CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19) - Cincinnati voters sided with the city council and their new mayor when they struck down Issue 4 at the ballot box on Tuesday.
So, what was Issue 4? Cincinnati has $862 million in unfunded pension liabilities and how to deal with it has been relevant topic leading up to this Election Day. The discussion heated up in July, when a petition began circulation by a group called Cincinnati for Pension Reform that brought Issue 4 to the ballot.
Issue 4 aimed to replace future Cincinnati employee's pension plan with one that claims to be similar to that of a private sector employee's retirement. Through this plan, the city is forced to pay off its $862 million deficit in 10 years.
Issue 4 would have eliminated under funding of the pension system after the deficit was paid off. Supporters promoted eliminating the streetcar project and using proceeds from the sale of the parking system to fund the shortfall that could be caused by requiring the deficit to be paid off in the next decade. Such a shortfall, according to opponents, would result in higher taxes and cuts to crucial city employees such as firefighters
Issue 4 is modeled after reforms that have passed in only 2 other cities nationwide. The Cincinnati for Pension Reform Committee provided 8,653 valid petition signatures in August to get their measure on the ballot, over 1,200 more signatures than required by Hamilton County Board of Elections.
Despite the initiative successfully landing on the ballot, the measure was openly opposed by many of Cincinnati's public leaders, including new Cincinnati Mayor John Cranley and the sitting city council.