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Senate will vote today on 'Jobs for Ohio' plan



Published: Wed, August 3, 2005 @ 12:00 a.m.



Thirty-three Democrats supported the proposal.

By JEFF ORTEGA

VINDICATOR CORRESPONDENT

COLUMBUS -- The Ohio Senate is expected to vote today on whether to put a proposed $2 billion "Jobs for Ohio" plan before voters this November.

By an 84 to 7 vote Tuesday, the Ohio House approved placing before voters the plan that includes a $500 million bond issue supporting Republican Gov. Bob Taft's Third Frontier Project to develop high-tech jobs in the Buckeye State.

The proposed package also allow borrowing $1.35 billion, through the sale of bonds, for local road, bridge and water projects, and a $150 million, also through the sale of bonds, for industrial parks and other development.

Because it's a proposed constitutional amendment, backers needed at least 60 votes in the 99-member House to get the issue on the ballot.

"This effort is about economic renewal, new jobs and higher-paying jobs for Ohioans," House Speaker Jon Husted said in a statement.

"The proposal passed today encourages long-term investments in our state and continues our efforts to transform and revitalize Ohio's economy," the Dayton-area Republican said.

Voting breakdown

The proposal received 33 Democratic votes to go to the ballot after a deal was brokered over issues relating to regional representation and organized labor, among other things. One Democrat -- state Rep. Jennifer Garrison of Marietta -- sided with six Republicans to vote against the proposal.

The deal included expanding the Third Frontier Commission from three members to nine members to include representatives from all regions of the state.

All appointees will have business and research qualifications and will be appointees of the governor, according to a synopsis of the bipartisan agreement.

The board representation and makeup will be covered in implementing legislation should the bond issues pass, House Minority Leader Chris Redfern, D-Catawba Island, said.

"We just ensure by this representation that there will be fair representation," Redfern said.

A Taft spokesman said the governor was pleased with the House's action.

The Ohio Senate is expected to take up the jobs plan today. The proposal needs at least 20 votes in the 33-member chamber to proceed to the Nov. 8 statewide ballot.

The deadline to place items on the fall ballot is Aug. 10.

In 2003, voters statewide rejected a similar bond issue in support of the Third Frontier Project.




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