FreedomWorks is a leading grassroots organization with over one million members fighting for lower taxes, less government and more freedom. I am writing today to ask you to vote YES on SB5 that would remove automatic pay raises, introduce merit-based pay and revoke the collective bargaining power of state and local employees. This would help address Ohio’s budget crisis and create an abundance of new jobs.
Ohio’s state and local government compensation has exceeded the private sector in both salary and benefits. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that in 2009 government workers earned 1.45 times the compensation with a defined benefit retirement plan almost seven times their private sector counterparts. SB5 becomes even more essential when the unfunded portions of these union payoffs come into focus. A recent study by The Pew Center on the States found that the $3.35 trillion required to pay all the states’ current and retired public sector benefits is underfunded by $1 trillion. For their part, Ohio is the fifth worst state and Cincinnati is the third worst city, underfunded by $20 billion and $4 billion respectfully.
Ohio is in dramatic need of budget reform. The state has a $10 billion deficit for 2011. Ohio has shed over 600,000 private sector jobs in the last ten years, Ohio can no longer afford to insulate public servants from the economic reality of lower tax revenues, and finally, at a time when Ohioans are struggling to find a job, public servants in secure jobs should at the very least be paid based on how good they are at their jobs.
Ohio cannot afford to remain a state in denial. If Ohio and America are to continue being a state and a nation of entrepreneurs, producers and innovators who create wealth in the private economy, we cannot create unsustainable compensation for public employees negotiated by short-sighted politicians from the dwindling wallets of our neighbors. I urge you to vote YES on SB5 to end collective bargaining by government unions in Ohio.
President and CEO
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