Wednesday, October 29, 2003

Issue 1 deserves support of voters

By Johnathan M. Holifield
Guest columnist

The first frontier was about the land, learning how to work it to benefit Ohio and our people. The second frontier was about machines, using them to build a growing and prosperous state. Now we are at the dawn of the Third Frontier, a frontier in which knowledge is our tool and the key to a better life. As a state, we must embrace it and consciously choose to move forward in it. On Nov. 4, we can make that choice.

Issue 1 is the final component of Ohio's Third Frontier Project - a $1.6 billion technology-based economic development strategy - designed to help make our state a leader in high-tech innovation, research, commercialization and new job-creation.

Issue 1 will authorize the state to issue $500 million in bonds to provide resources to grow and recruit world-class entrepreneurial researchers, to attract more research dollars and to help commercialize and move products from laboratories to world markets.

The need for Issue 1 is clear. Although Ohio's manufacturing investment choices made the state an industrial power in the last century, the world has changed in this century. In 1960, Ohio had the sixth highest per-capita income in America. In 2001 - after the loss of hundreds of thousands of good-paying manufacturing jobs - our national ranking had plunged to 22nd. Moreover, in 1999 the Ohio Office of Budget and Management reported that the average Ohioan earned $1,390 less than the average American; in 2003, the average Ohioan is expected to earn $2,720 less. In real dollars, four years ago Ohioans earned $15.7 billion dollars below the national average and in 2003, the gap will be almost $31 billion.

The time has come to reinvent our approach to economic growth and development.

That's why CincyTechUSA and Cincinnatians for State Issue 1 support Issue 1. Here's our case:

• Issue 1 is not a new tax or levy and it does not require any increase in taxes.

• While capital infrastructure to support research and commercialization is essential, brainpower is the leading commodity of the knowledge economy. A major emphasis for use of Issue 1 funds is investing in world-class talent, ranging from pioneering researchers who are experienced in commercializing new products to advanced industrial fellows who will keep Ohio businesses on the leading edge.

• Issue 1 investments will be focused to grow existing assets, technology clusters that support leading Ohio industry sectors such as automotive, consumer products, banking and financial services, data management, aerospace, polymers, business services, machine tools, medical devices, pharmaceuticals and fuel cells.

• Through Issue 1, the state of Ohio will make available resources sufficient to achieve a critical mass of technology-based economic growth - just enough state investment to trigger a self-sustaining chain reaction of new innovation, research, commercialization and job-creation throughout the state.

• Strong Cincinnati leadership will help direct strategic use of Issue 1 funds. Mark Collar, global president, Procter & Gamble Pharmaceuticals chairs the 16-member Third Frontier Advisory Board of business, government, education and non-profit leaders. James Anderson, president/CEO, Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center and chair, CnicyTechUSA Leadership Council, also is a member.

Vote yes on Issue 1.


Johnathan M. Holifield is executive directo of, CincyTechUSA and member of Cincinnatians for State Issue 1

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