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State Issue 2

State Issue 2 is a referendum on Senate Bill 5 (SB 5). SB 5 was passed earlier in 2011 in the current term of Ohio’s General Assembly under the auspices of the current Governor of Ohio, John Kasich. Since each chamber of the General Assembly is controlled by Republicans and the governor is a Republican, this was pretty much of a straight party issue. SB 5 was sold as a necessary part of the Kasich Administration’s solution to Ohio’s eight billion dollar deficit which must be resolved.

Republican claims notwithstanding, other sides of SB 5 never had much of a chance of getting compromise into it. That may explain why there is so much rancor over this bill. Similar legislation has occurred in similar fashion in other states. Thus, Issue 2, the repeal of SB 5, has become a power struggle between pro and anti labor forces. In some sense, State Issue 2 hss become a non-binding vote of confidence on Governor Kasich; “yes” being supportive of him and “no” being non-supportive. This is not exactly the what one would think the two votes mean..

As a result a lot of the ads we experience are funded by out-of-state sources. All this naturally leads to a lot of emotional ads for and against as well and a lot of what might politely be called hyperbole by both sides. None which justifies all the misleading statements pro and con. Issue 2 is supposed be a referendum on SB 5. It was started by opponents who want SB 5 thrown out.

Issue 2 makes a number of provisions which deserve some brief discussion. But first keep in mind this whole discussion only concerns non-Federal public sector employees in Ohio:

► SB 5 would require employees to contribute something to their pensions and health insurance. This is an increasingly common practice in the private sector. The real dispute is over how much and do higher ranking employees get some break on these contributions. The health care component is likely to be around at least until this country gets health care costs under control.

► Requiring performance-based pay for teachers is a mixed idea. A problem of course is that teachers can teach to prep students for the tests and other measures of performance rather than teaching for knowledge. In principle, performance-based pay sounds good and perhaps could be applied up and down the line of public employees, as it often is in the private sector. One might suppose it could even be applied to determine if public employees should be allowed to seek re-election or re-appointment.

► Prohibits public employees from striking, which is probably a good idea. However, SB 5 also prohibits binding arbitration as a method of settling safety force disputes, which is at best grossly unfair and probably a good way to reduce the effectiveness of the safety forces. Impartial binding arbitration is the fairest and most civilized way of getting grievances and contract disagreements resolved. Usually this involves a three person panel consisting of one representative selected by the employer, one representative selected by the employees, and a one representative (the chairman of the panel) selected by those two representatives. Historically neither side is ever completely happy, both sides get something, and everyone works; hostilities, work slow downs, etc. are avoided.

Of course binding arbitration means one of SB 5’s provisions, the employer (government) can impose it’s own final settlement is not allowed including declaring a so-called fiscal emergency.

With a few changes to eliminate the one-sidedness, SB 5 might have been an interesting way of getting some cost controls on the public sector. Instead it has become replaced by an ugly power struggle and a referendum on a governor less than one-fourth of the way through his term.

About the simplest voting guide is just below:

YES if you are for keeping SB 5

NO if you are for repealing SB 5

For a look at State Issues 1 & 3 please see http://www.examiner.com/economy-in-columbus/issues-1-3-22

The ballot language, what voters will likely see, is:

ISSUE 2

Referendum

REFERENDUM ON NEW LAW RELATIVE TO GOVERNMENT UNION

CONTRACTS AND OTHER GOVERNMENT EMPLOYMENT CONTRACTS

AND POLICIES

A majority yes vote is necessary for Amended Substitute Senate Bill No. 5 to be approved.

Amended Substitute Senate Bill No. 5 is a new law relative to government union contracts and other government employment contracts and policies.

A “YES” vote means you approve the law.

SHALL THE LAW BE APPROVED?

NO (To reject the law)

A “NO” vote means you reject the law.

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