A proposed ballot issue that requests Ohioans approve $1.3 billion annually over 10 years to fund clean energy projects is closer to being on the November 2014 general election ballot.
The initiative petition, submitted by a committee for a group call Yes for Ohio’s Energy Future, was certified Tuesday by the Ohio Ballot Board as containing one proposed constitutional amendment.
On Monday, Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine certified the petition, entitled The Ohio Clean Energy Initiative, as containing the required 1,000 valid signatures of registered voters and is a “fair and truthful” summary of the proposed amendment.
If passed by voters, the amendment would direct the state legislature to issue bonds for:
• Energy infrastructure improvement, including solar, wind, biomass, battery technology, geothermal facilities and related capital improvements.
• Research and development that supports Ohio industry and commerce related to clean energy.
• Development of facilities in the state for supporting industry, distribution and research related to clean energy.
The bonds would be backed by the “full faith and credit, revenue and taxing power of the state.”
Funding raised by the bonds would be awarded for projects determined by the Ohio Energy Initiative Commission, which was incorporated in the State of Delaware in January 2012.
The petition says the commission would receive $65 million annually for operating expenses.
Petitioners must now collect signatures from registered voters in at least 44 counties equal to 5 percent of the total votes cast in each county in the last gubernatorial election.
Total signatures collected statewide must also equal at least 10 percent of the total vote in the last gubernatorial election.
The Yes for Ohio’s Energy Future website describes the group as individuals “who believe in a better future for Ohio. The main goal of the group is to promote clean energy solutions, energy independence while creating jobs for Ohioans.”
“The state spending in the Ohio Clean Energy Initiative will be repaid through the increased tax revenue it creates. So in other words, it will not represent a tax increase for the Ohio taxpayer. In fact, the state of Ohio will make money since the amount of ‘taxable’ capital and business attracted to the state will be 5 to 10 times larger than Ohio’s long-term investment,” the website says.