It really shouldn’t be called that at all.
Yesterday, we said that to the extent the latest “We Are Ohio” ad implies the loophole would be repealed, that is misleading. We then discussed the very provisions this ad rests on and said:
Anyone who claims that state public employee unions oppose Issue 2 because they oppose these limits is lying, plain and simple.
Nothing has changed since yesterday. This ad claims that these provisions will save “Ohio taxpayers money.” To the extent that suggests it will save the people who pay State taxes money. This is a blatant lie. As we stated yesterday, current state employee collective bargaining agreements call for the same 15% and 10% contribution levels for health insurance premiums that Issue 2 does. So codifying those provisions into the Ohio Revised Code doesn’t save the State any money at all. Yet that is what this ad claims. It is so false even the widely criticized (even by the people involved drafting it) “analysis” done by the Kasich Administration’s Department of Administrative Services conceded the point:
In FY 2010, state government employees paid approximately 15 percent of the cost of their health insurance premiums and state government paid the remaining 85 percent.
But what about Ohio’s taxpayers at the local level? Well, first that would be local taxpayers, not Ohio taxpayers. Regardless, even then this point is highly misleading and generally untrue for a number of reasons. One, many Ohioans live under local governments that under Ohio’s existing collective bargaining law denies the right of government employees to engage in collective bargaining, such as township and village governments, etc., like the Village of Mt. Sterling, who is losing their entire police force due to Governor Kasich’s cuts in funding for local governments. Issue 2 doesn’t save taxpayers there any money.
Again, back in March, the Columbus Dispatch found that in nearly 81% of the local government units they examined in central Ohio, these two provisions of Issue 2 saved zero to less than 1% of the total budget of that governmental unit. Nearly half of the units studied would see no savings at all under the health care insurance provisions of SB 5. Even in the local governments where the Dispatch found that these provisions would result in savings, the savings were incredibly small (<1% of the budget.) That suggests that most collective bargaining agreements, even at the local level, already have contribution limits at or near the limits set by the two provisions highlighted in Building a Better Ohio’s latest ad.
Further, as we and the Dispatch and even Kasich has admitted, the “savings” in Issue 2 may be largely illusory anyways because such limits on employee contributions might be offset in higher wages. Will Issue 2 save Ohio taxpayers money? For the most part no. What’s the takeaway from this? These two provisions of Issue 2 aren’t necessary because for the most part, public employee unions are already willing to agree to such limits in collective bargaining without Issue 2 as law, so Issue 2 is largely unnecessary to achieve these policies. Despite Building a Better Ohio’s representations to the contrary, clearly these are not the provisions of SB 5 that is driving the opposition as most of them have already been willing to make such contributions under existing collective bargaining agreements and law.
And that’s the difference between the two campaigns. We Are Ohio is talking about all of the provisions of Issue 2 (all of the over 300 pages of Senate Bill 5.) Building a Better Ohio, however, has built their entire campaign so far around two provisions of the bill that has done well in polling and focus groups, and that’s it. But one reason why these provisions are not controversal is that labor has agreed to such limits in most of the collective bargaining agreements already in existence before Issue 2 came along anyways. Building a Better Ohio’s ad is false and misleading because it falsely claims that these provisions if Issue 2 pass will result in taxpayer savings when they are mostly are in effect through labor agreements already and because it implies that the opponents of Issue 2 are motivated by their objections to these provisions and not the other provisions found in an over 300 page bill.