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Ohio needs Senate Bill 5

July 19, 2011 J

[img_assist|nid=22459|title=|desc=|link=none|align=right|width=254|height=300]Senate Bill 5, which was signed by the Governor earlier this year, is crucial to Ohio. Ohio’s state and local governments are facing financial challenges, and in some cases crisis, in part because they have not been able to manage their workforce to react to the downturn in the economy because of Ohio’s out-of-date laws regarding government unions. For example, Cincinnati City Council member Jeff Berding testified before the Senate committee on SB 5 that Cincinnati faces a deficit every year, that 83% of their general revenue fund goes to labor costs, and that 90% of those costs are dictated by union contracts.

According to the Buckeye Institute for Public Policy, state employees currently make significantly more than their private sector counterparts in 85 out of Ohio’s 88 counties, and this trend of overcompensation holds true in local government too. Government needs SB 5 to avoid layoffs and/or tax increases.

SB 5 will:
* Give schools and government flexibility to manage Ohioans tax dollars;

* Save taxpayers millions of dollars a year;

* Help Ohio’s communities balance their budgets and provide essential services;

* Help avoid layoffs of hard-working teachers, fire fighters, police officers and other public servants;

* Protect middle class taxpayers;

* Restore fairness between public and private sector jobs;

* Improve the accountability and transparency of government labor negotiations;

* Institute a merit-based system that will help reward and retain the best teachers and employees;

* Give government employees a real choice in whether to join a union.

A pro-union coalition, We Are Ohio, mounted a petition drive to place a repeal of Senate Bill 5 on the ballot this fall. On June 29, 2011, We Are Ohio turned in petition signatures to the secretary of state, who must validate the signatures by July 26th. Preliminary signature validation results indicate that it is almost certain that a measure to repeal Senate Bill 5 will be on this November’s ballot. Click here to read a Columbus Dispatch article with details on the preliminary results.

Unions and liberals are spreading myths and misinformation about Senate Bill 5, and we must make sure that citizens know the truth about Senate Bill 5.

Senate Bill 5 is not an attack on the middle class in Ohio. Senate Bill 5 effects only about 6.5% of Ohio’s workforce, and will allow government to effectively manage its workforce to bring government overcompensation back in line private sector compensation.

Senate Bill 5 does not take away government employee’s pensions. It only requires that government employees actually pay their share into the pension system. Under some agreements with unions, taxpayers were required to pay both the employee and employer share of pension contributions.

Senate Bill 5 does not take away government employee’s health insurance. Senate Bill 5 requires government employees to pay toward their health insurance like employees do in the private sector. Even under Senate Bill 5, however, government employees will still pay about half of what employees in the private sector pay toward health insurance.

To learn more about what Senate Bill 5 does and does not do, read The Buckeye Institute’s Top Ten Myths and Five More Myths, and Building a Better Ohio’s Spin vs. Truth.

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