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Let Ohioans decide on public pay



Published: Sun, March 6, 2011 @ 12:00 a.m.

By Bertram de Souza (Contact)


One of the provisions of Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker’s collective bargaining initiative that hasn’t received much attention deals with the role of the taxpayers.

The Republican governor, seeking to change the way all non-public safety state employees are compensated, would give the voters of Wisconsin a say in how much wages can increase.

According to an analysis of the legislation now before the state Senate, employees would retain their collective bargaining rights for wages only, so long as the increases sought are not greater than the change in the consumer price index.

According to cnsnews.com, a wage hike higher than the CPI could be secured only if approved by the voters of Wisconsin.

The news web site quoted the Wisconsin Legislative Reference Bureau as saying “ … unless a referendum authorizes a greater increase, any general employee who is part of a collective bargaining unit is limited to bargaining over a percentage of total base wages increase that is no greater than the percentage change in the consumer price index.”

Gov. Walker, who is embroiled in an intense political battle with Democrats in the legislature, has a great idea — but he doesn’t take it far enough.

The Buckeye State

Since Ohio’s Republican governor, John Kasich, and the GOP controlled General Assembly are following a similar path as their colleagues in Wisconsin, they should give serious thought to the compensation-referendum idea.

But, they should go further than what is being pursued in the Badger State.

Giving Ohioans, especially taxpayers in the private sector, the power to say yes or no to pay raises and other compensation for public employees is a sure way of winning the war of words that is now being waged in Columbus.

Thousands of pro-union demonstrators were on hand for more than a week while the Senate considered sweeping changes to Ohio’s collective bargaining law that was passed in 1984.

The bill, which now goes to the House where passage is all but guaranteed, would allow collective bargaining for all public employees, but limit negotiations to wages, hours, terms and conditions. Other areas, including health-care premium payments, would be excluded.

However, considering that public employees’ wages are a major point of contention for most private sector workers, a vote on the labor contracts hammered out in negotiations would silence the critics.

Since most labor agreements are for three years, having a vote of the people every third year would not be cost prohibitive.

But, the referendum should apply across the board, from the governor on down. A statewide vote would be held for all statutory offices, including judgeships, while residents would decide on the salary increases for local officials and public employees.

Taxpayers are ultimately the employers of those in the public sector, but they do not have a say on wages and benefits.

It has been noted many times before in this space: Eighty percent of operating budgets of governments are gobbled up by payrolls.

Republicans in Columbus, led by Gov. Kasich, are making a strong argument that Ohio cannot cling to the past in the way it operates. Harried private sector taxpayers couldn’t agree more.

Complaints

During the debate in the Senate on SB5, Democrats complained that they were largely ignored when the GOP leadership rammed through the collective bargaining bill.

Now, Democrats in House have a chance to at least put the majority Republicans on the defensive by pushing an amendment that would give the voters of Ohio a say on any and all wage increases for public employees.

For instance, wouldn’t it be interesting to find out what the people think about Gov. Kasich raising the salaries of some key members of his staff by nearly $100,000, compared to what his predecessor Ted Strickland was paying?

The advantage in giving the people the final say on what those in the public sector should earn is that it will force accountability.

You want a pay raise? Tell me, the taxpayer, what you’ve done to justify it.

As things now stand, the governing principle in the public sector is this: You scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours — with money we get by taxing the people.


Comments

1rasims(9 comments)posted 3 years, 6 months ago

Let's be clear...the problem with our economy has been falsely attributed to union workers. In fact, it is traceable to Wall Street investment banks that created predatory loans that they bet would fail. They made money on the loan AND its failure.

Meanwhile, George "W" Bush fought an unecessary war in Iraq and Afghanistan and didn't bother to pay for it. This turned the country's surplus (thank you Bill Clinton) into a debt after he cut taxes on the wealthiest Americans. The real estate market imploded and now we want to balance the budget on the backs of working Americans and blame the unions that account for only 8 percent of the for-profit workforce.

Governors are returning money from the Feds to build high-speed rail projects in Ohio and Florida that would produce good-paying jobs by the thousands. Why? So the Obama administration can't see the effects of their policies to restore America for the 2012 elections.

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2spinman(70 comments)posted 3 years, 6 months ago

Bertram...do you and the Vindicator plan to endorse all tax levies as you usually do ????.

