Saturday, March 19, 2011


Retirees, did you ever get $4,000 per 'classroom session' to teach?

From John Curry, March 19, 2011
OSU paid Kasich $4K per classroom session
By Laura A. Bischoff, Columbus Bureau
Dayton Daily News, August 16, 2010
COLUMBUS — As a candidate for governor, Republican John Kasich has called on colleges and universities to cut costs and force professors to teach more courses.
Yet for seven years Kasich served as a “presidential fellow” at his alma mater, Ohio State University, in a role that paid him the equivalent of about $4,000 per campus visit.
“It sounds like a perk program for a politician that we can’t afford,” said Matt Mayer of the Buckeye Institute, a conservative-leaning think tank that has posted government salaries in an online database.
Rob Nichols, Kasich’s campaign spokesman, said: “John was paid in alignment with what OSU thought his teaching was worth. They thought his work there was valuable — they kept asking him back.”
The job was among the many hats Kasich wore in the years after he left Congress in 2000. Although other politicians, including Republican Senate candidate Rob Portman, have taught courses at OSU for no cost, Kasich’s role paid him $50,000 a year.
Then-OSU President Brit Kirwin invited Kasich to serve as a fellow in August 2001. Starting with the 2002 winter quarter and ending last year, Kasich worked roughly one to five days a month — guest-lecturing in political science, economics, finance and psychology courses, posing a question of the month to first-year Mount Scholars, and serving as a panelist at banquets and forums.
In a 2008 report to a securities industry regulatory group, Kasich said he worked at OSU four hours a month. OSU also paid $20,000 a year to his longtime political ally Don Thibaut. Richard Stoddard, special assistant to current OSU President E. Gordon Gee, said the program’s goal was “to have a variety of interaction with students. All we had was positive feedback,” Stoddard said.

Don Gatchell and Dennis Leone re: Confusion over Kasich's Proposal

From Dennis Leone, March 19, 2011
Subject: Re: Confusion over Kasich's Proposal
Don --
I do not feel you misspoke. The gov may not even be fully aware that proposed HB 69 has different provisions for all 5 pension systems in terms of active member contributions. I took the comments in the Dispatch the same way you did......which are that irrespective of whatever plan moves forward for a final legislative vote, the gov wants the employers' contribution reduced by 2%.
So truthfully, this is not an issue of whether the active members contribute 13% or 15%. The real issue here is that a 2% increase of the active members' 10% contribution rate does NOT offset a corresponding 2% reduction of the employers' 14% contribution rate (which I believe is what the ORSC's Aristotle Hutras was trying to say in the Dispatch). Either the new gov does not understand this reality, or he simply does not care.
If, for example, the current active members' 10% contributions for 175,000 members total $1 billion per year for STRS, the employer contributions would total $1.4 billion per year. In other words, the pension fund would LOSE a minimum $400 million PER YEAR, and this would trigger a subsequent REDUCTION in our pensions. Does this explain it? A 2% reduction of the employers' contribution rate could only be offset by a 2.4% increase in the active members' contribution rate. And, yes, this would be in addition to the 3% planned increase in the revised STRS Board plan.
There is one additional future downside to what the gov is now proposing: As you know, the STRS Board plan also seeks the authority (rather than a legislative mandate) that would permit the STRS Board to independently raise the active members' contribution rate an additional 1% at some point in the future "if needed." In my testimony on 3-9-11, I said that this 1% should be legislatively mandated because of my strong belief that the STRS Board will not be able to handle the certain OEA/OFT opposition to such a thing happening.
If the gov's idea results in active members paying 5% more instead of 3% more, then there is absolutely no way the STRS Board will ever kick in the additional 1%.......even though it positively will be needed at some point for pension solvency reasons.
The gov's 2% desire will not eliminate the need for the board at some point in the future to implement the additional 1%. It simply will not happen if the gov gets his plan due to STRS Board politics. The 6 non-teachers on the STRS Board won't have the guts to do it. Remember the motion 3 months ago by the STRS teacher board members to repeal the planned 3% increase in active contributions failed by a 5-5 tie vote.
Dennis Leone
Don Gatchell to John Curry and Dennis Leone, March 19, 2011
Subject: Confusion over Kasich's Proposal
John & Dennis, I am confused over Gov Kasich's proposal for the STRS pension fund. Is he proposing that teachers contribute ONLY 2% additional to the fund or 2% in addition to the 3% proposed in HB#69, for a total of 5%?
I feel I misspoke in an earlier e-mail. No wonder ORSC's Hutras commented that if Kasich's proposal will decrease the contribution by Boards by 2% and only increase active teachers' contribution by 2%, that yields a ''sum zero'' increase or no increase. I suppose he wants to bankrupt STRS to force all to a "defined contribution plan" like a risky 401-K. Straighten me out, gents.
Don Gatchell

