Monday, November 03, 2008

TBMD Down Ballot Issues - 2008

A useful summary of state issues from The Ohio Catholic Conference can be found here.

Issue 1, Petition Filing Deadlines.

Pushing the filing deadline back from 60/90 days to 125 will have the effect of limiting the effectiveness of the initiative process.

Recommendation: No on 1.

Issue 2, Environmental Bond Issue:

Authorizes $400 million in state bond funding for environmental issues. As much as I like bike & hike trails, the last thing that Ohio needs is to increase the debt load.

Recommendation: No on 2.

Issue 3, Support for Private Property Rights re: groundwater / lakes / watercouses.

Private property rights are human rights.

Recommendation: Yes on 3.

Issue 4: Mercifully killed.

Issue 5: “Payday Lending”

A mixed bag – payday lenders are only slightly less exploitative of the poor than drug dealers, casino operators, and state lotteries. In this case, the poor actually receive something of value – at least temporary liquidity.

A “Yes” vote retains the legislature’s recent fee caps; a “No” vote overturns the law.

So, we’re faced with a situation where retaining the law will likely dry up a source of credit, and a no vote will restore it, though at very, very, very, high prices.

So what’s a conservative to do? If you want to treat people – even poor people - like adults, a “No” vote would seem to be indicated. If most people used this as a strictly one time emergency fix, and never went back, a definite no vote would be required. However, one suspects that this is a trap that people fall into after maxing out their credit cards, and an inability to control spending. Then when the emergency hits, they don’t have a cushion. (Not like I have a cushion, so I can easily sense that once you’re in, you can’t get out nature of this problem).

Given the recent financial turmoil, one of the things that stands out is the entire lack of credit management. Consequently, it’s probably time to dry up some of the sources of high risk loans.

Since “slightly less exploitative than Casino gambling and state lotteries” doesn’t qualify as a ringing endorsement, TBMD has a mixed recommendation of Yes on Issue 5.

Issue 6, The Casino Monopoly.

It’s always a bad idea to amend the state constitution to grant a monopoly to one company. It’s worse to amend the state constitution to grant a monopoly to a single casino enterprise.

Once we amend the constitution, it will be very difficult to modify the terms of the deal if things do not go according to plan. Ammending the constitution to funnel millions of dollars to Lyle Berman just doesn’t seem smart.

TBMD has opposed gambling issues in past elections, and Issue 6 brings an even more unsavory twist than the usual hidden costs of gambling addiction, crime, and ruined families – this version centralizes the power into one company.

Here’s the Ballotpedia summary on Issue 6. And a re-run and synopsis of Jill from WLST’s 57 reasons on the last casino issue.

Recommendation: No on 6

Akron Issue 8, Scholarships in the Sewers.

There’s a gold mine in dem dar sewers. Or so the Mayor Plusquellic’s beclowning himself would have you think. The reality is that this is a poorly thought out student loan program. And that’s if it works as advertised.

Passage of Issue 8 will not guarantee jobs of any kind. Jobs are a function of the business climate, and profitable business opportunities. Producing more BA degrees from the University of Akron doesn’t address this issue.

Recommendation: No on 8.

Akron Issue 9, the Anti-8 measure

If Issue 8 had any realistic chance of generating the cash flows advertised, and if those cash flows were going to be used for a reasonable civic purpose – police, fire, street repair, tax relief, I’d be in favor of privatizing the sewer system.

Certainly if I trusted the Mayor and Council more, I’d certainly vote no on 9 as well. I’m also developing a pronounced aversion to ‘community activists’.

Recommendation: Mild Yes on 9 – in a one party state like Akron & Summit County, limiting the power of the government is usually worth doing.