As Brian reported on Friday, SB5 is scheduled for amendments and a possible committee vote in the House on Tuesday. We don’t have a list of the proposed amendments yet – most likely there will be some kind of concessions to the police and fire unions and a reworking of the binding arbitration replacement proposed in the senate bill – but I can guarantee you this: teacher will still be getting screwed in this bill.
John Kasich promised “to break the backs of organized labor in the schools” during the campaign. And so far he’s doing his damnedest to keep that promise.
With a House vote right around the corner, I thought it might be a good idea to share some of the opposition testimony to SB5.
Greg Mild, the educator from Columbus whose writing I reprinted last week, agreed to rework some of his very informative (and very long) testimony specifically for Plunderbund and I’ve included a section of it below. His full testimony is available here and is definitely worth reading.
Thanks to Senate Bill 5, House Bill 69, and the Governor’s proposed budget, Ohio’s public employees are experiencing a unique confluence of events will end in a significant decrease in take home pay and disposable income. I’ll detail a teacher’s situation (my own), though all public employees will experience their own version of this scenario.
As I talk about dollar amounts, I’ll use them as they presently exist — I’m not going to include changes in tax rates or any projected increase in the overall cost of medical coverage.
To begin, I already contribute to health benefits and my employer has negotiated wisely, so the change in SB5 to me, the employee, covering 15% will result in a modest decrease of 1% of my take home pay. This is the explicit SB5 effect. Layer on the 3% increase coming via House Bill 69 in my STRS contributions, and my take home pay drops by a cumulative total of 4.4%. Finally, I wanted to factor in the rhetoric of reducing pay through this bill and the projections of a 15% cut in education funding at the state level. Since Columbus receives only 32% of its funding from the state, a 15% reduction equates to a 5% salary reduction.
The combined effect of these 3 simple changes result in a 9.3% decrease in my take home pay, my “disposable” income. To put some numbers on this, a person with annual take home pay of $30,000 will experience a decrease of $2,789 per year, or $232 per month. Annual take home of $40,000 means a loss of disposable income of $3,719 per year and $310 per month. Of course, if both a husband and a wife are in the public sector, these amounts will be doubled. What would you cut back on to the tune of $600 per month? I’ve had people tell me they are worried about keeping their homes with these numbers. And this would be considered a conservative estimate.
And when Senate Bill 5 cuts disposable income deep for public sector employees, it does nothing to increase income for other Ohioans. Senate Bill 5 does not decrease sales tax, state income tax or local property taxes. Public sector employees will be spending less in private businesses, so the reality is that Ohio’s private businesses will suffer, too. When consumer spending decreases, private business income decreases, resulting in a cycle of cuts in that sector, too, meaning that private sector workers will also experience even more layoffs and reductions to income.
The domino effects of these cuts are not partisan. We will see decreased donations to community organizations; churches can expect to experience a drop in contributions from parishioners and will be unable to maintain their present level of outreach and charity for those in need; their local benevolence ministries will suffer, as will the recipients.
And as the public sector workers begin to second jobs, their participation as volunteers in our communities will decline. Tutors, parishioners who help in food banks, scoutmasters, big brothers and sisters, science fairs, PTAs, marching bands, kids’ sporting events, organizers and fundraisers for schools — these are all valuable things that will suffer.
Receiving an award for Legislator of the Year doesn’t make a person an educator any more than an Educator of the Year award makes one an expert legislator.
Specialization exists in this world for a reason. This quote from the Technical Employment Services, Inc [Rep. Ron Young’s business] website expresses it well. “If you have heart problems you look for a good physician specializing in cardiovascular medicine. If you have legal problems dealing with real estate issues you look for a good Title Dispute Attorney. If you need assistance to quickly recruit the best engineers available you look up a good engineering recruiting firm. The right firm can save you huge blocks of time.”
Writing legislation about education? Then consulting an educator would be a prudent idea.
Ohio is not prepared for this bill. If we think the use of education and experience are outdated compensation models, then we should be working together to research better ways to solve them instead of adopting a method that has been demonstrated to be ineffective.
I have an outstanding union president in Rhonda Johnson of the Columbus Education Association. Rhonda is not a thug. She works hard at maintaining the collaborative environment that exists in our district. Does my union agree with every decision the district makes? Of course not. And is the district always happy with the union? Probably not. The fact is, we won’t always agree on everything, but it is the relationships that make it work.
So instead of annihilating the relationship between management and unions, we should be embracing it. We should be recommending marriage counselors, not divorce attorneys. We should be providing more assistance to those involved in contentious negotiations, not less. And instead of rebuilding the walls between us, we should be tearing down what few walls exist.
I don’t want Ohio to be like Wisconsin where the entire state is being ripped apart over partisan politics. How long is it going to take them to restore any level of trust in one another? Passing Senate Bill 5 will irreparably divide Ohioans in the same way. So I say to ALL of the Ohio Legislature: If you are going to pass this bill as has been stated publicly, so be it. But let’s get it fixed in order to truthfully help local governments instead of leaving them drifting in the wind. I don’t support this bill, but know that I am 100% willing to assist in improving its inconsistencies and some of the unmanageable components. If you’re going to hang me, at least let me properly tie the noose.