Friday, March 18, 2011

Retirement Funds Go Bust thanks to Kasich's agenda?

Thursday, March 17, 2011
The Ultimate Payback to Unions: Retirement Funds Go Bust?
* As Kasich and his buddies consolidate power, various departments in the state government continue to fire and throw out anyone who is not "one of them."
* Does it bother you that Lehman Brothers, Kasich's former employer, lost over $400 million of the investment from the retirement funds of Ohio's public employees? Now the Kasich budget plan could threaten the solvency of the remaining retirement funds.
Dayton Daily News:
A budget proposal by Gov. John Kasich would save governments and school districts money they now spend on employee pensions, but a state pension expert said the change could make it harder for the pension funds to remain solvent for the 30 years required by state law.
The governor’s proposal would reduce the amount of money public employers contribute to employee pensions by 2 percent and increase the employee contribution by the same amount. It would save state and local governments, universities, school districts and libraries an estimated $1.1 billion over the two-year budget, said Rob Nichols, Kasich spokesman.
However, the proposal could create long-term solvency issues, said Aristotle Hutras, director of the Ohio Retirement Study Council, which provides legislative oversight of Ohio’s five public pension funds. Cutting 2 percent from the amount employers contribute to the fund is problematic because employees who withdraw from the system before they are vested are entitled to their share of the contribution, Hutras said. The fund would take a hit because the employers during that time would be contributing a smaller amount under Kasich’s proposal.....
Public employees in Ohio put their money in state retirement funds and have no Social Security. With Kasich's budget plan, Ohio's public employees could retire with nothing, if the retirement funds go bust with the risky budget plan. Is this his ultimate payback to union members for not supporting Republicans?

From Distraught Don in Chilli....."It's time to worry and do something!"

From Don Gatchell, March 18, 2011
Subject: Fw: [News] March Board News Details Retirement Board Actions andDiscussions
Friends of Education, House Bill #69 proposed by Rep. Lynn Wachtmann (R-Napoleon) will reform the 5 public pension systems in Ohio to include STRS. The purpose is to insure that the pension funds will remain solvent for both retirees and the actives who will eventually be retirees.
Although active & retired teachers will both suffer slightly if HB#69 is passed, if it is not passed we will all suffer greatly. Example: Gov. Kasich has proposed that rather than teachers be assessed an additional 3% contribution to STRS, they be assessed an additional 5%.
Rather than Boards of Education not contribute an additional %, Kasich suggests that the contribution by Boards of Ed. be decreased by 2%. Not only do active teachers lose more under the Kasich Plan, but STRS and the ORSC estimate that this action would not render the pension fund solvent for the long run!
Please write to or e-mail key Ohio representatives urging them to ignore Dictator Kasich's proposal and quickly pass HB #69 to maintain the solvency of our Ohio STRS Pension Fund.[check the STRS or Ohio General Assembly web sites for addresses] Local representatives are Rep. Bob Peterson and Rep. John Carey. Key members of the House Sub-Committee considering HB #69 are Rep. Lynn Wachtmann, bill sponsor, and Rep. Kirk Schuring, Sub-Committee Chair. [Contact info for legislators may be found here.]
Also, in early April, Dennis Leone and others will give positive testimony to the Sub-Committee in Columbus [check the testimony schedule on the OH Gen Assembly web site or check with Laura Ecklar at STRS]. It is time to worry and do something! {see STRS News below}
Distraught Don
P.S ... Please send any corrections if I have any incorrect data ... hey, I am upset!

