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WASHINGTON, DC- Today, FreedomWorks cheered the success of Senate Bill 5 (SB5), which passed the Ohio State Senate by a narrow vote of 17-16. Senate Bill 5 is a piece of legislation that would remove automatic pay raises, introduce merit-based pay and restrict the collective bargaining power of state and local employees. This would help address Ohio’s budget crisis and lay the foundation for future job growth. Currently, the state of Ohio has a $10 billion deficit for 2011, and shed over 600,000 private sector jobs in the last ten years.
“At a time when people in Ohio are struggling to find a job and the state's economy is in a period of recovery, free-market reform is needed to ensure businesses have the freedom and flexibility to give hard working people the jobs they deserve,” added Kibbe. “The success of SB5 is a critical first step towards this kind of reform.”
Historically, Ohio’s state and local government compensation has far exceeded the private sector in both salary and benefits. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Ohio government workers received a defined benefit retirement plan almost seven times their private sector counterparts in 2009.
In the weeks leading up to this pivotal vote, FreedomWorks engaged its broad network of Ohio activists in an aggressive phone and letter-writing campaign, focusing specifically on the offices of Senators Scott Oelslager, Tim Grendell, Tim Schaffer, and Gayle Manning.
The next step in the battle for collective bargaining reform will take place in the Ohio House. As the debate picks up steam, FreedomWorks will continue to mobilize members, along with conservative, limited-government activists in Ohio on FreedomConnector- a revolutionary, new online mobilization tool designed to quickly apply concerted pressure on elected officials- to call and email targeted Ohio House Members in support of SB5.
In addition, FreedomWorks will be organizing numerous events on the ground throughout Ohio in the weeks ahead to advocate the passage of SB5.
“The taxpayers of Ohio can no longer afford to give public sector unions a free ride,” commented Matt Kibbe, President of FreedomWorks. “For too long, the Ohio government has allowed compensation for state employees to grow out of control, far outpacing the private sector. The state can no longer afford to insulate public servants from economic reality.”