[crossposted from Ohio Budget Watch]

Now that Issue 2 has failed and collective bargaining reform — championed by Governor Kasich — is dead, many are asking what it means for state and local budgets.

Local governments have been shrugging it off, planning to cope with reduced tax collections and Kasich budget cuts the same way they always have – by demanding concessions through the collective bargaining process, rationalizing services, and seeking additional revenue where the voters will support it. They aren’t bemoaning the failure of Issue 2, because they never believed it would be much of a tool. Check out these headlines:

One thing that was never made clear was what Issue 2?s defeat means for the state budget. The answer is: none. First, the widely advertised savings to come from requiring workers to pay 10% of their pension and 15% of their healthcare are unavailable at the state level – because state workers already pay that much. And provisions in the bill limiting automatic annual and experienced-based salary increases that the state says would save $190 million per year were not included in the budget’s savings estimates at all. That’s because none of those provisions of SB5 were included in the budget.

So while you will hear gloom and doom from the Kasich folks about how every local tax increase or layoff is a result of the failure to pass SB5 (see links to articles above – it’s not true), what you will not hear them say is that the state’s budget is about to be unbalanced as a result of the failure of Issue 2.

That may have been a tactical mistake. Kasich loved to threaten impending calamity during the campaign to pass Issue 2. His threats included Ohio sliding into recessionpensions systems failing and a state tax increasethe institution of card check by private unionslowering of the state’s credit rating and the exodus of our kids from Ohio. Most of these threats were not believable.

If instead, Kasich had included the provisions about state worker pay increases in the budget bill, it would have meant that the failure of Issue 2 could have been accurately claimed to have blown a hole (albeit a small one) in the state’s budget, giving him a bit of a mandate to find savings elsewhere when a new budget bill was required to fix the hole. Instead, the state currently sits on a small budget surplus, and anticipates additional revenue from soon-to-launch Video Lottery Terminals that hasn’t even been plugged into the budget yet. So any claims the Governor plans to make about fiscal shortfalls necessitating further austerity measures cannot be blamed on Issue 2.

But they have another shot at a rhetorical victory. Because Kasich and the GOP balanced the state budget without savings from SB5, and instead used massive cuts to local governments and schools, they will now attempt to claim that every time layoffs and tax increases occur at the local level, it’s the fault of the labor unions and the failure of Issue 2, and not because of the cuts contained in their budget.

The question now is — will local governments, school officials and organized labor be effective in communicating the real reason for their budget woes — the Kasich budget, and not public workers.

  • You’re going to have to repeat this about 500 times i suspect.

  • Anonymous

    Psssst, it’s Prince John’s fault, pass it on. The Rs used the budget to steal money from localities for give aways to big biz. They didn’t take funding from the Feds. Also, the Kasuck budget has lost jobs. Lost jobs means lost revenue.

    Every city has had budget problems during this time. We have a revenue problem because of the big economic destruction brought on by Lehman brothers suicide. Also, because there was no or min job creation during the dark evil W dictatorship. We have had job destruction and sending jobs because of our trade policy. Everything has been done to make big biz profitable at he expense of persons making a decent living. Our priorities are screwed up. This is not either or but and/both. Why do we need to screw people who work? Because if we are poorer then the rich get richer by default. We get moldy crumbs and cat food.

    They lie; MSM lies for them; they wreck stuff; they win.

    Who voted for these Koch puppets again? The people who were going to get screwed by the Rs.

    They don’t work for us, PERIOD!

  • Anonymous


  • Anonymous

    I suspect that if issue 2 had been defeated before the budget was passed, the budget would look strikingly different than it does now.  I think that a significant number of the rubber stamp republicans will have less stomach for their radical boss Kasich now than before the repeal.  Some may even grow enough backbone to oppose some of his outrages.

  • Kasich will move off of Issue 2 soon. The Fuhrer’s next move will be to try centralize local income tax collection by having the state take it over. This will be done for a small fee, of course. 

  • It`s  really interesting! MAke sence!~

  • Anonymous

    Can we please NOT make Hitler references?  First, it’s uncalled for and a ridiculous analogy.  Second, it’s a trite and cliche reference.  And third, it’s offensive to relatives of the survivors of the Holocust to bring Hitler down to the level of Kasich.

    We’re pretty lax with approving comments, but I’m warning everyone that this kind of rhetoric is not healthy for the dialogue on this site, and if we have to start deleting comments, we will.

  • Anonymous

    Another reason it’s not true, even if Issue 2 had passed it would have virtually no immediate fiscal impact since SB 5 didn’t affect collective bargaining agreements already in place (they were grandfathered in.)  Therefore, while Kasich’s cuts were immediate, the provisions of SB 5 in most cases was years away from being effective.

  • Anonymous

    True – because THEIR jobs are at risk, not Kasich’s.  Self preservation will force them to think outside the Kasich Box.

  • WestParkGuy

    Don’t forget about the repeal of the Estate Tax. Another one of Batchelder’s bright ideas.

  • Anonymous

    If they sell/lease the turnpike (regardless of if it is for pennies or dollars), they will be doing a great disservice to the region, and the people of Ohio.  This kind of “private-public partnership” does not benefit the public in any way – it only deprives the citizens of control of the infrastructure and impoverishes the region by diverting funds to a for profit enterprise, most probably one from a different country which may or may not have the same values as the people of Ohio. The hype that private companies will do what’s best for their customers is so much sales mumbo-jumbo, they will only do what is best for themselves.

  • harleygrl2003

    Someone has to let the people of Ohio know that Kasich took money from the cities in order to fund his “charter schools.”  We all know that he wants to privitize education and allow his buddies to run for profit charters.  If only the people in Ohio would wake up and see where their tax money is REALLY going!

  • Fotogirlcb2002

    heck,, even Tom Neihaus told Cunningham last week on his show — Monday I think — Cunnungham asked what would change if the yes vote won and what would change if the no vote won
    His answer was Wed morning everything will be the same no matter how it goes…
    no one will have any more or any less money … referring to the small communities. 

    Just a comment here here Middletown ohio not even a week after the vote  decided that they need to close a firehouse down and layoff 9 firefighters. ( even though they waste hundreds of dollars on a 9 hole golf course no one uses except judges and lawyers)

    so i guess the comment was true —  no more or less money

  • Mark44515

     People are fighting back with an on line petition at http://saveourturnpikes.coma  and we are updating the website for the prisions , lottery, and anything else that Kasick nad cronies hid in the current budget bill. we even may end up in court like the privatization of Ohio Prisons. Ohio cannot sell off its assets.

  • Mark44515

     People are fighting back with an on line petition at http://saveourturnpikes.coma  and we are updating the website for the prisions , lottery, and anything else that Kasick nad cronies hid in the current budget bill. we even may end up in court like the privatization of Ohio Prisons. Ohio cannot sell off its assets.

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