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Striving for Good Service at a Good Value

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Photo by moneyblognewz

Job creation, economic development and efforts to promote a more effective government are just a few of the ideals I have striven for since taking office earlier this year. Now, having been in office for more than 100 days, I feel that we have accomplished a lot, yet there is still more to do during these difficult times. I continue to work on legislation that will close the budget gap by reducing spending without raising taxes on Ohio’s hard-working families.

Many members of the House have received criticism of the recent legislation that improves the working relationship between public-sector unions, their employers and local taxpayers. This legislation—Senate Bill 5—will surely not solve Ohio’s financial problems in an instant, but it will certainly help local governments, school districts and the taxpayers weather the difficult budget ahead of us. For too long, the financial constraints on local governments have gotten progressively worse, so now is the time to take action—as spending cannot be contained.

With all of the misinformation that is out there on Senate Bill 5, I want to ensure that everyone within the 17th House District has a firm understanding of what Senate Bill 5 entails and the reasoning behind the reform.

With Ohio facing a structural imbalance of $8 billion, it is clear that the state does not have enough money to go around. Spending reductions must be made, and we will all be affected. Unfortunately, the state may not be able to provide as much funding to our local municipalities and schools. Faced with less revenue coming in, our local government bodies are in a bind as they remain tethered to costly contracts.

Essentially, the problem is that taxpayers cannot afford to pay the contracts and step increases at the rate they have been. With less than 360,000 public employees in a state of 11.5 million people, Senate Bill 5 restores a fair and affordable balance between our local governments’ limited resources and the needs of public workers—reforming a system that has remain untouched for nearly 30 years.

What’s important to note is that the legislation keeps current contracts intact. Furthermore, it doesn’t eliminate collective bargaining, mandate salary reductions or cut benefits for public employees. Rather, it is legislation that is simply designed to give some financial flexibility back to the local elected officials who we’ve put in place to watch after our hard-earned tax dollars—the ability to shift budgets, personnel and policy in a fair and responsible manner.

If we can avoid massive layoffs and a deterioration of public services in a way that retains collective bargaining on issues related to wages, hours, terms and conditions of employment, then that is the favorable thing to do. We can no longer wait to take care of our financial problems another day as a means of appeasing one group at the expense of the vast majority of middle-class taxpayers.

As your state representative, I am here to look after the interests of all families in our community—government and private-sector employees alike. I value the wonderful teachers teach, and I have no interest in harming the men and women of our police and fire departments who are willing to put their lives on the line for us in a moment’s notice. To think this is the case would be illogical.

We must all share the sacrifice of keeping our communities from collapsing under the weight of collective bargaining costs. You have my word that I will continue to find ways of strengthening our state and providing ways to manage our finances during this budgetary storm. With the proper balance of public-sector unions, local government and state government, we will be well on our way to achieving the best quality service at a reasonable value to Ohioans.

 

Photo by moneyblognewz