Report on March 2011 STRS Board meeting

From STRS, March 18, 2011
Subject: [News] March Board News Details Retirement Board Actions and Discussions
This week, the State Teachers Retirement Board held its monthly meeting. Following the regularly scheduled meetings, a report titled "Board News" is posted on the STRS Ohio Web site, as well as mailed to a number of members and education organization representatives who have requested it. As a member of STRS Ohio with an e-mail address on file, you will also receive this report each month. The March report follows.
Legislation based on plans forwarded to the General Assembly from the five statewide public pension plans has been the focus of hearings in a subcommittee in the Ohio House of Representatives. House Bill 69, sponsored by Rep. Lynn Wachtmann, was assigned to the Health and Aging Subcommittee on Retirement and Pensions after its first hearing. Wachtmann, who is chair of the House Health and Aging Committee, sent the legislation to the subcommittee that is pursuing an aggressive hearing schedule under the direction of Chair Kirk Schuring.
To date, all five systems have presented testimony on the board-approved changes to their respective plans. In the case of STRS Ohio, the language in the current bill actually refers to the plan adopted by the Retirement Board in fall 2009. However, language is expected to be amended with the more recently adopted board recommendations from January 2011. Since the bill's introduction on Feb. 1, nine hearings have been held and an additional five are scheduled.
The pace in the Senate on pension legislation has been slower. Sen. Keith Faber delivered sponsor testimony on Senate Bill 3 on Feb. 24 to the Senate Government Oversight and Reform Committee. The following week, the directors of the five systems provided overviews of their systems for the committee, but did not delve into detail on their respective board plans for long-term sustainability, leaving that for a subsequent committee hearing.
In his testimony, STRS Ohio Executive Director Michael Nehf indicated the system's typical new retiree is age 59 with 30 or more years of service. He said the large majority of members contribute to or receive pensions from STRS Ohio's Defined Benefit Plan. He also said the system isn't in "immediate crisis," but noted that without changes, STRS Ohio would eventually be unable to pay pensions. He explained to the committee that a shift to a defined contribution plan isn't a viable solution, in part, because diverting contributions from new teachers to a different plan would actually cost existing members and employers more to make up for the lost contributions. Regardless of the plan design for the future, the existing unfunded liabilities must be funded. In a follow-up comment, Sen. Bill Seitz, who chairs the committee, said that moving to a defined contribution plan for STRS Ohio or the other systems would be like "trying to put the toothpaste back in the tube."
The committee currently does not have plans to hear S.B. 3 again until later in March as the Legislative Service Commission is in the process of drafting a substitute version of the bill.
Further complicating the current pension reform discussion is a proposal contained in Gov. John Kasich's state budget that would shift employer/employee contributions for the five pension systems. Employers would pay two percent less based on payroll and employees would pay two percent more. Requiring employers to pay less is being recommended as a way to help offset the proposed cutbacks in state funding to state and local governments.
For STRS Ohio, this could mean an increase in member contributions to 12% from the current 10%, and a decrease in employer contributions to 12% from 14%. However, no details have been received as yet regarding this change, including how it would relate to the already proposed 3% increase in member contributions that STRS Ohio included in its January pension reform plan.
It is anticipated that this proposed contribution change and its potential impact on the five systems' respective plans, plus the feasibility of moving public employees into defined contribution plans, will be discussed in the committees and by the Ohio Retirement Study Council (ORSC). This month, Sen. Keith Faber was elected chair of the ORSC, which is the legislative oversight committee for the five pension systems. Wachtmann was elected vice chair.
STRS Ohio members are encouraged to visit the STRS Ohio Web site frequently for updates on pension legislation ( Hearing schedules and contact information for legislators can also be found there.
At its February meeting, the State Teachers Retirement Board further reviewed proposed changes to the STRS Ohio Health Care Program for 2012. The first change would be an adjustment to the premium subsidy methodology by reducing the "years of service" multiplier to 2.1% from the current 2.5%, phased in over 2012 through 2015. For 2012, the multiplier would be 2.4%. As an example: a benefit recipient with 30 or more years of service currently pays 25% of the premium cost; STRS Ohio pays 75% (30 years x 2.5% = 75%). If the multiplier goes to 2.4%, STRS Ohio would pay 72% of the premium cost (30 years x 2.4% = 72%) and the benefit recipient's portion would be 28%. It is anticipated that this change could preserve an additional $20 million in the health care fund in 2012.
The second change the board is considering affects future premiums for the AultCare, Kaiser and Paramount health care plans. Currently, the benefit recipients enrolled in these plans are actually receiving a higher subsidy than the 75% maximum because the plans' costs are cheaper. Under the proposal presented to the board, the subsidies applied to these premiums would be capped at 75% and would be based on the respective plan's full cost. This will result in a lower premium subsidy for the approximately 6,600 benefit recipients enrolled in these plans.
The board will be asked to take a vote on these proposed changes at its April 2011 meeting.
The 2011 Retirement Board election packet will mail on April 1. It will include information about the two candidates - Taiyia (Tai) L. Hayden and Martin A. Miller - who are running for the one contributing member seat on the board, as well as instructions for casting votes using the Internet, phone or mail. Those eligible to vote in this election include all STRS Ohio contributing members, individuals who have contributions on deposit at STRS Ohio and disability benefit recipients. The deadline for voting is May 2. Results of the election will be announced following certification of the election results by the board of tellers on May 7.
A new calculator is now on the STRS Ohio Web site to enable members to estimate service retirement benefits based on the Retirement Board's January 2011 pension plan proposal. This calculator is not tied to the member's personal account; however, the member can enter a retirement date, birthdate, years of service at retirement and final average salary and get an estimate that reflects the phase-in period and a close estimate of the actuarial early retirement reductions. The STRS Ohio home page now includes an information box at the top of the page for pension legislation tools that includes the benefit calculator, frequently asked questions and the January proposal. The new calculator can be accessed at:
The Retirement Board approved 160 active members and 106 inactive members for service retirement benefits.

