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article imageOp-Ed: Ohio's union-busting 'Jobs Budget' bill coming soon

By Bill Lindner     Mar 17, 2011 in Politics
The "Jobs Budget" bill introduced by Ohio Governor John R. Kasich -- yet another astroturf Tea Party darling making news for all the wrong reasons -- makes Wisconsin's "Budget Repair" bill look good.
Ohio Senate Bill 5, which passed the Ohio Senate by a 17-16 vote, and is now being debated in the Ohio House of Representatives is like the Wisconsin's "budget repair" bill on steroids. Ohio Governor John Kasich's "jobs budget" bill for fiscal year 2012 reportedly includes no tax increases and makes significant cuts to local governments, school districts, Medicaid and health-care providers to offset Ohio's $8 billion deficit.
Ohio's bill goes further than union busting. It takes the GOP's class war to another level. Ohio's legislation, among other things, would sell off and privatize some prisons, ban the right of government workers to strike – they would face imprisonment and fines -- eliminate contractual patterns for wage increases, put total authority for hiring, firing and outsourcing in the hands of public sector managers, cuts government workers pay by 20 percent by forcing them to pay that much of their health care premiums, and denies collective bargaining rights for teachers, professors, police officers, firefighters and workers hired through private contractors. Police and Fire personnel weren't affected by Wisconsin's bill. Ohio's bill also reportedly broadens the factors that can determine layoffs or dismissals and limits the number of vacation days and paid holidays for long-term workers. It also privatizes some services.
Calling the proposal a "Jobs budget" is an ironic misnomer. Kasich claims the statewide cuts are necessary to make the state "much more efficient,” and that the bill is "not an attack" on union workers in his state, trying to sell a deceptive notion that what Ohio is doing is designed to make sure kids in that state have a future, have jobs in that state, and that families will be prosperous. In reality, if passed, the bill would eliminate more jobs than it creates.
The fact that FreedomWorks supports Ohio's Senate Bill 5 and Ohio's Republican Party Governor John R. Kasich is quite revealing. FreedomWorks, one of the many organizations responsible for the astroturf Tea Party that helped Kasich win the Ohio Gubernatorial race during last year's midterm elections. The term "astroturf" refers to organizations like FreedomWorks that claim to be grassroots movements when in reality, they're funded by large corporations or the self-serving billionaires and millionaires – think Koch brothers and Karl Rove -- that own them. FreedomWorks, tries to identify itself with two schools of thought: the Austrian School of economics and public choice theory, but in reality, caters to billionaires and the large corporations that own many State and Federal politicians.
Kasich will sign the bill if it passes
To quote Matt Taibbi, "Why isn't Wall Street in jail?" Part of Wisconsin's budget problem is tied to being defrauded by Wall Street; the average Wisconsin pension is $24,500 a year, which is by no means lavish, but 15 percent of the money contributed to the fund each year goes to Wall Street in fees. Matt Taibbi has spent years reporting on Wall Street’s defrauding of America. Every astroturf Tea Party Governor -- and most Republicans and Democrats, both state and Federal -- has deep ties to Wall Street and has profited greatly because of it. Greed and fraud permeate today's politics. In fact, most of the deficits faced by virtually every state in the U.S. can be tied to fraud perpetrated by Wall Street or Investors and financial institutions with ties to Wall Street, yet Washington continues enabling, protecting, and supporting them instead of prosecuting them. We keep paying the price for it, and it's time to change that. Political collusion and Wall Street fraud isn’t a Conspiracy Theory. It’s a well-documented fact.
Conveniently omitted in all the union-busting "budget repair" bills coming out of these astroturf-Tea-Party-Governed states is any mention of cutting State legislator's wages, health benefits, pensions, and expenses that are all paid for by taxpayers, and the fact that much of this "legislation is written by lobbyists and special interest groups who benefit greatly from them, especially when these states start privatizing everything.
Ohio may have a more difficult time passing union busting legislation than Wisconsin because it reportedly has the sixth-largest number of public-sector union members in the nation. In addition to Wisconsin, similar measures are working their way through the legislatures in Indiana, Tennessee, Idaho and Kansas. Protests in Ohio haven't been as big as the protests in Wisconsin, but that may change, especially if the bill passes. Kasich has already said he would sign the bill if it passes.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of DigitalJournal.com
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