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3fd6636(255 comments)posted 3 years, 6 months ago

AGAIN, I WILL EXPLAIN WHAT IS REALLY GOING ON. HERE GOES:
1. DICTATOR OF OHIO RIDS THE UNIONS.
2.UNIONS CAN'T COLLECT UNION DUES ANYMORE. UNIONS CAN'T BACK DEMOCRATIC POLITICIANS, BALLANCE OF POWER OUT OF WACK ON THE LOCAL/STATE/ FEDERAL LEVEL.
3.DEMOCRATIC SYSTEM OF GOVERMENT BECOMES A SOCIALIST FORM OF GOVERMENT.
4.2 PARTY BECOMES ONE PARTY.
5.CAN YOU SPEAK RUSSIAN OR CHINESE???
5. THOSE WHO SUPPORT THIS FORM OF GOVERMENT NOW WILL REALIZE LATER THAT MSITAKES WERE MADE, AND NOW THEY ARE ALSO AFFECTED NEGITIVELY BY GOVERMENT, AND THEY WILL ALSO HAVE TO PAY A HEAVY PRICE.

SEE, THIS IS ALL ABOUT GIVING A LARGE UPPER HAND TO BIG BUISNESS. ALL THE SAVINGS THAT THE STATE SAYS THAT THEY WILL HAVE IS GOING TO BIG BUISNESS SPECIAL INTEREST GROPUS SO THEY CAN HOLD THE MONEY, AND MAKE THE ECOMONY MORE DESPERATE YET!!! ASK THE ECOMONISTS, THEY WILL TELL YOU.
TAKING WAGE AND BENIFITS AWAY WILL NOT COME CLOSE TO SOLVING DEBT, NOT EVEN CLOSE. BUT THIS YOU WILL ALL FIND OUT: YOUR SCHOOLS, AND SAFETY SERVICES WILL SUFFER SOMTHING AWFUL!!

ASK YOUSELF THIS: YOU OWN A CORPORATION. WOULD YOU WANT TO SET UP SHOP IN A STATE WHERE EDUCATION IS IN RUINS, POLICE CANT PROTECT THEMSELVES NEVER THE LESS PUBLIC, FIRE CANT PROTECT CORPORATION OWNED BUILDINGS CAUSE NO MANPOWER, OR EXPERENCE. FORIGN COMPANIES WILL, BECAUSE THEY HAVE LITTLE REGARD FOR HUMAN LIFE, SUCH AS YOURS. SO, FOLKS, ITS ALL UP TO US(YOU). IS THIS HOW WE WANT TO END UP??? LOOK AT CHINA, INDIA, PAKISTAN. ITS DO OR DIE. RIGHT NOW. ITS NOT ABOUT WAGES OF BENFITS. ITS ABOUT DICTATIORSHIP, AND THE SOCIALIST PARTY THAT WILL BE ALLOWED TO EXIST. ASK AN OLDER AMERICAN. THEY WILL PAY WHAT EVER TO STAY OUT OF A SOCIALIST GOVERMENT. BECAUSE, IF YOU THINK ITS EXPENSIVE NOW, JUST WAIT BROTHER, JUST WAIT!!! LIKE I SAID BEFORE, AND DONT DENY IT, ITS COMMING. "IF YOU THINK ITS ALL GOOD, WAIT UNTIL IT AFFECTS YOU"!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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4fd6636(255 comments)posted 3 years, 6 months ago

JESSE. IF THE TAX PAYER THRU A VOTE STATES WHAT THEY THE TAX PAYER WANTS, ONE WAY OR ANOTHER, SO BE IT. IT IS THE DEMOCRATIC CORRECT WAY OF DOING THINGS. THIS UNDER HANDED BACK ROOM RUSH THIS THRU AS FAST AS WE CAN BILL STINKS OF DECEPTION!!!! DON'T TRUST EM. AFTER THEIR DONE WITH THE UNIONS, THEN THE "PRIVATE" SECTOR WILL BE NEXT. WHY? BECAUSE GREED AND POWER KNOWS NO BOUNDS!!!!!!!

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5fd6636(255 comments)posted 3 years, 6 months ago

JESSE, ITS FOURTH DOWN WITH ZERO SECONDS IN THE FOOTBALL GAME. YOUR TEAM HAS JUST SCORED THE WINNING POINTS. I, COACH ON THE LOOSING TEAM DONT LIKE THAT YOUR GOING TO WIN. SO, I TAKE THE REFEREE THAT WAS CALLING THE GAME OUT, REPLACE HIM WITH ANOTHER REFEREE WHO WILL THROW A FLAG, PENALIZE YOUR TEAM TAKE AWAY YOUR POINTS, AND YOU LOOSE............ EXACTLY WHAT THE REPUBLIBS DID IN S-5 HEARINGS. SHOULD OF BEEN ILLEGAL THIS IS WHY ITS GOING TO A STATE WIDE VOTE. AGAIN, BACK DOOR DIRTY STINKS OF DECEPTION BILL. YOU THINK ITS ALL GOOD? WAIT TILL IT AFFECTS YOU!!!

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