Annemarie, I want to thank you......

John Curry to Anne Erkman, March 18, 2011
Thank you for your reply and the transmission of the recent ORSC board meeting notes. Also, thank you for placing my name on the recipient list for future board meeting minutes.
John Curry
To: John Curry Sent: Friday, March 18, 2011
Subject: Re: Annemarie, a question for you...........
Dear Mr. Curry,
I apologize for not replying to your email sooner. It has been a bit of a crazy week and I did, in fact, forget to reply. I am attaching the minutes of our November meeting (the last meeting we have minutes for, as I have not done the minutes yet for Wednesday’s meeting.). They are public records and we will send them out to anyone. As you note, we don’t have them on our website at this time and I am unsure when we will be adding them. We would like to make some changes to the layout of our website to make it easier to find things and we can also add the minutes, but we want to make all the changes at the same time in order to be more cost-effective.
I can add you to the list of people I send the minutes to once they are approved if you would like, until they are added to our website.
Annemarie Erkman
Research Attorney
Ohio Retirement Study Council
88 E. Broad St., Suite 1175
Columbus, OH 43215
From: John Curry
Date: Fri, 18 Mar 2011
Subject: Annemarie, a question for you...........
As "Sunshine Week" is about to reach its sundown I have yet to hear from you in reference to my earlier request below. Possibly you didn't get it or maybe you just forgot to reply so....... I send out this letter one final time in hopes that you will reply to an Ohio taxpayer and also a benefits recipient of one of Ohio's five public retirement systems.
Thank you for your concern for transparency in government during this very important week for those who value openness in the very same body. I close with this quote from a former U.S. Supreme Court Justice, Louis D. Brandeis, "Sunshine is the best disinfectant."
Thank you,
John Curry
P.S. If the ORSC does not intend on making their board minutes available to the general public, just tell will be difficult for me to understand the ORSC's decision and I am sure the public will find it rather interesting.
From: John Curry
Sent: Wednesday, March 16, 2011
Subject: Annemarie, a question for you...........
I received the letter below from a friend re. the ORSC meeting. I am a retired educator and have an interest in the Ohio Retirement Study Council and have been looking at your website for many years now. Here is my question........why doesn't the ORSC make available the minutes of their meetings on their (otherwise) quite complete website? This week just happens to be "Sunshine Week" and a little more transparency from the ORSC would certainly be appreciated.
Thank you,
John Curry
Sent: 3/14/2011
Subj: ORSC meeting notice
A meeting of the Ohio Retirement Study Council has been scheduled for this Wednesday, March 16, 2011. This is an organizational meeting and the agenda is attached.
Annemarie Erkman
Research Attorney
Ohio Retirement Study Council
88 E. Broad St., Suite 1175
Columbus, OH 43215

