it’ll be just you and I and other Ohioans here holding the bag,” Thompson says.

Thompson says the state already spends too much money. But state budget director Tim Keen is emphatic that there is no tax increase in the bond issue, and that it is the right way to pay for big expensive needs.

“When you have long-lived assets like roads, bridges, water systems, that we are going to build with these dollars, it’s appropriate to borrow that money and then spread the cost of those projects over the life of the project,” Keen says.

Keen says the most the state will have to pay on the bonds is $40 million, which he says is a manageable fraction of the state budget.

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