Each of us has a right and responsibility to head to the polls tomorrow.
With your ballot, you have the power to express your opinions on a variety of issues that will impact Greater Cincinnati's families, individuals and neighborhoods.
That's why United Way of Greater Cincinnati is taking a stand and supporting four following ballot initiatives that compliment our commitment to supporting education, income and health in the region.
Everybody deserves the chance to fight drug and alcohol addiction and get their life back on track after battling substance abuse.
United Way supports Issue 4 because it aims to provide family health and hospitalization services and treatment programs and aim to keep 1,500 out of Hamilton County's jail system each year. This levy has the potential to impact families all across the county, especially those families working to help loved ones fight drug addiction.
Issue 4 will provide services for substance abusers, treatment and a halfway house for DUI offenders, assistance with those inmates transitioning back into society and a program to help women get out of prostitution.
These are scenarios that can destroy a family. Issue 4 aims to help folks break the cycle and establish the essential patterns for a healthy life.
The levy would raise $37.3 million over five years. The levy would cost a $100,000 homeowner $10.09 annually - that's $10.64 less than the Drake Levy (which covers similar services, but expires this year).
This tax levy has the potential to provide critical services to people with mental, medical emotional and physical problems. Services include individual care, respite care, training, schools and other education for those folks.
In Ohio, MRDD support rely greatly on county tax dollars. This new levy will not cover the current standard of services provided in Hamilton County - a consultant estimated these services would cost $445 million over the next five years to account for inflation. The proposed levy only accounts for $388 million over five years, but County Commissioners felt it was a bit difficult to ask taxpayers for more more money during the current period of economic hardship.
The proposed levy would ask a taxpayer with a $100,000 home to pay $104.44 per year.
A library's resources can unlock adventure for children and grown ups alike. Whether it's the latest children's book to hit the shelves or vital internet access that helps an adult seek higher education, libraries are essential to a strong and thriving society.
United Way supports Issue 7, a new levy for the County public library system. This levy will provide funding for staffing, operating costs, maintenance and facility improvements. The State of Ohio cut its library funding by 28 percent, creating a $16 million deficit in the library system's 2010 budget.
Circulation is at an all-time high, and the library has cut hours, reduced staffing and postponed or cancelled capital projects in an effort to be fiscally responsible. Without additional money, the system may have to close 15 to 20 branch libraries.
One of those branches could be in your neighborhood.
The Library currently receives ZERO funding from the City of Cincinnati or Hamilton County - that's quite unusual, considering Cleveland, Columbus and Dayton all support their respective library systems with property taxes.
This tax levy intends to support a resource that supports early care and education, creates access to job information and Earned Income Tax Credit initiative services and provide a safe and positive setting for latchkey children.
The proposed levy would cost $29.68 in new property taxes for a homeowner with property valued at $100,000.
Tax dollars are imperative to maintaining and improving the Cincinnati Public Schools system. Issue 52 aims to renew an operating levy that was first approved by the people back in 1980. This tax levy makes up for 14 percent of the district's total operating budget.
This levy DOES NOT raise taxes.
The State trimmed the '09-'10 CPS budget by $6 million, leading the district to cut personnel by 1,100 and make other cuts to produce a $467 million balanced budget.
CPS is upgrading some of its school buildings, using taxpayer-approved bond money that cannot be shifted to support school operations.
The proposed levy would provide about $325 million per year for five years.
If you'd like to read more about all of the issues facing voters at tomorrow's polls, please visit the League of Women Voters site. If you need to know more information about the location of your polling place, please visit the Board of Elections site.