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Groups rake in more than $30M in statewide fight over Senate Bill 5

Published: Fri, October 28, 2011 @ 12:04 a.m.

RELATED: Issue would raise age limit for judges

By Marc Kovac



Issue 2 campaigns raised more than $30 million in recent months in their efforts to convince voters of the pros and cons of Senate Bill 5.

We Are Ohio, the main opponent group, outpaced Building a Better Ohio, the main proponent group, in contributions and expenditures outlined in required campaign finance reports filed with the secretary of state’s office Thursday.

We Are Ohio reported more than $19 million in cash contributions and about $4.6 million in in-kind contributions for the period.

The top 50 donations were from union groups and accounted for more than $18 million of the total. The Ohio Education Association gave the largest single contribution, $4.75 million, according to documents.

Big national donors included the National Labor Table ($3 million), the National Education Association ($2 million) and the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees ($1.5 million).

We Are Ohio spent more than $17 million during the reporting period and had a remaining cash balance of about $4.3 million. The totals are in addition to the nearly $5 million in financial contributions, nearly $2 million in in-kind contributions and $2.3 million in expenditures that the group reported earlier this year.

Building a Better Ohio reported $7.6 million in cash contributions and a little more than $39,000 in in-kind contributions during the filing period. It spent close to $6 million, leaving a balance of about $1.6 million.

All of the cash contributions came through the campaign’s nonprofit, a setup that shields the names and donation totals of contributors in campaign finance reports.

Building a Better Ohio voluntarily released the names of its donors Thursday but not the total contributions provided by each.

The list included the Ohio Chamber of Commerce, the Ohio Automobile Dealers Association, the Ohio Farm Bureau Federation, Ohioans to Protect Jobs, Partnership for Ohio’s Future, the Greater Cleveland Partnership, Citizens for Accountability and Results in Education and the Associated Builders and Contractors Inc.

Both sides of the Issue 2 debate also used Thursday’s campaign finance filing deadline to take swipes at the other.

Building a Better Ohio said opponents’ efforts were bankrolled by organized labor groups, including public employees forced to pay union dues.

“Opponents of Issue 2 have spent an extraordinary, perhaps historic, amount of money to defend their grip on our tax dollars,” spokesman Jason Mauk said in a released statement. “Their finance report reveals a well-funded campaign of scare tactics and deception fueled by the forced union dues of government employees.”

He added, “While we will be dramatically outspent in this contest, we’re committed to waging an aggressive effort in the closing days of the election.”

We Are Ohio said the proponent campaign was backed by out-of-state donors whose contributions were not disclosed to the public.


1db(280 comments)posted 4 years, 8 months ago

If the unions have already raised $19,000,000, WHY ARE THEY REFUSING TO PAY 15% OF THEIR RETIREMENT & BENEFIT PLANS??

Vote YES on Issue 2

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2AnotherAverageCitizen(1193 comments)posted 4 years, 8 months ago


Nobody ever said they will not pay 15% for retirement and bene's. I would guess the largest % of public union taxpayers already do pay that much. The largest problem with bs5 is the union busting, not possibly paying a little more for retirement and bene's.

Most of the unionized workers DO NOT get free retirement and bene's, like administrators do. Those that support bs5, should be complaining that so many public workers are exempt from bs5 rules.


Vote NO on issue 2

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3VINDYAK(1824 comments)posted 4 years, 8 months ago

Union organizers have raised over 19 million dollars just to fight State Issue 2 and over 30 million total has been raised.

Where were they when our government was scraping for ways to balance the budget?

We sure could have used that 30 million to pay for school books or safety equipment. But no, don't believe all the garbage pleas you hear and see on tv. They are playing on your soft side, urging you to vote for their continued greed and corruption.

Remember, unions drove most of our industry out of The Valley and led to near welfare status of household income. I remember the days when I was forced to join a union filled with corruption and greed. This union greed is so bad, most businesses and corporations today avoid unions at all costs. If you hold a low paying non-union job today, you can thank union greed and corruption for killing the goose that layed the golden egg.

The only area unions have any power are in the public sector, where they are holding taxpayers hostage.

Don't believe their hype. Union members are not concerned about you or me or our children. All they are concerned about are their wages, benefits and comfortable union stranglehold on taxpayers. Spending 19 to 30 million dollars to fight for their benefits proves my point. Put a stop to union greed and corruption. Vote Yes on State Issue 2.

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4Phil_EngAmer(32 comments)posted 4 years, 8 months ago

All this spending should hardly be surprising. We saw much of the same in Wisconsin during the fight over similar public sector reform legislation. In Wisconsin records were set as unions spilled millions of dollars into a state senate recall election (http://eng.am/rdchdL). In the case of Wisconsin all this money was wasted because we knew going in that no matter what the result of the recalls, the legislation would not have changed (http://eng.am/nWvjZP).

In Ohio, it’s different. Should legislation curbing public sector compensation not get passed into law, the looks to suffer dramatic consequences. You hope the state doesn’t end up like Rhode Island, with pension liabilities crippling the state (http://eng.am/vAkntd), but when you look at the similarities in the liability to population ratio (http://eng.am/p9JEUG), the similarities are unsettling.

