Ohio2006 Blog

News, analysis, and comments on Ohio elections.

Friday, February 24

State Issues: Blackwell's TEL Amendment Challenged

As reported in the Akron Beacon Journal and the Cleveland Plain Dealer, The Coalition for Ohio's Future, a group opposed to Republican gubernatorial candidate Ken Blackwell's proposed Tax and Expenditure Limitation (TEL) amendment to the Ohio Constitution, has filed legal protests against petitions seeking to put the issue on the November ballot. Similar to the controversial TABOR amendment in Colorado, which was severely limited by voters last November, Blackwell's TEL amendment would limit state and local government annual spending growth to 3.5 percent or the sum of the rate of inflation plus population growth. Bill Faith, speaking for The Coalition for Ohio's Future, said the TEL amendment's expected ill effects on social services spending aren't the only reasons he's opposed. "It's about what it does to local governments, it's about what it does to all services that the public sector touches. It just hamstrings everybody."

If county boards of elections uphold the protests, Blackwell's organization would have time to collect new signatures to correct the problems.

Meanwhile Blackwell's gubernatorial opponent, Attorney General Jim Petro (R-Rocky River), recently joined with two state legislators in introducing resolutions that would put an alternative anti-government growth ballot initiative before voters. Petro contends that Blackwell's amendment would be disastrous for the state's budget and has proposed a Citizens' Amendment for Prosperity (CAP) which would limit state revenues to 5.5 percent of the state's personal income. If revenues exceeded the limit, the first 2.5 percent of the excess would go into a state rainy-day fund, while any beyond that would be given back to taxpayers. However, Petro's support for his own proposal is less than absolute, since he has said that he would drop his own amendment if Blackwell would abandon the other.

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