Fox Says Anti-Union Bill Is Need To Balance OH Budget, But Bill's Author Disagrees

››› ››› SHAUNA THEEL

Fox News' Special Report portrayed legislation that would restrict the collective bargaining rights of public workers in Ohio as "the only way" to balance the state's budget. However, even the State Senator who introduced the bill acknowledges that it will not "solve Ohio's immediate budget problems."

Special Report Portrays Ohio's Anti-Union Bill As Necessary To Balance The Budget

Special Report: Ohio Governor Says "The Only Way" To Balance State Budget Is To Cut Collective Bargaining For Public Workers. From a Fox News report on Ohio legislation that would restrict collective bargaining rights of public employees:

MCKELWAY: State Senator Kevin Bacon, whose committee holds hearings on this tomorrow, says that collective bargaining is so codified into law in the State of Ohio that it is virtually impossible for the state to balance its budget.

[...]

Well the man behind this bill, of course, is Governor John Kasich, who rejects all criticism that this is a union-busting bill. He says this is the only way that he can get this state out of an $8 billion hole.

KASICH: If we get that done we balance our budget, $8 billion in the hole, without a tax increase, and we've cut taxes on income taxes, that's going to send the message to the rest of the country that if they can do it there, they can do it in their state. And then maybe - guess what - they might actually be able to do something like this in Washington. We at least hope so.

In Fact, The Bill Has Nothing To Do With Ohio's Current Budget Deficit

Ohio Senator Shannon Jones Acknowledges Bill Will Not "Solve Ohio's Immediate Budget Problems." The ColumbusDispatch reported:

State Sen. Shannon Jones, R- Springboro, who is sponsoring the bill to eliminate collective bargaining for Ohio's state employees, acknowledged in testimony before a Senate committee that her bill would not "solve Ohio's immediate budget problems," but she said it would "make a significant difference in future budgets." [Columbus Dispatch, 2/20/11]

Dispatch: Jones "Not Pitching The Idea As The Solution To Ohio's Budget Woes." In December the Dispatch reported:

Sen. Shannon Jones, R-Springboro, plans to introduce a bill that would eliminate collective bargaining for state workers and weaken unions' bargaining power at the local level.

Jones said yesterday that she's not pitching the idea as the solution to Ohio's budget woes.

"Nobody disagrees with the fact that we are in a time of declining revenues," Jones said. "This is about giving management the ability to manage the largest cost in state and local government, and that is its work force." [Columbus Dispatch, 12/31/10]

Report: Collective-Bargaining Rights Are Not Associated With Higher Deficits

Policy Matters Ohio: "The Right Of Public Workers To Unionize Is Not Driving The Fiscal Crisis Of States." From Policy Matters Ohio:

We found that on average, the budget gaps of states with and without collective bargaining for public employees are similar in 2011:

  • The 9 states with no collective bargaining rights for any public employees face an average budget shortfall of 16.5 percent in the current fiscal year, while the 15 states (including the District of Columbia) with collective bargaining for all public employees face an average budget shortfall of 16.2 percent.
  • For the 42 states (including the District of Columbia) with some (or all) collective bargaining rights for some (or all) public workers, the 2011 budget gap averages 16.6 percent.
  • The 31 states (including the District of Columbia) with collective rights for state workers face an average budget gap of 17.6 percent while those without rights for state workers face an average budget shortfall of 15.1 percent. These numbers are all very close.

The point is, the right of public workers to unionize is not driving the fiscal crisis of states. [Policy Matters Ohio,12/30/10]

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