Ohio Auditor of State: Public entities can’t use public resources to sell levies, bond issues


Staff report - galnews@aimmediamidwest.com



COLUMBUS — Auditor of State Keith Faber has released a video to remind public officials that most local governments and public school districts may not use tax dollars to support or oppose levy or bond issues on the ballot.

“You cannot campaign or influence the outcome of a levy or bond issue using tax dollars,” said Faber. “This time of year, my office receives lots of questions regarding the use of tax dollars and resources on these issues, so here are some direct answers.”

Though this is not comprehensive it addresses many concerns that have been expressed to the Auditor of State’s office.

  • Public money should not be used to support or oppose the passage of a levy or bond issue. This includes compensating employees for time spent on influencing the outcome of a bond or levy.
  • Information that supports or opposes the outcome of a levy should not be published by the entity or posting on official social media accounts.
  • The entity cannot spend money to create and send home political subdivision sponsored levy-related communications that support or oppose the passage of a levy.
  • Employees cannot speak at levy committee meetings during regularly-paid work hours if they are advocating for a preferred outcome.
  • A levy committee is not allowed to use their subdivision’s resources such as equipment and supplies free-of-charge. The committee must pay for the usage and the committee with the opposite position shall have the same opportunity.
  • Public funds should not be used to support or oppose the nomination or election of a candidate for public office.
  • Public funds should not be used to support a particular campaign committee or fund, political action committee, political party, or candidate.

For a complete list, see Ohio Revised Code section 9.03.

If you suspect any government entity of engaging in fraudulent practices, report it at ohioauditor.gov/fraud.

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Staff report

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