Local Leaders Support Issue 1

Local leaders held a public show of support today for State Issue One. Pressing for the bill’s passage from the steps of city hall, Columbus Mayor Coleman touted the 2 billion dollar bond program as indispensable. But critics say the General Assembly’s addition of Third Frontier funding is an inefficient use of public money.

The speakers at the city hall press conference emphasized the infrastructure benefits promised by Issue One – better roads, bridges and sewer systems. According to Franklin County Engineer Dean Ringle, Issue One would continue a 20-year-old state program that funnels money to local projects. Columbus Mayor Coleman echoed Ringle’s words.

We have already received over the years $342 million since this very important public works program started and we depend upon it, Coleman says.

Coleman said Ohio needs Issue One to help replace the 280,000 jobs that have been lost in the last 5 years. County Commissioner Paula Brooks said every person in Franklin County would benefit if the bill is approved.

This helps our families. It’s jobs! Jobs! Jobs! And it’s quality of life. Whether you live in the suburbs or city or township, we need Issue One, Brooks says.

But Issue One is more than just money for road projects. 500 million dollars would be allocated to the controversial Third Frontier program, designed to create high tech jobs. Opponent Dave Zanotti, head of Ohio Roundtable told WOSU’s Fred Andrle, that backers of Issue One are hiding the unpopular third frontier funding behind popular public works spending.

[It's a] very deceitful process that the General Assembly has brought this to in the first place. They’re covering up Bob Taft’s Third Frontier provision with the infrastructure. We don’t even need it today. If Issue 1 goes down, there won’t be any fewer jobs in Ohio, Zanotti says.

Zannoti says $500 million to create high tech jobs is not money well spent.

When we talk about jobs, jobs, jobs, well Third Frontier has been creating jobs. It’s created, according to the Lieutenant governor about 1,100 jobs with $325 million taxpayer dollars at the cost of $295,000 a job. Would any other company spend that much money to create that few jobs?, asks Zanotti.

Zanotti says the bill would allow state government to fund private companies. Proponents say they have widespread support among Ohio Republicans and Democrats. Sam Hendren, WOSU News.

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