Hamilton County must change ballot language

Oct 10, 2013


Ohio's top court says Hamilton County must amend its ballot language on a Cincinnati charter amendment ahead of the November election.

The Supreme Court Thursday ruled the county must include omitted sections of the proposed amendment to reform the city's employee pension program.  The group Cincinnati for Pension Reform put the issue on the ballot but objected to the modified language adopted by the Board of Elections.

The high court ordered language favored by Cincinnati for Pension Reform to be restored, but left alone the existing language of the charter amendment, known as Issue 4.

In a 6-1 vote, the Supreme Court sided with the group and ordered the language be restored. Specifically, it deals with restoring language which says that the city is required to only pay into the new pension plan what the employees pay into it. And the court said the new ballot language must say that anyone hired by the city after the implementation of the amendment is only entitled to funds they put in and the investment returns on those funds and that city council can reduce future benefits.

But the Ohio Supreme Court did not strike down any of the existing language in the charter amendment - specifically, a section that says the city might have to raise taxes or cut city services to fund any shortfall in the pension system. City lawyers wanted that language in the amendment; Cincinnati for Pension Reform did not.