Are government unions misleading Ohio voters on Issue 2?

Posted By on November 7, 2011

With tons of money pouring into Ohio to defeat Issue 2 and “Yes” advocates struggling to defend their position or even get their message out … Ohio residents could continue funding public workers at higher salaries and benefits than they receive in the private sector. The most obvious TV ad that misleads votes is that of emergency service people suggesting that a ‘yes’ vote would decrease the number of responders and response time. From my perspective, if the cost to the state and local government goes down, we could actually afford more police and fire personnel, not to mention being able to retain the best employees. As for teachers … it sure would be helpful for local school boards to be able to negotiate fairly their budget and needs in order to find the best staff for their schools. I don’t see how the status quo will keep more public workers employed or the taxes in Ohio affordable? Fred Barnes had a good article in the WSJ this weekend:

Most important of all, the “no” forces are shaping public perception about the stakes, according to Quinnipiac pollster Peter Brown. They’ve made it “about union rights and whether the governor and the legislature were trying to kill unions.”

The TV ads by We Are Ohio, which have dominated the Ohio airwaves for months, stress the prohibition on unions’ ability to negotiate staff levels for police, firefighters and teachers. They suggest Issue 2 would put Ohio citizens in danger.

In one ad, a paramedic says emergency teams would face “slower response times because [Issue 2] makes it illegal to negotiate for enough crew to do the job.” Another says Issue 2 “places our police and our communities at risk.”

No doubt intentionally, these ads miss the point of Issue 2. It’s aimed at reducing the cost of local government and the burden on taxpayers. Without it, layoffs of employees, including police and firefighters, are inevitable.

After avoiding the subject for months, the pro-Issue 2 spots have taken on the central issue of government employees as a class. “Had enough?” begins an ad that pictures Ohio as a giant slum. “Without Issue 2,” a narrator says, “hard-working Ohio families will face higher taxes to pay for the excessive wages and benefits of government employees who already make 43 percent more than the rest of us.”

The Issue 2 struggle offers a few consolations for its advocates. Significant parts of it are popular, polls have indicated. In a Quinnipiac poll, for instance, by large margins voters would require government employees to pay more for health insurance, (57% for and 34% against) and pensions (60%-33%), and they prefer merit raises to seniority-based pay increases (49%-40%).

Posted via email from RichC’s posterous


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