As part of its slate of endorsements announced today, the Cincinnati U.S.A. Regional Chamber of Commerce stated it's opposed to Issue 48, the proposed charter amendment that would block construction of Cincinnati's planned streetcar system.
The Chamber announced its positions on six local issues that will appear on the Nov. 8 ballot.
Regarding Issue 48, the Chamber stated, “The charter amendment would prohibit city spending or appropriating funds for a streetcar system before 2020. The Chamber does not support any measure that eliminates the community’s ability to develop transportation or other economic development projects.”
Also, the Chamber endorsed Issue 37 and Issue 38.
Issue 37 is a three-year, 4.07 mill property tax levy that would generate $119.8 million to provide health-care services for Hamilton County residents who are poor or uninsured.
Issue 38 is a five-year, 2.77 mill property tax levy renewal that would generate $194 million to continue the support of Hamilton County children's services including investigating reports of child abuse, neglect, and dependency; acting to protect child victims and children at risk; and coordinating adoption and foster care services.
The Chamber opposed Issue 44, Issue 45 and Issue 47.
Issue 44 is a proposed Cincinnati charter amendment that would aggregate the purchase of retail electric service. “The Chamber opposes this issue because citizens currently have the opportunity to choose an electric supplier and the Chamber believes that the city should not be involved in this market-based, customer-choice decision,” according to the group's statement.
Issue 45 is a proposed charter amendment related to Issue 44. If approved, it would allow the city to aggregate the purchase of retail natural gas service. The group's statement reads, “The Chamber is opposed to Issue 45 for the same reasons it is opposed to Issue 44 — citizens currently have the opportunity to choose a retail natural gas supplier and the Chamber feels that the city should not be involved in this market-based, customer-choice decision.”
Issue 47 is a proposed charter amendment that would prohibit the city from assessing a tax for garbage collection. The tax was proposed by City Manager Milton Dohoney Jr. as an option to help avoid the city’s $33 million budget shortfall by charging $20.50 a month to residents and businesses, which is estimated to generate about $23 million a year in gross revenue.
The Chamber stated, “The amendment is opposed because it represents bad governance and it will limit the ability of elected officials to efficiently do the job for which they are elected.”
Additionally, the Chamber didn't take a position on Issue 32, the Cincinnati Public Schools' property tax levy, adding that the group was “noting concerns regarding permanent improvement levies.”
The Chamber also released a candidate scorecard, rating each candidate for Cincinnati City Council based on how much their positions aligned with the Chamber's pro-business, corporatist agenda