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Retirees, how will COLA cut affect YOU? Read this; you might be heard!

Adrian Smith to John Curry, March 17, 2011
Subject: HB 69 Testimony
Dear John,
Hi Friends, I am testifying before the House Committee considering HB 69 (STRS Pension Changes) on April 5. I get FIVE short minutes to make our point on the COLA reduction.
Please send this out to any RETIRED TEACHER you know to send me THEIR will the COLA cut affect them?
My goal is ONE THOUSAND stories. I see this as sort of a 'Miracle on 34th Street' scene of convincing the court that there is a Santa Claus and all the mail that lands on the judge's desk.
This will leave the Reps with our stories...the more the better....I have five already in one day....please send them to story is not enough, many are a lifetime...thanks (Kathie if you would put this on your blog it would be great; another teacher friend of mine has a Facebook page specifically for material like this also.....BG Ed Association is the page name for Facebookers)
Adrian Smith
Bowling Green, OH
BG City Schools 29 years

Hey, Governor, you forgot about those 122 tax loopholes, didn't you?

From John Curry, March 17, 2011
Here's just one of them, Governor!
"Special breaks for special industries, such as a credit for brewers and beer importers for paying beer and malt-beverage taxes early, and a sales-tax cap for affluent buyers of time shares in jet aircraft. Under this tax cap, a buyer who otherwise might pay $8,000 or $10,000 in state sales tax pays just $100."
Ohio tax loopholes worth closing: Zach Schiller
March 15, 2011
By Zach Schiller
The debate over Ohio's state operating budget gets under way for real today when Gov. John Kasich's two-year budget proposal is revealed.
As the General Assembly considers the budget proposal, here's something that deserves close attention: the $7 billion in exemptions, credits and deductions from state taxes that otherwise would be paid each year.
This means that more than $1 in every $4 that the state would collect instead is not due. These exemptions and loopholes, known as "tax expenditures" because they amount to state spending through the tax code, include:
• Special breaks for special industries, such as a credit for brewers and beer importers for paying beer and malt-beverage taxes early, and a sales-tax cap for affluent buyers of time shares in jet aircraft. Under this tax cap, a buyer who otherwise might pay $8,000 or $10,000 in state sales tax pays just $100.
• A tax break for banks that is much greater than the entire corporate franchise tax they pay (this exemption, for good will, appreciation and abandoned property, amounts to an estimated $186.8 million this fiscal year, compared to $132.4 million estimated for tax to be paid).
• The $1.7 billion sales-tax exemption for manufacturers on purchases of machinery, equipment, supplies and fuel, which amounts to more than the tax revenue generated by each penny of the state's sales tax. This exemption has not been examined since it was last overhauled in 1990. While most states with sales tax have such an exemption, is it sensible to leave this so long without a review?
• A credit for previous operating losses against the Commercial Activity Tax -- available only to companies that had $50 million in losses before that tax was established. Lose a little, and the state can't help you. Lose a bundle, and you qualify.
These are just some of the tax expenditures that are a permanent part of the tax code, with no regular review. Altogether, the Ohio Department of Taxation totaled up 122 of them -- a number that probably will increase in a new report due today.
The number actually would be greater if you included services that aren't taxed, such as lobbying.
It doesn't include the Dealers in Intangibles Tax, which allows mortgage brokers and payday lenders to pay a lower tax rate than banks do. The last two major studies of the Ohio tax system each recommended the elimination of this tax.
