Vote no on school levies
To the editor:
How many of you can remember the big battle in the fall of 2011? The Ohio legislature had passed SB5 and Governor Kasich had signed it into law. The bill changed collective bargaining practices for public employees.
The law would have given cash-strapped government jurisdictions flexibility to reduce costs. To remind you of the scope of the problem, Ohio was facing a $10 billion budget deficit in 2011. State and local government employees' pensions are underfunded to the tune of $1 trillion dollars.
Regardless of your opinion of SB5, you should reject citizens being forced by law to contribute to political causes? Well that is exactly the scenario that replays itself virtually every election. According to the Ohio Secretary of State, public-employee unions, led by teachers unions, gave about $9.7 million to the effort to strike down SB5. The U.S. Labor Department reported that in 2012, contributions totaling more than $200 million from the National Education Association and more than $130 million from the American Federation of Teachers were spent on political activities. Every dollar came from taxpayers who had no control over what their money was being spent on.
Now let us follow the money. You pay taxes. Your taxes are used to pay public employees. Union dues are deducted from the paychecks of those employees. Unions contribute heavily to political causes. That is right - the $10 million dollars they spent to defeat SB5 came right out of your wallet.
The American electorate is split 50/50 ideologically yet more than 90 percent of union contributions go to liberal initiatives. The unions also gave millions of dollars to groups that lobbied for Obamacare while nearly 70 percent of the populace is against the law. Yes, those taxpayers helped finance the battle to support a law they detest.
Public employee unions, teachers unions, are the epitome of an example of conflict of interest. Tax dollars go to pay union members, who then pay dues to unions, who in turn support the elected officials who determine the wages and benefits of the union members. To perpetuate contributions from the unions, the politicians capitulate to every union demand. What is missing from this vicious cycle and the negotiation table is the group responsible for paying the tab, the taxpayer.
Unlike private sector union negotiations, the government does not have to remain competitive to survive. The politician isn't reaching into his own pocket or that of his business to placate the unions. The politician reaches into the taxpayer's pocket. It should be illegal for public employee unions to bribe the politicians who determine their compensation.
Voting for education has historically gained support because it is touted as money for the kids, for the future of the country. Depending on the school district, approximately 80 percent of your education tax dollars is spent on salary and benefit costs. The United States spends more than $12,000 per student - $3000 higher than the average of other developed nations. Education is not underfunded.
Until our schools rid us of the scourge of teachers' unions, they do not deserve our continued support. We need to send a message to administrators and teachers alike that we will no longer contribute to a system that channels education dollars to political activism and considers payola business as usual.