FRONT PAGE CONTRIBUTOR
Public-Sector Unions To Ohio Taxpayers: We Will Bury You
...Or, Unions Win, Right-to-Work States Win, You Lose
With less than two weeks before the November 8th elections and with the polls leaning toward repealing SB5, it appears that Ohioans are ready to vote to increase their taxes and unemployment. Ultimately, that is a choice Ohio taxpayers will be making and fiscal self-immolation is certainly within their rights and, frankly, there are states who would be all-too happy to see Ohio’s unions put the nail in the coffin there.
Curiously, though, after months of being pounded by a multi-million dollar union campaign of fear-mongering and deceptive propaganda, there seems to be very few Ohioans who know the true economic consequences of what happens when they repeal SB 5—and the unions, in their attack ads, certainly aren’t telling them either.
Even before John Kasich attempted to wrest control of Ohio’s budget from union bosses’ death grip, the state has had one foot in the dirt (so to speak). Thanks to Ohio being a forced union state and its years of union-cronyism (a state where non-union business owners are shot), the state’s private-sector has been shrinking while its public sector payroll has remained obese.
This public-sector bloat has led to liabilities that, with the repeal of SB 5, are only going to get worse. Below is a graph (view here) that shows the projections of Ohio’s school district deficits, using data from 2010.
The numbers above are not even accounting for Ohio’s State Teachers Retirement System’s most recent budget-busting numbers:
As preliminary data on the State Teachers Retirement System (STRS) for fiscal year 2011 is released, STRS is finally starting to see the light: Their pension system is failing. And its going to take more than just tinkering around the edges to fix it.
Despite earning its “strongest investment return in nearly three decades” in 2011, STRS’ pension fund still managed to sink to a 58.8 percent funding level, down from 59.1 percent a year earlier. The amortization window for its unfunded liabilities, unsurprisingly, remains at infinity, meaning STRS will never be able to pay off what it owes. A dying pension fund just put another foot in the grave.
To address just these deficits, without SB5 and the ability get control over the runaway costs, Ohio’s state and local governments will have to either lay off workers or increase taxes, or both. If taxes are to be increased, one way or another, it will come from Ohio’s residents and, very likely, through property tax hikes.
Unions fighting SB5, of course, have not addressed this in their campaign get voters to vote ‘no’ on Issue 2 (the ballot initiative to put SB5 into effect). Apparently, the unions are waiting until they are victorious in the SB 5 fight before Ohio’s taxpayers see the real economic costs.
We can, however, see some preliminary estimates for one Ohio County (with more to come):
Estimating population from Census figures, every resident of these Montgomery County school districts would have to pay much higher taxes in 2015 to cover the deficits projected by their own school district in 2010 – just how much? Take a look…
- Huber Heights City School District: $1,273
- Northmont City School District: $1,272
- Valley View Local School District: $1,266
- Oakwood City School District: $1,249
- Northridge Local School District: $881
- Vandalia-Butler City School District: $880
- Mad River Local School District: $869
- Kettering City School District: $862
- Dayton City School District: $387
- Trotwood-Madison City School District: $383
- Centerville City School District: $311
There is a bright side to all of this, however: Just as one man’s trash is another man’s treasure, one state’s economic stupidity is another state’s gain.
The higher the taxes go in Ohio and the more the unions kill Ohio’s businesses, states like South Carolina, Texas, Arizona and other union-free states will be all too happy to receive those who wish to flee. [Obviously, the Right-to-Work states' only request is that you leave your unions in Ohio.]
Good luck on November 8th, Ohio.
“I bring reason to your ears, and, in language as plain as ABC, hold up truth to your eyes.” Thomas Paine, December 23, 1776