10.25.2011 0

Is Ohio the new Wisconsin?

Kasich FamilyBy Rick Manning — Ohio’s state government has a problem.  They face an $8 billion deficit in a state where the economy was struggling with more than half a million Ohioan’s are unemployed.

Ohio’s tax base is not expanding.  Over the past ten years, Ohio’s population did not grow as rapidly as the rest of the nation showing the third slowest growth rate of all states in the 2010 census with only a 1.6% growth rate compared to the more than 20% growth rate in the state of Texas.

Local governments in Ohio spend eighty cents of every dollar spent to pay for public employee salary and benefits rather than essential services.

State legislators and Governor John Kasich had to figure out how to close the state’s budget gap without costing jobs through even higher taxes.

They made the tough choice.

Rather than just making short-term fixes by laying off public employees, Kasich tackled the real problem head on by leading the state legislature to pass a law that fundamentally changes the relationship between public employee unions and the taxpayers.

Outraged public employee unions naturally retaliated by putting Issue 2 on the ballot for all Ohioan’s to vote on in November, making million dollar expenditures to attempt to keep the status quo relationship which benefits the free spending political action committee wielding unions.

Earlier in 2011, the state of Wisconsin faced a similar problem.  Governor Scott Walker and the state legislature courageously chose to make real change to a system that perpetuated a debt cycle that effectively enslaved Wisconsin taxpayers to their public employee unions.

After a multi-million dollar attempt by the public unions to overturn the law, Wisconsin voters decided to keep the politicians in place that restored balance to the collective bargaining system between public servants and their taxpayer employers.

Now Ohio voters will make the same choice.

A choice which will determine whether this Rust Belt state will attract and grow a new industrial base providing employment and increasing the tax base, or be thrust into a downward economic spiral as those who work for the government continue to consume more and more of the state’s wealth like parasites living off a dying organism.

With government employees making 43% more in salary and benefits than Ohioan’s who pay their salaries through their taxes, the choice should be easy.

A yes vote on Issue 2 will help bring that salary and benefit disparity into line, allow the state to balance its budget and increase the likelihood that local government’s spending will be more focused upon meeting the needs of the community rather than continuing to expand early retirement funds for public employees.

Governor Kasich and the state legislature faced very tough decisions.  Kill jobs and opportunity in Ohio by raising taxes, or tackle the politically powerful public employee unions with their compulsory dues collection machine.

The only question is will Ohio voters choose to protect the unions or their own pocket books and the economic future of their state?  We’ll know the answer on November 8, 2011.

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