Ohio Gov. John Kasich, who signed legislation Thursday evening that significantly curbs bargaining power of unionized state workers, says the bill’s purpose is to try and balance the budget and bring public employees in line with those in the private sector.
“First of all in this bill that I have just signed we don’t cut anybody’s salaries, we don’t take away their pension, and we don’t destroy their healthcare,” Kasich told Fox News’ Sean Hannity, hours after signing the bill that mirrors similarly contentious Wisconsin legislation.
“What we are saying is, is that government workers ought to be treated a little bit more like private-sector workers,” he said. “Our private-sector workers pay 23 percent of their healthcare costs, and the average city worker here in Ohio pays 9 percent.
“So, it’s a matter of balancing,” Kasich continued. “And the other thing is, we want to give local governments the ability to manage their costs, Sean — we have some of our communities racing towards bankruptcy, because they haven’t been able to control their costs.
Kasich said the goal of the law, which limits the bargaining power of unionized state workers, including firefighters and teachers, and also increases payments for healthcare coverage and pensions, is to balance Ohio’s budget, and position the state “into a situation where we can have growth.”
“We’ve got to control our costs, reform our programs, make them more efficient and more effective, and create a growth environment so people will create jobs here in Ohio that will lift everybody,” Kasich said, adding that he expects the bill’s opponents to try to put a referendum to repeal it on the November ballot.
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