Gov. Bob Taft's Third Frontier initiative is a $1.6 billion state program that is supposed to "create high-paying jobs for generations of Ohioans through the expansion of Ohio's high-tech research capabilities and promotion of start-up companies." A key component is a proposed $500 million state bond issue. This bond issue was rejected by voters in 2003. In spite of this loss, Governor Taft wants to reintroduce these bonds by combining them with $1.5 billion in traditional bond issues.
The Third Frontier initiative assumes that large state subsidies will bring long-term economic growth. Yet state-sponsored economic-development programs create bureaucracies that often continue to advance themselves regardless of their merits.
State bonds may be a wise means of financing long-term capital investments such as bridges and sewers. Unfortunately, the proposed Third Frontier bonds will be used to pay for short-term expenses such as recruiting "world-class scholars," writing grant proposals, and helping "researchers move their products from the laboratory to the marketplace." These "investments" can leave Ohio just as easily as they came.
Finally, for the Third Frontier to succeed it must be administered wisely and fairly. Yet we have learned two things from the recent scandals in Ohio. First, some officials abuse state funds for personal gain. Second, Ohio's bureaucrats are not good at picking winning investments.
These lessons should guide the Legislature as it considers Mr. Taft's Third Frontier initiative.
Editor's note: Mr. Oliver is an associate professor of mechanical engineering at the University of Toledo.
Proof of evolution in emerald ash borer
Proof of the fact - not theory - of evolution is shown by the daily reporting of the destruction of ash trees by the emerald ash borer. Decades ago, chestnut trees were wiped out by the endothia canker, caused by a fungal spore, and elm trees were destroyed by the European bark beetle.
Can anyone really believe that an "Intelligent Designer" could be so diabolical as to destroy beautiful trees so essential to or well being? Ash trees, elm trees, and chestnut trees evolved, as did the destroying agents. Forests evolved in the Devonian Period of the Paleozoic Era, beginning 410 million years ago.
North University Avenue
Schools: Hold state officials accountable
I strongly agree with the recent contributor to the Readers' Forum who wrote about the crisis in Ohio's public schools and the legislators' lack of action to correct it.
Many Ohioans may not be aware that there is an opportunity to have an amendment to the Ohio Constitution on the ballot this fall. This amendment would primarily hold state officials accountable for funding education, reduce the tax burden on property owners, and provide a more equitable, high-quality education for all school districts in Ohio.
Petitions are currently being circulated in Ohio's 88 counties to obtain the 322,000 signatures necessary, by Aug. 1, for this to be included on the fall ballot.