AFSCME seeks support against budget cuts
By David Skolnick
Lily McElroy, owner of Our Family Restaurant, next to the Youngstown State University campus, said she’s concerned that the governor’s budget cuts will adversely impact her customers and her business.
About 75 percent of the customers at her Hispanic/soul food restaurant on West Wood Street are either public employees or students.
The budget “puts their jobs at risk, and that will hurt my business and other small businesses,” McElroy said Monday.
Gov. John Kasich’s budget proposal cuts Local Government Fund money to counties, cities, villages and townships by 50 percent over a two-year period beginning July 1.
The governor has said other changes he’s proposing, including giving local entities much more control over contract negotiations with public workers, will help offset those costs.
“Unless we reduce the cost of government and make Ohio business-friendly again, people will leave the Valley in droves,” said Rob Nichols, Kasich’s spokesman, in a telephone interview. “This budget sets the stage for job creation by reducing the size of government and making Ohio business-friendly again.”
But state Sen. Joe Schiavoni of Canfield, D-33rd, said the governor’s proposed budget shifts the financial burden from the state to local entities, and reducing the collective- bargaining rights of public employees is no benefit.
Schiavoni and McElroy joined about a dozen others — most of them members of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees union — at a Monday press conference outside Our Family Restaurant, which opened six months ago.
As a way to support public employees, McElroy put a sign in her restaurant window reading: “Public & private employees served here.”
“We’re reaching out to local businesses asking they support good jobs in their communities,” said Jesse C. Newcomer V, political action and advocacy coordinator of AFSCME Ohio’s northeast region.