Nor does the report include state subsidies of local property taxes that go to all property owners, regardless of income. These added up to almost $1.7 billion last fiscal year. As governors, George Voinovich and Bob Taft both attempted to cap these subsidies so they would be available only up to a certain home value. In 2007, Jon Husted, the speaker of the Ohio House, similarly wanted to means-test the homestead exemption for seniors. All failed, regrettably.
Other states, such as Arizona and Washington, have been conducting regular reviews of their tax expenditures. Oklahoma, Colorado, Iowa and Kansas have reduced tax credits. The Ohio Manufacturers' Association has said the sales tax is "riddled with exemptions, carve-outs and credits" and called for a comprehensive review.
Ohio's state support for early childhood education, mental health programs, libraries and other services all came under the knife as revenues fell. If you want to appeal your home's tax valuation beyond the Board of Revision, you're now looking at a two-year wait for a hearing because the legislature couldn't find another $1 million to support the Board of Tax Appeals.
Even without the revenue shortfall Ohio is experiencing, the General Assembly should periodically review these tax expenditures. Before making major cuts in crucial services such as public education, slashing local aid and forcing layoffs of police and firefighters, and further shredding our safety net, tax exemptions, credits and deductions should be fair game.
Schiller is research director of Policy Matters Ohio, a nonprofit, nonpartisan research institute based in Cleveland.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Ann, there must be some mistake!

John Curry to Ann Hanning, March 16, 2011


Today, when I went to the mailbox, I found a letter from you, ORTA and the United of Omaha Life Insurance Company. In this package I was referred to as a "Dear Valued Member" and it says that I am an "ORTA member." Copies
of this correspondence are attached.

In your letter to me (in fact, I'm a non-ORTA member and never was one for good reason) you state that this insurance benefit "leaves a gift behind for loved ones." Those, Ann, are really nice thoughts and praiseworthy but there are some other even more praiseworthy actions that your organization can do but hasn't.

One such action is the public criticism of Senate Bill 5 which your organization refuses to do. Public educators won't be able to "leave (any) gift(s) behind for loved ones" if they have their collective bargaining taken away from them. When will ORTA get its head out of the sand,wake up long enough to smell the bacon and take a stand to enable actives protection from unfair dismissals due to SB 5 language?

(Click images TWICE to enlarge.)


Your next STRS board member?

From John Curry, March 16, 2011
Pray and maybe this won't happen!
Click image to enlarge.


Annemarie, a question for you......

From John Curry, March 16, 2011
I received the letter below from a friend re. the ORSC meeting. I am a retired educator and have an interest in the Ohio Retirement Study Council and have been looking at your website for many years now. Here is my question........why doesn't the ORSC make available the minutes of their meetings on their (otherwise) quite complete website? This week just happens to be "Sunshine Week" and a little more transparency from the ORSC would certainly be appreciated.
Thank you,
John Curry
Sent: 3/14/2011 3:03:05 P.M. Eastern Daylight Time
Subj: ORSC meeting notice
A meeting of the Ohio Retirement Study Council has been scheduled for this Wednesday, March 16, 2011. This is an organizational meeting and the agenda is attached.
Annemarie Erkman
Research Attorney
Ohio Retirement Study Council
88 E. Broad St., Suite 1175
Columbus, OH 43215


Legislators working 60 days per year....THAT'S EVEN OVERSTATING IT...

