Just got this press release over e-mail:

As the ranking Democrat on the Insurance, Commerce & Labor Committee, State Senator Joe Schiavoni (D-Canfield) is urging Ohioans to take a closer look at the so-called Senate Bill 5 savings memo released by the Office of Collective Bargaining and the Department of Administrative Services.

“The memo fails to calculate the real-life impact that SB 5 will have on Ohio families,” said Senator Schiavoni. “The memo does not take into account the money that this bill takes away from our public employees. The less money they have to take home, the less they have to spend in our local economies.” 

The memo claims that the state would have saved more than $75 million in 2010 by eliminating Step Increases for state workers. The memo neglects to point out that in the biennial budget (HB1) there was a step freeze that already saved the state this money. Through the existing collective bargaining process, public employees have already made this concession.

The memo also suggests that state employees increase health insurance premiums to 20% potentially saving the state more than $25 million. The amended bill reduces employee premiums to 15% and eliminates these potential savings.

A Legislative Service Commission fiscal analysis on SB 5 concluded that there was not enough information available to provide accurate savings amounts. This critical piece of information was omitted from the original DAS Memo. Instead, DAS tried to calculate local government cost savings.

“I was especially disappointed that DAS never came before our committee to defend their questionable conclusions,” said Schiavoni.  “DAS speculates local government savings even though local government employees do not always receive step movements or longevity pay. It is nearly impossible to calculate any local savings under SB5.”

In other news, if they amended S.B. 5 to require that employees contribute 15% of their health insurance cost as opposed to the 20% originally in the bill, declares the topic entirely off limits for collective bargaining, doesn’t the fact that the present agreements require an 18% employee contribution rate mean that… SB 5 will COST the State money, not save it?

Am I missing something here?  Did haste just make waste?

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