A rejected Issue 2 in Ohio is going to cost jobs and growth

Posted By on November 9, 2011

The voters in Ohio have clearly made their desires known when it comes to restricting collective bargaining for public employees — over 60% rejected  Governor John Kasich and the Republicans (perhaps they asked for too much?). What I don’t think voters realize is the big picture cost of rejecting Issue 2.  Unions are now in a strong position to collectively bargain for public workers which will hamstring Ohio cash strapped school districts and cities – the state has little extra to help.  Even union members understand that private sector workers contribute to their health care and retirement … and many understood the need to ask them to pay “at least 15 percent of their health-care insurance premiums and contribute 10 percent of their pay to a pension fund.”  Unless funding is passed locally,  jobs will be lost and services cut … there just aren’t enough tax revenues to continue paying the mandatory increases and costly premium benefits.

The bigger picture being painted by yesterday’s  “No” vote is that Ohio has just become a less friendly place for business. After the 2010 election we were just starting to see the potential to attract business and investment to our state, but the more costly environment now becomes one more hurdle for those trying to bring and create jobs in Ohio.

Message receive — Ohio is now a more expensive place to live and do business.

The measure would have restricted bargaining to wages, hours, working conditions, barred strikes and allowed government entities to impose contracts in an impasse. It also required workers to cover at least 15 percent of their health-care insurance premiums and contribute 10 percent of their pay to a pension fund.

A similar bill pushed by Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, also a Republican, triggered weeks of protests at the Capitol in Madison and spurred recall elections in nine Senate districts.

Tougher Than Wisconsin

Unlike the Wisconsin law, which exempted police and firefighters, the Ohio bill included them. We Are Ohio featured safety forces in their ads.

Kasich, 59, has said the law was needed to help local governments control costs. Now, he’ll “take a deep breath” and reflect on the outcome, the governor told reporters at a statehouse news conference.

“It’s clear that the people have spoken,” Kasich said. “They might have said it was too much, too soon.”

Voters didn’t want government to use the law as a tool “to help our communities go forward,” Kasich said.

“That’s OK,” he said. “Let’s find out what the set of tools are that will help them to be able to compete and win the jobs.”

Portions of the law struck down today may be re-introduced next year, House Speaker William G. Batchelder told reporters Nov. 3. Even so, Republican lawmakers, many of whom will be up for re-election then, must be careful not to thwart the will of the voters, said AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka.

‘‘Politicians that vote for that, whether it’s in a big hunk or in little pieces, are going to pay a price,’’ Trumka said in a telephone interview before the vote.

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Comments

  • I voted no on it. I read the bill and don’t get me wrong, there were *some* good changes in it, but things such as this were reason enough alone for me to vote no on it…

    “Prohibits a public employer that is a school district from entering into a collective bargaining agreement that does specified things, such as establishing a maximum number of students who may be assigned to a classroom or teacher.”

    “The board, in the policy, may not grant or credit sick leave in excess of ten days to a teacher after the teacher’s retirement or termination of employment.”

    Plenty of things need to be changed in our education system, but broad measures like this are not the way to go. In this voter’s opinion.

    • I suspected that there would be disagreement with many of the individual points, but giving power to the local districts and municipalities is one way to reduce the cost to taxpayers.

      I’m not suggesting we are standing at the doorstep of Europe, but as we nationally rack up the Trillions in debt financed “currently” at extraordinarily low rates, one can only imagine how expensive it will be when lenders no long are willing finance the public sector debts. (see Italy’s bond rates today 11/9/2011) Growth in the economy would help, but job growth is paltry at a time when historically low interest and the direction we are going in getting a handle on our nation’s, state’s, municipalitiy’s, school district’s cost isn’t helping.

      As I mentioned in my post, perhaps addressing everything in an aggressive lump was perhaps an “overreach” … and tackling just a few areas at a time would have been better? (sort of Wisconsin like … half joking) The few people that I’ve talked to understand where the private sector is in paycuts, job insecurity, late life job lost (public sector doesn’t worry as much) and over all increase employee cost when it comes to retirement savings and healthcare (again an area where some seemed willing to give). My point is that unless we can control public sector short and long term costs, Ohio will have a tough time attracting investment in business and industry. If I were looking to expand a big company … Ohio would look far more attractive IF Issue 2 would have been approved … and that would create both public and private sector jobs and growth.

      The public sector can continue at its current cost when job growth and business expansion is stagnant. But as you say … this is just “one voter’s opinion” … but its the right one. 😉 Thanks for commenting Steve … it is appreciated.

      • Yup, you’re a reasonable person to sometimes disagree with, Rich! 😉

        I think part of what rubbed me the wrong way was the talking points that, as often is the case in politics, sounded all big and mean but were in fact not always close to what’s actually going on. In my somewhat small sample size of friends in the teaching profession down here, all of them already pay 10%+ for retirement benefits. And you can’t forget that they’re ineligible for Social Security due to STRS. Heck, my health insurance is cheaper than Gina’s too!

        You have to understand what a difficult position teachers are in today. Unions (which absolutely protect people who have no job teaching – and that *does* need to be addressed somehow) are a necessity in this day and age when any kid pissed off at his teacher can say one bad thing about them and get them fired or sued. The way parents and kids behave these days, little Johnny is perfect and never wrong and the teacher always ends up in a defensive position. So there needs to be a system of protection in there. Simply stripping every group of their right to negotiate in some of those protections is not the direction we need to gead.

        Still, something has to be done to reform the system… and I agree some form of merit pay needs to be implemented. But how can you tie a teacher’s salary to a test score when they can’t force the kid (and, more importantly, the kid’s parents) to take even the slightest interest in school the 60% of the day when the kid is outside the classroom? Getting parents actively involved in education and their kids’ lives these days is the real issue that needs to be addressed.

  • Name Omitted

    You are a shill for big business and the mangement fat cats. You have been taken in by the no more taxes platform and are blind to the inequity between labor and management.

    Public employees are the backbone of all communities and suffer the greatest when the economy slumps. Wake up and realize that they deserve better in our society. Those who work in the public sector aren’t earning nearly as much as their counterparts in industry WITHOUT even counting those who sit behind a desk, spend half days at the golf course and bribe their Republican surrogates in congress while paying themselves huge bonuses on the backs of their employees.

    Our nation would be much better structured like Sweden, Norway or Denmark where each citizen is treated with diginty, fairness and equality.

Desultory - des-uhl-tawr-ee, -tohr-ee

  1. lacking in consistency, constancy, or visible order, disconnected; fitful: desultory conversation.
  2. digressing from or unconnected with the main subject; random: a desultory remark.