Today, the Toledo Blade reported that a new campaign committee would be formed to defend SB 5 from the grassroots movement to place it for repeal by a referendum by the voters.

The pro-SB 5 campaign is going to be headed by Vaughn Flasher (is that your real name, sir?), a longtime GOP political consultant and current  lobbyist for “tobacco, energy, telecommunications, and insurance industries.”  Yet, despite this political power broker from the deepest recesses of the politics of the privileged, the campaign website boasts about being a “grassroots” campaign… even though Governor Kasich, Speaker Batchelder, and Senate President Niehaus are all expected to be heavily involved.  Because nothing says “grassroots” like a major corporate lobbyist surrounded by the three top partisan political figures of the State.

With a campaign website up, the new “Building a Better Ohio” starts out lying straight out of the gate.  Worse yet, not only does it do so in calling itself a grassroots organization, but then again with these supposed “Fact-checking” points (these are just a sample of some of the falsehoods):

“Senate Bill 5 will help KEEP our hard-working teachers, fire fighters, police officers and other public servants on the job.”

FALSE.  The Kasich budget, which relies on SB 5 in being part of the “toolbox” to help local government and schools manage their costs, will still result in tens of thousands of Ohioans to lose their jobs.  In fact, the Administration’s own Ohio Department of Jobs and Family Services opened up a “task force” designed specifically to deal with the massive layoff of teachers that the Kasich budget will require.

The key term here is “will help” instead of just “will keep.”  The fact is that there is no objective way to determine if SB 5 would save many of the jobs, or any, not already been lost as a result of the Kasich job-killing budget.

“Senate Bill 5 will give schools and governments the FLEXIBILITY to manage our tax dollars.”

FALSE.  SB 5 places a top-down, “Columbus knows best” mandated labor terms on local governments that ties their hands from, for example, paying more towards health insurance premiums in lieu of paying more in wages.  In fact, proponents of SB 5 try to have it both ways.  When attacked that the bill will cut pay and benefits, SB 5 proponents are quick to argue that the bill still permits negotiation over pay, which can offset financial costs for employees paying more for their pensions or health insurance.  But then, they also cite the bill as a way for the government’s to “save money.”  Both cannot possibly be true.

“Senate Bill 5 will restore FAIRNESS between public and private sector jobs.”

FALSE, in that “fairness” is a subjective, not objective term.  A “fact-checking” article should never contain such a personal statement of opinion such as whether something is “fair” or not.  The statement leaves out whether the supposed “imbalance” of benefits may have to do with the fact that much of the private sector does not engage in collective bargaining, and do not have the job requirements that it takes to be a teacher, nurse, police officer, or firefighter.  Frankly, I don’t want my kid’s teacher to have what Governor Kasich called the “shabby benefits” of someone working at Bob Evans.

“Senate Bill 5 will help REWARD and RETAIN the best teachers and employees.”

FALSE, again note the use of “will help” which is a qualifier which could radically change the meaning of the phrase beyond what it tries to imply.  Will SB 5 reward and retain the best teachers?  No.  Nothing in SB 5 encourages schools facing layoffs as a result of the Kasich budget from not laying off the “best teachers.”  In fact, the combination of “merit pay” in teaching followed by the billions in cuts in the budget could trigger the Law of Unintended Consequences, as naturally, schools make the biggest savings in getting rid of the most expensive teachers.

But that’s not all, the website has countless “fact sheets” that contain a number of demonstrative lies, half truths, or already discredited “analysis” of the bill such as:

Yes, it’s true that over 90% of the middle-class in Ohio work in the private sector (of course, the rest work in the public sector.  But it’s not true that over the years they’ve been paying and higher taxes.  Taxes in Ohio have been going steadily down, not up.

Here’s another misleading statistic often cited by SB 5 proponents:

“Local governments spend as much as 80% of their budgets
on labor costs, which are mandated by union contracts
called collective bargaining agreements.”

Do you know what the percentage of local governments’ budgets will be taken up by labor costs if SB 5 becomes law?

As much as 80%.

In other words, the same amount as presently.  Think about it for a second.  Of course 80% of a local government’s budget is taken up with labor costs—it’s a service industry, not a goods producing entity.  It takes labor to put out fires, teach kids, and police our streets.  The remaining 20% goes to the supplies, equipment, and buildings those employees need.  SB 5 doesn’t change that economic reality.  But the campaign is using this 80% figure to make it sound like collective bargaining is somehow eating up a bigger share of the local governments’ budgets than it should.

As much as the proponents of SB 5 like to complain about some outrageously untrue things said by opponents of the bill, the objective reality is that a vast majority of the materials the campaign put out on its first day of existence is complete and utter b.s.

The proponents of SB 5 are trying to astroturf a corporate lobbyist run top-down campaign filled with every corner of the GOP political establishment as a “middle class” grassroots organization.  (Note, unlike the anti-SB 5 “We Are Ohio” campaign, this new entity doesn’t even try to claim to be bipartisan.)  They’re lying about that just as poorly as they’re lying about the claims they’re trying to make to sell SB 5.  The same claims the Administration has been pushing for months with little success.

If that’s the best the proponents can message for SB 5, it is doomed to be repealed.