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GOP insider (Valley native) defends SB 5

By Bertram de Souza (Contact)

Published May 11, 2011

Chan Cochran, a member of Republican John Kasich’s inner circle during his campaign for governor, a political consultant in Columbus and a Mahoning Valley native, sent the following response to this writer’s blog headlined, “Will ‘corporatize’ resonate more than ‘privatize’?”

“You commented on the GOP juggernaut in Columbus, and the effect its "corporatization" will have on the Senate Bill 5 referendum this fall. It might complete the picture for your readers if you were to provide them with the information that the Public Employee Collective Bargaining bill that SB5 reforms was passed by a Democrat juggernaut in 1983 without a single Republican vote, and signed by Democratic Gov. Richard F. Celeste. What you refer to as "rights" being taken away by SB5 were widely seen by Republicans at the time as bad public policy that would lead to growth of public sector costs at a rate far exceeding the taxpayers' ability to keep up. Hence today we have $8 billion in deficits while government pay, benefits and retirement taken together far exceed anything available to private sector employees for equivalent work. And these are the same employees who are paying the bill for government. One could just as well characterize SB5 as an "equal and opposite" reaction to the excesses of 1983.

“(As a side observation, I think it's more than a little ironical that the public pensions are made possible in significant part by private investments of the various state pension funds, an approach violently opposed by unions including public sector unions when George Bush proposed it for just a tiny portion of Social Security. I guess what's good for the goose isn't good for the gander after all.)”

Cochran was reacting to this entry:

“By Bertram de Souza

“After the way the Republican majority in the Ohio House and Republican Gov. John Kasich rolled over Democrats during consideration of the biennium budget, it appears there’s no stopping the GOP juggernaut in the state Senate.

“But critics of the budget, which passed the House last week and contains major cuts in spending, seem to think they can gain traction in the Republican controlled Senate by characterizing the spending plan as punishing workers and benefitting businesses.

“In an e-mail sent Saturday, the word “corporatize” was used in place of “privatize” pertaining to the governor’s plans for the state’s prisons and the turnpike.

“For instance, here’s what was said about leasing liquor sales: “Ohioans like to drink alcohol. Liquor sales {are} very profitable for the state. The House bill calls for leasing liquor distribution operations to a corporation. The money from the lease will be used to fund the already privatized ("corporatized" is a more descriptive term) JobsOhio — the corporate entity created earlier this year meant to replace the public Ohio Department of Development.”

“Will the strategy work? Probably not in Columbus, but it may serve to rally public sector workers and their Democratic allies for the referendum vote on the new collective-bargaining bill that strips public employees of many rights.”

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