Question 4, An Act to Provide Tax Relief, failed on November 3rd, only receiving 39.8% of Yes votes. This bill would have imposed expenditure limitations on state and local government while requiring voter approval of certain state tax increases. For a complete reading of the ballot measure, click here.
Question 6 - Bond Issue passed on November 3rd. This Act authorizes the State to issue bonds in an amount not to exceed $71,250,000 to raise funds for a variety of projects, as described below. The bonds will run for a period not longer than 10 years from the date of issue and will be backed by the full faith and credit of the State. Fifty million dollars ($50,000,000) of the bond proceeds will be placed in the Highway Fund and the remainder would be in the General Fund. A breakdown of how the money will be spent is as follows:
The Department of Transportation will expend $69,750,000 of the bond proceeds for the following types of projects:
- $55,000,000 for highway and bridge improvement projects statewide
- $5,750,000 for improvements to the ports at Eastport and Searsport
- $4,000,000 for improvements to state-owned rail lines and investments in the Industrial Rail Access Program and the Critical Rail Corridors Program
- $2,000,000 for improvements to publicly owned airports
- $1,000,000 for ferry facilities
- $1,000,000 for the LifeFlight Foundation, a non-profit foundation that supports a statewide medical helicopter service used to transport critically ill and injured patients to hospitals
- $400,000 to continue development of the Acadia Gateway Intermodal Center in Trenton
- $400,000 for improvements to island airports
- $200,000 for upgrades to the Augusta airport
The Department of Economic and Community Development will expend the remaining $1,500,000 of the proceeds of sale of the bonds to rebuild a bulkhead and wharf at the Gulf of Maine Research Institute in Portland.
The Public Question on the 2009 New Jersey Ballot was passed on November 3rd, also known as the Green Acres, Water Supply and Floodplain Protection, and Farmland and Historic Preservation Bond Act of 2009, if you don't prefer brevity. The measure authorizes the State to issue bonds in the amount of $400 million to provide moneys for (1) the acquisition and development of lands for recreation and conservation purposes, including lands that protect water supplies, (2) the preservation of farmland for agricultural or horticultural use and production, (3) the acquisition, for recreation and conservation purposes, of properties that are prone to or have incurred flood or storm damage, and (4) funding historic preservation projects; and providing the ways and means to pay the interest on the debt and also to pay and discharge the principal thereof, with full public disclosure of all spending.
The initiative also funds park improvements and facilities. Of the total sum authorized: (1) $218 million will be used for Green Acres; (2) $146 million will be used for farmland preservation purposes; (3) $24 million will be used for the "Blue Acres" program by which the State may purchase from willing sellers, for open space preservation purposes, properties that are prone to or have incurred flood or storm damage; and (4) $12 million will be used for historic preservation purposes. All spending of the authorized bond proceeds will be subject to full public disclosure.
Issue 1 passed in Ohio on November 3rd. This proposed amendment authorizes the state to issue up to $200,000,000 of bonds to provide compensation to Ohio veterans of the Persian Gulf, Afghanistan, and Iraq conflicts, and to pay for the administration of the Persian Gulf, Afghanistan, and Iraq Conflicts Compensation Bond Retirement Fund and the Persian Gulf, Afghanistan, and Iraq Conflicts Compensation Fund.
The State will provide $100 per month, up to $1000, for Ohio veterans who served in the Persian Gulf, Afghanistan, and Iraq conflicts. Furthermore, the State will provide $50 per month, up to $500, for veterans who served elsewhere during those conflicts. In addition, family members of qualified deceased veterans can apply for a $5,000 death benefit.
Issue 3, a ballot measure to allow casino gaming in four major Ohio cities, passed on November 3rd. A 33% tax of gross revenue will be levied on the four casino operators. The tax will be distributed as follows:
- 51% among all 88 counties in proportion to such counties' respective populations. Half of each county's distribution will go to its largest city if that city's population is above 80,000
- 34% among all public school districts
- 5% among all host cities
- 3% to the Ohio casino control commission
- 3% to the Ohio state racing commission fund
- 2% to a state law enforcement training fund
- 2% to a state problem gambling and addictions fund
For a complete reading of the ballot measure from the state of Ohio, click here.
Proposition 1, Authorizing City and County Financing to Buy Buffer Areas Near Military Installations, passed on November 3rd. The constitutional amendment authorizes the financing, including through tax increment financing, of the acquisition by municipalities and counties of buffer areas or open spaces adjacent to a military installation for the prevention of encroachment or for the construction of roadways, utilities, or other infrastructure to protect or promote the mission of the military installation.
Proposition 2, Requiring Appraisal of Residence Homesteads Based Solely on their Homestead Value, also passed on November 3rd. The constitutional amendment authorizes the legislature to provide for the ad valorem taxation of a residence homestead solely on the basis of the property's value as a residence homestead.
Proposition 4, Establishing the National Research University Fund, was passed on November 3rd. The National Research University Fund will be established to provide state funding to tier-1 research universities. For a complete reading of the ballot measure, click here.
Proposition 6, Renewing Veterans' Land Board Bond Authority for Land and Mortgage Loans, passed on November 3rd. The constitutional amendment authorizes the Veterans' Land Board to issue general obligation bonds in amounts equal to or less than amounts previously authorized.
Proposition 8, Authorizing the State to Contribute Resources to Veterans' Hospitals, passed on Tuesday, November 3rd. Proposition 8 will add Texas Constitution, Art. 16, sec. 73 to authorize the state to contribute money, property, and other resources to establish, maintain, and operate veterans' hospitals in Texas. Click here for the Texas House Research Organization's summary of the ballot measure.
Initiative Measure 1033, concerning state, county and city revenue, failed in Washington on November 3, 2009. This measure aimed to limit growth of certain state, county and city revenue to annual inflation and population growth, not including voter-approved revenue increases. Revenue collected above the limit would have reduced property tax levies. To read the official text of the failed Initiative Measure, click here.
-Stefan Johansson, Research