Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Union "Progress" Could Mean Ohio's Bankruptcy

Ohio’s government unions claim to represent simple, positive principles. Good jobs. Workers’ rights. Progress. The reforms in Issue 2 were voted down because union bosses warned dramatically, expensively, and dishonestly how dark Ohio would be with elected officials controlling local governments. If voters realized union power leads to higher taxes, they may not have been as quick to torpedo reform.

The agitators at the top of the union pyramid can now justify for awhile longer “earning” six figures by taking it directly from public employees’ paychecks. However, the scare tactics that worked for Issue 2 weren’t so effective when local voters considered higher tax levies. This means the gravy train will leave the rails a bit faster than expected – but the unions have a solution!

Months before Governor Kasich balanced an estimated $8 billion deficit without raising taxes, unions were demanding we cough up more money to fund their unsustainable benefits and backwards policies. Unions rallied for higher taxes despite a state and local taxation trend that looks like this:

Somewhere along the way Ohio’s “safety net” wound up around our necks, which isn’t especially comfortable for those of us unwilling or unable to flee. It’s hard to argue Ohio’s taxes should be higher, so the unions and fellow Progressives focus on attacking Governor Kasich:
  1. It’s Kasich’s fault for discarding the Strickland school funding model! (Never mind that most districts are in the red, not just a handful on the margins.)
  2. It’s Kasich’s fault for cutting local spending in the state budget! (Ignore those Strickland-era forecasts that prove local deficits have been on the horizon for years.)
In both cases the alternative is cloaked in Obamaesque euphemism about needing a “balanced approach,” if an alternative is mentioned at all. There’s not enough state money because of evil Republicans and racist mathematics, and Ohio’s union bosses need us to refill the tank. Until we do, they’ll force local governments to slash jobs and services, with the occasional face-saving concession for the sake of the Progressive cause. Over the next few months I’ll highlight districts forced into layoffs by untenable union contracts!

This is the system we have. Thanks to the Ohioans who let a cynical union campaign cloud their judgment, this is the system we’re stuck with for the foreseeable future. Ohio can still pull out of this tax-and-spend tailspin, but local and national unions won’t make it easy!

Follow me on Twitter: @jasonahart
Cross-posted from that hero.


  1. Interesting point, but how do you explain this

  2. First of all, the Death Tax/Estate Tax funds were not commonly factored into local budgets due to the fact that the amount of revenue it brought in fluctuated greatly from year to year. Ultimately, because of the nature of the estate tax, its existence was more of a detriment to our economy than a boon as some opponents of the governor's fiscal policies might suggest.

    As for the local government fund cuts, they are an indication that in order for Ohio to get its fiscal house in order, local governments must take the lead. These cuts should encourage local governments to share services, and use the budget tools (like SB5) to help them become more fiscally responsible.

    Many local leaders decided to say no to those budget tools, and instead seek out more costly stimulus funding, and tax levies to keep their unsustainable fiscal policies in place. We'll see how long that lasts.


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