From the far-left Cincinnati City Beat:
One of those 14 dissenting voices in the House was state Rep. Matt Huffman (R-Lima), who says public money shouldn’t be used to pick winners and losers in the private sector.
“This is a bill against future revenues that may or may not pan out,” Huffman says. “It’s real popular with folks around the Statehouse because we get to borrow dollars that a future state legislature will have to pay back.
“This type of borrowing has caught up with the state of Ohio and is part of the reason we’re in a fiscal mess. The concept here is we’re taking money away from people and, after the government takes a slice for administrative overhead, we give the rest away for speculative ventures. We may get it back or we may not.”[...]
Although there is no organized opposition to Issue 1, the few outspoken critics are passionate that the free market should decide how Ohio’s economy develops. Also, they say, any government assistance for high-tech firms comes at the expense of other existing businesses.
“That is money that would otherwise could be put in banks and they would invest it or that would be spent buying goods and services from existing businesses,” Huffman says. “There are venture capital firms that do this. The government doesn’t need to.”
Huffman’s sentiment is inaccurate, [Candace] Klein[, Cincinnatians for Progress' co-chair,] replies.
“Issue 1 is not a tax,” she says. “It in no way ‘takes money’ from anyone or any company. The state is using a fiscally responsible method to invest in new industries. (Cincinnati businessman and Reds owner) Bob Castellini said it best on April 7 when he explained that Ohio is a manufacturing state. If we ever hope to offer our citizens jobs in other and more cutting edge industries, it takes an investment to do so. Issue 1 is simply making that investment.”
But who’s to say the investment should go to high-tech startups?
“What about all the other businesses that may not be as cool or as sexy?” Huffman asks. “The local print shop in your hometown may go out of business because they don’t have access to that kind of money.”
Although he’s not about to mount a legal challenge, Huffman believes the type of government assistance offered by the Third Frontier is unconstitutional.
“That’s the purpose of the ‘general welfare’ clause in the Constitution,” he says. “Government spending is meant to be for things that directly benefit everybody, like roads and bridges.”
Klein certainly has the talking points down… Asking Ohioans to take out a credit card to do the work of venture capitalists while unconstitutionally violating Ohio’s debt limit isn’t a tax increase. Instead it’s an “investment”… but instead instead of you receiving stocks and dividends from this investment, politically connected firms get to benefit from your risk taking.
I’m yet to find a copy of it, but take a listen to Issue 1’s radio ad. They are very TEA Party sounding, and their campaign committee sounds desperate to convince Republicans that this sort of corporate welfare is a good idea.
The Third Frontier was not supposed to be a program to be extended indefinitely, but like all bad government programs it certainly looks like it eventually will. But it has been in Ohio since 2002, and no reporter has bothered to ask what the value of the Third Frontier’s portfolio, as reporters are lazy and would rather print wildly misleading reports of how many jobs the program “created.”
If you are a conservative and haven’t done so already, please vote no on Issue 1.