It’s too bad because this is clearly not a red state/blue state issue. In many ways legislation from Democratic Governors like Andrew Cuomo of New York have been stricter on union compensation (http://eng.am/qh2i1T).

The situation in Ohio will only get worse with no legislation as the state continues to exhaust its funds on a fundamentally compromised compensation system. In the end, it’s only a matter of time vs. available funds.

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5wantedtobe(13 comments)posted 4 years, 8 months ago

If the bill were to include all public employees and not just union employees then it would be on the right track. The gov. pays nothing for benies. even after he leaves the office.

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6ohio48(17 comments)posted 4 years, 8 months ago

Really, wantedtobe? You are complaining that the governor gets better benefits than most other public employees? HE'S THE GOVERNOR = 1 person vs. thousands of public employees. I'm beginning to think that people can't perform basic math and figure this out. We simply CANNOT afford to pay the rising costs of these benefits for thousands of public workers. This hysteria has to end. You would think that the legislature is asking public workers to work for minimum wage with no benefits with all the hype the union leadership has created. It's toxic. VOTE YES ISSUE 2

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7ohio48(17 comments)posted 4 years, 8 months ago

Meaningless rhetoric, Youngstown. The only greed I see specific to this issue is coming from public union leadership that takes the public worker's dues and line the pockets of the Dems. And that's not enough for them. Now they're after more taxpayer dollars. YES ON SB5!!!

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8wantedtobe(13 comments)posted 4 years, 8 months ago

So you think my 1 main example is a small savings, I agree but what about all the others that are not in the unions that get similar benefits? I do not have the numbers but am willing to bet if SB5 were to include non union also, the savings would be almost twice as much. If SB5 passes the way it is now there will never be an effort to bring the non union public employees benefits into line. All that I am suggesting is make a bill that includes all public employees. Then we will see some results.

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9ohio48(17 comments)posted 4 years, 8 months ago

SB5 affects government employees who pay less than 15 percent of their taxpayer-funded health care premium. The new law requires ALL GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES (doesn't state union vs. non-union gov't employees) to pay at least 15 percent. This reform won't impact state employees at all because they ALREADY pay 15 percent of their health care.

And, SB5 states that GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES should pay their required share towards retirement (10 percent) and taxpayers will contribute the employer share (14 percent)....again, it doesn't state anything about union vs. non-union gov't employees. READ THE BILL! Don't just spout off someone else's talking points.

If you're already paying 15% of healthcare or 10% for pension, then what's all the fuss about? If you're not, those numbers are not unreasonable. Quit whining.

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10wantedtobe(13 comments)posted 4 years, 8 months ago

YBR exactly how I feel.

SB5 does not affect elected positions.
"Public employees, in general, are persons (not elected to an office) holding positions by appointment
or employment in the service of a public employer (i.e. state, county, municipal, township, school
district, etc.) RC 124.01(A), RC 145.01, RC 4117.01(C)"

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11ohio48(17 comments)posted 4 years, 8 months ago

“But those same politicians exploited a loophole exempting themselves from Senate Bill 5.”

The ad cites a loophole on page 32 of Senate Bill 5 that allegedly exempts politicians. Page 32 of the bill actually comes from the original 1983 collective bargaining statute and contains no new language or revisions. That section merely clarifies that non-classified (or non-union) employees are exempted from the collective bargaining provisions because their employment guidelines are established in another section of state law.

Issue 2 does not exempt politicians. In fact, non-union state employees (which includes elected officials and their staffs) already pay 15 percent of their health insurance premium, and they already make a 10 percent personal contribution toward their guaranteed pension. They also do not receive automatic salary increases, and they earn their pay based on job performance. Issue 2 actually restores fairness by applying these policies equally to all government employees.

The only loopholes being exploited by government employees are those created by labor unions through collective bargaining agreements. These loopholes, which Ohioans rarely enjoy in the private sector, include automatic pay raises, generous health care and pension benefits at little-to-no employee cost, excessive vacation and sick leave policies and unprecedented job protections.

Issue 2 asks Ohioans to approve a set of reasonable reforms that would restore fairness between our government employees and the private sector workers who pay them.

“While firefighters, police and nurses make sacrifices, the insiders and people at the top get big raises and bonuses.”

Issue 2 does not prohibit raises or bonuses for any government employee. It only says that salary increases should be based in part on job performance. •For nearly three decades, most government workers received generous salaries, raises and paid leave time based, not on the quality of their work, but on the demands of a union contract. Issue 2 changes that by rewarding our best and brightest employees for doing a good job, especially in our classrooms.

fact checked by J. Matthew Yuskewich, Treasurer of Ohio

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12ohio48(17 comments)posted 4 years, 8 months ago

YoungstownBornRaised...I guess based on your previous comment, if you knew that elected, non-union gov't officials paid 15% of their healthcare coverage and 10% towards their pension, you would be in favor of keeping SB5. The above comments quoted by our Ohio Treasurer should make it crystal clear for you. That's why people need to do their research before they restate someone else's talking points and spread false information.

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13ohio48(17 comments)posted 4 years, 8 months ago

sorry...mistake, J Mattew Yuskewich, is a CPA and Treasurer for Building a Better Ohio

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