The Ohio Republican party sees the writing on the wall and want to compromise on SB 5 now. As my cohorts have done an amazing job outlining all this week, it seems that fat cats high up in the Republican party see the looming disaster with the SB 5 repeal efforts and the impact it will have through 2012. Not only do these calls to negotiate call into question the party’s confidence in the Building a Better Ohio campaign, but they also highlight the hypocrisy we have seen over the last 8 months.

These calls for negotiating clearly show that the policy claims republicans made to pass the bill were blatant lies. When SB 5 was pounded through the Senate and House of Representatives what was the refrain we heard over and over? Local governments, and the state, need these ‘reforms’ to help balance their budgets.  Public unions were the vampires sucking the life out of municipalities and the only thing that was going to save them, and the state, from certain fiscal disaster, were the changes in SB 5. But just look at the list of things my colleague Modern Esquire highlighted that republicans would be willing to give up if there were to be a compromise.

  1. Getting rid of binding arbitration entirely and instead modifying binding arbitration;
  2. The return of all non-public safety employees to have the right to strike;
  3. The ban on “fair share” contributions would be lifted;
  4. Republicans also might have been willing to hedge on a provision of Senate Bill 5 that outlaws seniority as a determining factor for layoffs’;
  5. Other economic issues such as merit pay and non-economic factors such as the education reforms included in the bill were on the table as well.

These ‘reforms’ that were included in SB 5 that were going to be the tools that local governments were going to use to balance their budgets seem to be the same items that are deemed ‘unnecessary’ now.

Which begs the question, what has changed in the last eight months to warrant dropping these draconian changes now but not back in January? The answer is nothing.  These negotiations highlight the true hypocrisy in the republican party and the Building a Better Ohio campaign. SB 5 was never meant to be a tool for local governments – it was a thinly veiled attempt to break the backs of political opponents of this administration. If the administration could have outlawed being a democrat, they would have. Because they couldn’t they did the next best thing – crush public unions ability to exist.

If I was working for the We Are Ohio campaign I would be ecstatic. Republicans see that they have put themselves in a terrible position. By not so quietly insinuating that they wish they could negotiate with the unions they are a) clearly showing a lack of confidence in their chances this November and b) under cutting the remaining policy arguments they have to keep SB 5.  Not a bad week for We Are Ohio campaign, I would say.

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