One month ago Ohio voted with its heart against reforms portrayed as an attack on public workers. Ohio, DC, and New York union bosses spent more than $30 million drenching the airwaves in images of sad firefighters, sad police officers, and evil Republicans, convincing voters to overlook a broken status quo.
A month later, how are local governments celebrating the union victory on Issue 2?
Middletown is laying off 9 firefighters, despite the city’s police and fire budgets both increasing by nearly 1/3 in the past decade. In Hamilton, a $5.9 million death tax haul will delay the inevitable:
Inflation coupled with new technology costs and the significant rises in health care costs have contributed to the rise in safety services budgets […]
The Hamilton fire union contract contains a minimum staffing clause, which means overtime if people are out sick or on vacation. When staffing dipped to 106 between 2008 and 2010, overtime was a significant factor in the fire budget increase, city officials have said.
Emphasis mine. Cleveland City School District is eliminating preschool, high school busing, and 75 security positions:
With labor costs making up the majority of school budgets, the district has sought to make up much of that ground through negotiations with unions representing Cleveland school employees. Negotiations with the teachers union have continued since March, with the district seeking significant pay concessions.
Westerville City School District is firing 62 support staff, cutting busing, and eliminating all sports:
Officials from the teachers union have said the plan also would cut about 175 teaching positions.
The proposed cuts follow a Nov. 8 levy defeat in which 61 percent of voters rejected a combined income-tax and property-tax request.
In Lancaster, where income- and property-tax issues also failed:
One of Lancaster’s three city firehouses was closed last month after the mayor laid off 13 firefighters to help balance the budget. The 68 firefighters remaining have predicted response times will increase in the city of about 37,000, but they could not say by how much.
The state Controlling Board has approved an advance payment of more than $1.9 million to help the Liberty Township school district pay its bills.
The reforms in Issue 2 would’ve helped localities control health & pension costs, ended last-in-first-out layoffs, instituted merit pay, and equipped elected leaders with some flexibility at the expense of union bosses. Good thing we avoided that miserable fate!
The unions made this bed, and Ohio voters were gullible enough to climb into it. Or, as Obama confidante and millionaire AFL-CIO kingpin Richard Trumka boasted after the election:
Go in and make war on your employees rather than make jobs with your employees, and you do so at your own peril.
True to form, Trumka insists the problem is Governor Kasich’s refusal to embrace failed “stimulus” spending. Pay no attention to the dishonest class-warriors siphoning millions from government workers behind the curtain.
The sun will keep rising in the east, and union apologists will continue blaming local budget troubles on reduced state spending. It’s true that Governor Kasich cut spending to cover a deficit estimated at $8 billion when Governor Strickland left office. It’s also true that the Progressive solution is Obamanomics at the state level: out-of-control unions, bigger government, and higher taxes to pay for both.
Which has worked brilliantly to date.
For more from Ohio, follow Jason on Twitter: @jasonahart