Governor Kasich has been saying since SB 5 was introduced that it is necessary to pass collective bargaining reform in order to give local government and school districts the “flexibility” they need to handle their costs, especially since his budget is planning to slash spending for schools and may all but eliminate the State Local Government Fund.  Put aside for a moment that means SB 5 is being presented as a solution to a future budget problem of Governor Kasich’s own making, how far does SB 5 actually go in helping with local governments and schools in managing their costs?

Well, this Sunday, the Columbus Dispatch calculated how what has been cited as the two biggest areas of savings—pension and health insurance costs—would save central Ohio governments and schools money under SB 5.

The Dispatch ran the story with a headline touting $74 million in savings.  A more accurate headline would be:

SB 5 not likely to save central Ohio taxpayers much money in reduced health care and pension benefits.

Just look at their chart!  Neither Columbus State or The Ohio State University is expected to save any, any, not one penny, in savings in these areas under SB 5!

In fact, only four out of the twenty-one government entities surveyed is projected to see savings at or above 1% of the total budget under these two provisions.  And buried in the Dispatch’s article is an acknowledgement that many of these “savings” under SB 5 are entirely illusory:

Even if Senate Bill 5 took effect, the city might not see the pension savings because unions would seek higher pay to offset losing the benefit, said Jim Gilbert, president of the city’s police union. The city agreed to pay employees’ share of pensions instead of raising pay in past years, he said, so it’s only fair that the city offer more pay if state law strips away officers’ pension benefit.

In South-Western schools, the district picks up the pension contributions for about 100 administrators, worth a total of about $1million. The perk is something that administrators have negotiated little by little for the past 15 years, mostly instead of larger pay raises, said Treasurer Hugh Garside.

What the district will do with any pension savings as a result of Senate Bill 5 hasn’t been discussed, Garside said.

"That’s a decision the district will have to make," he said, but returning some of the money to salaries "would be an option."

We’ve already address this issue before in our report about the Ohio Department of Administrative Services’ flawed analysis of SB 5 (so flawed that not a single Republican Senator referenced its claims in debating SB 5.)

But let’s assume, as the Dispatch and DAS have, the improbable, nearly impossible economic assumption that these health care costs and rollback pension costs aren’t offset in higher wages.  That means for over 80% of these entities they’ll see savings of less than 1% of their budget.  However, Kasich’s budget is rumored to seek nearly 20% of their current state funding levels (maybe worse for local governments dependent on the State Local Government Fund).

So even if you evaluate SB 5 as Kasich says it should be viewed—as a tool to help these entities deal with his anticipated budget cuts—SB 5 is doomed to fail.  For over 80% of these entities, SB 5 is like a squirt gun to fight a raging wildfire.  For Columbus State and OSU, it’s nothing at all.

So how is SB 5 nothing more than political retribution by the Republicans against the unions again?!?

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  • Anonymous

    Or they could just as easily have run a headline saying SB5 would take $74 million from middle-class families. It’s the same thing, but they made the decision.

    I did not start looking at the Dispatch until this whole debacle, and I’ve quickly realized how biased they are. There was an editorial by Benjamin Somebody yesterday defending their coverage, and he actually attacked a nurse by sarcastically stating her salary. The rest read like Republican talking points on SB5.

    It was clear where he stood on the issue, and this is the man editing “news” copy, deciding what reporters will cover. It’s nice to know the Dispatch’s editor wants to be one of Kasich’s boys.

  • Lindalou50

    They couldn’t make deadline… was too busy at the Home and Garden Show trying to sell subscriptions. I didn’t see any takers !!!

  • Anonymous

    I’ve never heard of a Democratic (the adjective is “Democratic”) Party conspiracy to destroy Republicans by increasing “corporate taxes and other maneuvers to try and curtail corporate sponsorship of campaign messages.”

    But I’ll grant anything in politics.

    Citizens United, to which I believe you refer, is already exacting its price. The damage the Supreme Court has done by allowing corporations to act as private, anonymous citizens in regards to campaign contributions will be deep and structural and profound. Wait and see.

    It’s not really even a partisan issue. It’s a class issue and a moral issue. Citizens United officially rigs the game against ordinary citizens no matter which party benefits, because ordinary citizens cannot buy millions of dollars of (anonymous) influence.

    Is opposition to Citizens United “maneuvering”? Perhaps. But it holds moral and ethical water because it’s really a decision about who deserves a voice in the political arena: Common People? Or Multinational Corporations?

    Unions are now about the only counterweight to this loud cacophony of corporate cash. And like it or not, unions act in the interest of their people. There is no product; there is no profit. Without their members, unions die. It’s an insurance policy. Pooled power.

    Corporations have no interest in their people. Without their people, they hire overseas. Their motive is profit. And their unlimited (anonymous) campaign spending thanks to Citizens United will protect one thing and one thing only: profit. And at who’s expense? See SB5.

    So I disagree with the analogy that Republicans trying to destroy unions, and thereby the lives of millions of ordinary citizens, constitutes political “fair play” and is somehow the moral equivalent of Democrats trying to “curtail corporate sponsorship of campaign messages.”

    But I do agree that SB5 has nothing to do with budgets.

  • Carolbeckerle

    This is the messsage we need to get to our fellow -non-union middle class voters.

  • Pingback: House GOP leadership claims committee switch nothing to do with possible committee votes()

  • Dispatch has even been tweeting about the article.

  • Understand the Truth

    Do you understand or even care to explain the truth behind why Columbus State or The Ohio State University is not expected to save one penny under SB 5?

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