Onbehalf of the National Taxpayers Union’s 13,500 members in Ohio, I urge you tosupport Senate Bill 5 (SB 5), which would end collective bargaining for stateemployees.
Thereis no debate that Ohio faces serious fiscal challenges. The state must addressan $8 billion deficit in the next budget. But the state does not have a revenueproblem; rather, the cost of government is too high and unsustainable. To namejust one disturbing example, the Department of Corrections reports that evenif the legislature maintains department funding at 100 percent of currentlevels, it would still have to cut 339 positions and close prisons due to theexpected increases in payroll costs during the next two years. In light of these seriouschallenges, Ohio must undertake equally serious reforms.
One such reform is SB 5, which wouldhelp address the rising burden of government by ending collective bargainingfor state employees. By taking this approach, the state will have a freer handand stronger position from which to negotiate more manageable salaries andbenefits for state workers, which will save money for the taxpayers who footthe bill.
Collective bargaining for public employees was instituted inan era when workers did not enjoy legal protections, competitive salaries, ormany benefits. Now, thanks to anti-discrimination, safety, and workplaceenvironment regulations and laws, public employees have many safeguards againstabuse. Moreover, many public employees now enjoy more job security and betterwages than their counterparts in the private sector, through policies such asautomatic step increases, defined benefit pension plans, and low healthinsurance premiums. The Buckeye Institute has found that employees in stateagencies earn more than those at private firms in 85 of Ohio’s 88 counties.Additionally, while Ohio has lost a net of only 1,600 state workers since 2000,the state has shed 612,700 private sector jobs in areas such as manufacturing,services, and agriculture.
Given the state of Ohio’s budget and the difficult choicesthat lie ahead, the General Assembly cannotcontinue to let its hands be tied when it comes to negotiating salaries andbenefits underwritten by taxpayers. Therefore,our members hope you will support SB 5.
StateGovernment Affairs Manager
CC: Governor John Kasich