Pro-SB5 group, Building a Better Ohio. has been lining up business groups in support of Issue 2. The measure, designed to limit the collective bargaining rights of public workers in Ohio, has no direct impact on private sector employees. But, as the Dayton Daily News reports, the private sector is helping to fund the campaign because, as the President of the Dayton Chamber of Commerce was quoted in the article:

“Business supports lowering taxes, reducing the cost of government and making it more efficient”

Sounds altruistic, right? Businesses have to make a profit, so they should know a thing or two about cutting costs, being efficient, and by all means, never wasting taxpayer money.

There’s also a question of fairness. The article goes on to explain that proponents [of SB5]

“say it puts public workers on more equal footing with the taxpayers who pay their salaries.”

Well, gosh, that sounds completely reasonable.

Five companies were named in the DDN story as having contributed to the Building a Better Ohio campaign. Who are these altruistic corporate souls who want to look out for the taxpayers paying the bloated salaries of government workers?

Well, interestingly, two of the five companies happen to have been recipients of quite a few taxpayer dollars themselves. Both Owens Corning and Eaton Corporation have received Ohio Department of Development grants in recent years. These aren’t tax credits or loans, but straight up payments of cash, never to be repaid, coming straight out of the General Revenue Fund. The same General Revenue Fund that we have been told is so bereft of funding, that we needed to pass SB5 in the first place

Somehow, despite their altruistic concern for the taxpayers of Ohio, the leaders of Owens and Eaton were more than happy to increase the cost of government by draining $362,000 and $4.5 million, respectively, from the General Revenue Fund, made up of income and sales tax collections from hardworking taxpayers like you and me. Eaton also accepted $1.25 million in gas tax proceeds to build a road to its new facility.

But it gets better. Eaton additionally sought and accepted incentives worth $90 million from state and local government to construct a new $170 million corporate headquarters in Cuyahoga County. Fun fact: Eaton Corporation has made $12 billion in revenue and $991 million in profits in the first nine months of 2011. In other words, a company that makes over a billion dollars a year in profit, shifted half the cost of its new office tower onto the backs of the taxpayers. Clearly, this is who we should be listening to when we’re looking for ways to make government more efficient and cost less. These guys are experts in reducing costs by finding someone else to pay them.

What about the claim that SB5 will put public workers on more equal footing with the taxpayers that pay their salaries?

The Chairman and CEO of the Eaton Corporation took home more than $28 million in cash and stock compensation in 2010. But, according to SB5 proponents, public sector workers need to be knocked down a peg or two so this guy can stop feeling inferior.

Issue 2 corporate supporters may claim that government needs to reduce public sector pay and benefits to equalize things with the private sector, but keep in mind they’re doing this while paying their CEO more than all but one of the New York Yankees and the same as 500 average Ohio teachers. These same companies say they’re supporting Issue 2 to save the taxpayers money, but seem to have no problem asking the taxpayer to fund their expansion projects so they don’t have to dip into their billions of dollars in profits.

There’s probably a whole series of posts that could be written about why businesses are actually supporting Issue 2 (they were strongarmed and threatened by the Governor, paying public workers less helps justify eventually paying private sector workers less, it’s a first step toward busting private sector unions, it helps republican candidates by eliminating a mobilizing force for democrats, etc). But given the roster of companies supporting Issue 2, the claim that they want to save taxpayers from needless government spending seems a bit far-fetched.

  • Bob

    Must control anger. While the Chamber of Commerce gives millions of dollars to the GOP, all we hear about is the money that teachr’s unions give to fight SB5.

  • Anonymous

    GREAT post!

  • Adrienne

    Thanks excellent discussion, BW. 

    I feel the same way as Bob. But it is more basic than that. Either everyone benefits or ONLY the select few do because they have the best govt that money can buy. 

    We deserve better; we need to pay for it; some of us don’t pay anything; some people just plain old rob us while we fight over the moldy crumbs. 

    Eaton gets Filet Mignon, we get cat food if at all. 

  • kmo

    This article is at the heart of what is so totally out of whack in this country.  Of course industries are ‘job creators’, but at what point does just plain greed become the only factor in business decisions? 

  • Anonymous

    Now that issue 2 looks to almost everyone to go down like the flaming piece of space crap that it is, the pirates have vowed to bring it back next year in various forms, all of which only shows that there is not an original idea (or issue) among the lot of them.  Tenacious little yappers, aren’t they?

  • Adrienne

    No they arent job creators, their customers are. Their customers buy stuff; the company increases sales; they need new people to work to help with the increase in sales, etc. 

    We the consumer are the job creators. 

    WE ain’t creating any jobs because we have been robbed by these guys at every level, the tax payer has been robbed; the employee has been robbed. They are stealing all of the money because they own our government at every level. 

    Just like they aint tax payers either. 

    Another word for them is welfare queens with their solid gold Rolls Royces and chauffeurs. I guess that is one kind of job creation, jobs to wipe their fat evil behind and driving their fat behinds to “work”. 

  • leeseh

    That’s what worries me. They’re going to lay off state workers (which they have/will anyway), but blame it on Issue 2 being voted down and those “greedy union thugs”.   Will we be able to fight all the ways they can put it back in play?  Are we going to win the battle but lose the war?  Or am I being too pessimistic?

  • Anonymous

    I agree about the looming layoffs.  Some can be blamed on the economy, but you can bet that Kasich is going to use a machine gun on state workers.  And pressure will be applied to communities that voted heavily against SB5 while at the same time approving local tax issues.  Watch out.

  • Anonymous

    We are losing the war. This is just ONE battle that we will “win”.

    Evil was and is winning. Someone voted for these monsters, so the screwing w/o lube, robbery and pillaging will continue.

  • Anonymous

    First they come for the “Welfare Queens”

    Now they come for the “Union thugs”

  • Anonymous

    I read an argument at BABO today where the BABO woman honestly believed public employee salaries were equivalent to a person on welfare since the money comes from the same source.

    They also commonly refer to our salaries as their money. I asked them if they minded if I do a bathroom remodel with their money, none responded.

  • Thank you….thank you…hmmm..great post….Vote no on issue 2…please sharE n repost this article..A MUST READ…

  • Woltrapekim

    I think we can fight. We are motivated, there’s an election next year, and the public seems to be receptive to the truth. Sure, there will be some volunteer drop off after Tuesday, but I don’t think people are going to forget. I know I won’t. Get involved if you can, if you can’t, keep voting. The next three years will be bad, but we have something they can’t buy: integrity.

  • Anonymous

    I’m not convinced that we have lost anything; this is just a continuing saga that we will have to keep working to defeat.  It may be that many of the pirates will have taken a bad enough beating during this debacle (for which they have no one else to blame other
    than themselves) and may be willing to just let it go after November 8th.  They may be happy to walk away from an unpopular governor (I know, I am kind of dreaming here), but there will certainly be some of them who will take defeat as a challenge and come back worse than before, so don’t forget where you put your “NO” buttons because it won’t be over UNTIL it is over!

  • Anonymous

    Uh….we do pay something called “taxes”.

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