If you missed last night’s debate between State Rep. Connie Pillich (D-Montgomery) and state Sen. Shannon Jones (R-Springboro), you didn’t miss much.
The Enquirer’s Paul D. Kostyu reports that the same arguments that have been trotted out before in favor of or in opposition to Issue 2 were heard again in last night’s debate at Cedar Village.
Ohio voters will decide on Nov. 8 whether to keep or repeal Senate Bill 5, legislation passed last year by the General Assembly.
Among other issues, SB5 limits the ability of public workers to negotiate for wages, working conditions and pension benefits.
Kostyu has more details on last night’s debate:
Pillich and Jones landed no knockout punches but aggressively attacked each other’s position in the two-hour debate at Cedar Village Retirement Community.
Both generated applause for the positions they took throughout the night, though it appeared SB 5 opponents outnumbered proponents. The crowd included tea party members sporting red T-shirts and other area residents adorned with buttons advocating rejection of Issue 2.
Pillich called the legislation flawed, unfair and overreaching, saying it takes away public employees’ rights, particularly police and firefighters, to bargain “so they can come home alive at the end of the day.”
“I’ve heard a lot what we’re not for, but I’ve not heard what Rep. Pillich is for,” said Jones midway through the debate. She said state and local governments and school districts don’t have enough money to keep the staff and services.
“Good grief. Are we going to ignore the fact that our cities can’t make their payrolls? I’m for accepting the reality” instead of the status quo, Jones said.
Pillich countered that the terms of Issue 2 are “like going into divorce court and finding out your spouse is the judge.”
“I don’t understand why public employees are the culprit,” Pillich said. “It’s not about balancing the state budget; it’s about taking away people’s voices. There’s no good-faith bargaining.”
Jones disagreed, saying there will be good-faith negotiating. She said SB 5, which she helped write, makes public employees and officials more accountable and negotiations more transparent.
“I find it increasingly offensive that the senator keeps saying there will be good-faith bargaining,” Pillich said. “There won’t be. There’s no risk for management” by allowing them to make the final decision on a contract instead of an arbitrator.
Jones called some of Pillich’s answers “bizarre.”
“The facts are we have less money and the public won’t give us more,” she said. “For years, Ohio has lost hundreds of thousands of jobs. We need to give local communities the ability to get costs under control. We have unsustainable labor costs. The public has had enough.”
Both Jones and Pillich used examples of school districts and local governments that would either benefit or lose should Issue 2 pass. They often countered each other’s examples, adding more information. They also quoted opposing studies.
“It’s long-overdue reform that can save millions annually,” Jones said.
“It’s heads I win, tails you lose,” Pillich said of SB 5.
The Northeast Cincinnati Chamber of Commerce sponsored the debate to help it decide whether to support, oppose or stay neutral on Issue 2.
What are your thoughts on Issue 2 and SB5? Are you for or against it, and why?
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