Kasich: SB5 fight allowed budget to pass with ‘minimal problems’
Ohio Governor John Kasich told reporters on Monday he was glad the fuss surrounding the veto referendum to repeal Senate Bill 5 had kept the pressure off the budget he presented to state legislators, passed earlier this year.
“One really good thing that I will tell you is that as a result of a lot of the hubbub around this issue, we were able to pass our budget with a minimal amount of problems, which is fantastic because it is that budget that has set the framework for the state of Ohio to rebuild,” Kasich told reporters following a speech at a Zanesville restaurant, according to the Columbus Dispatch.
It’s precisely that budget, which cut state funds paid to local governments by half and cut payments to school districts in Ohio by $852 million, that put many local governments and districts in the red, according to some officials and union representatives.
Kasich’s solution for overburdened municipalities was SB5, a sweeping bill that severely curtails public employees’ right to collectively bargain, as well as ending the practice of binding third-party arbitration in contract disputes. The bill also penalizes strikers with heavy fines and even imprisonment.
Its signing in March, however, was only the beginning of the battle, as unions led a massive signature petition drive through the spring and summer to put the controversial law before voters. SB5′s fate will be decided as Issue 2 on November 8.