From John Curry, March 15, 2011
Molly's chart uses the figure of 60 days per year when our Reps. and Senators are actually "in session"....that is an OVERSTATEMENT! IT'S MORE LIKE HALF OF THAT!!
Heres what the "last"(128th) general assembley did re. their number of meetings IN A TWO YEAR PERIOD SO...DIVIDE BY 2 FOR A ONE YEAR WORK SCHEDULE! HOW ABOUT MEETING ONLY 52 TIMES DURING A 2 YEAR SPAN????????!!!!!!!!! That's less than 27 days per year in session....and they can retire with full bennies at 22 years AND THEY GIVE TEACHERS HELL FOR ONLY 183 DAYS "IN SESSION" PER YEAR????????? Try comparing 27 days vs. 183 days!!!!!!!!
"Only 58 bills became law during the 128th General Assembly, compared to an average of 247 bills during the previous 20 years. House lawmakers met only 52 times and Senate lawmakers only 58 times, compared to an average of about 83 times every session in previous years, the Columbus Dispatch reported Sunday."
Sen. Bill Seitz, a Cincinnati Republican, said it was the least productive two-year session he’s seen in his decade in Columbus.

Legislature sets record for inactivity
Filed by Associated Press December 27th, 2010 in News.

COLUMBUS — The just concluded two-year session of the Ohio Legislature, the first politically divided general assembly in 14 years, set a modern record for legislative inaction.
Only 58 bills became law during the 128th General Assembly, compared to an average of 247 bills during the previous 20 years. House lawmakers met only 52 times and Senate lawmakers only 58 times, compared to an average of about 83 times every session in previous years, the Columbus Dispatch reported Sunday.
Sen. Bill Seitz, a Cincinnati Republican, said it was the least productive two-year session he’s seen in his decade in Columbus.
One explanation may be the state’s first experience with divided chambers since term limits took effect 10 years ago and reduced lawmakers’ political experience.
Since the session opened in 2009, it was not uncommon to hear complaints that Republican leaders refused to engage in major policy discussions and that Democratic leaders didn’t understand how to negotiate.
When Democrats took control of the House for the first time in 2009, Speaker Armond Budish of Beachwood and Rep. Matthew Szollosi, the No.. 2 Democrat, had a combined legislative experience of four years.
Senate Republicans had far more experience, with one exception: They weren’t used to dealing with a House controlled by Democrats..
Term limits, which hold lawmakers to eight years in office, make it tough for lawmakers to get to know each other, said Szollosi of Oregon in northwest Ohio.
“Without any real foundation of relationships, there is very little trust, and it’s reflected in the rather poor relationship you saw between the Senate and the House this term,” he said.
Sen. Kevin Coughlin, a Cuyahoga Falls Republican, said Senate leadership told members that it was hard to communicate with House Democrats. But Coughlin said Republicans could also have done more.
“I would have preferred to be more proactive in defining a clear Senate/Republican agenda,” he said. “I think you do have to put out a program. We did not. We were reactionary.”

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Teachers and legislators: Molly Ganz does the math and exposes the politicians

From Molly Ganz, March 14, 2011
Politicians picked this fight with teachers and other public workers - the hypocrites! It's never been about the budget.
An Ohio Legislator earns 1.35 years of service credit per year (and for only about 60 days of work). This means that legislators earn a 30 year pension, at any age, after just 22.22 years of service. This is outrageous!
Ohio legislators receive FULL retirement pension for only 1,380 days in 22.22 years
But teachers' retirement pension is earned after the minimum 5,550 days in 30 years.
But legislators are saying that collective bargaining has killed the budget. Pants on fire!
Cumulative credit table:


Statewide strike by public employees?

From RH Jones, March 15, 2011
To all:
The editorial below was in the Beacon VOICE OF THE PEOPLE today, Tuesday, March 15, 2011, Page A8. The writer, Michael Grove, left out prison guards. Can you imagine what would happen if the prison guards, in particular and police/fire, sanitation, teachers and all public workers in solidarity with the AFL/CIO struck?
Mr. Grove stated that Gov. Kasich wants to take us back to the days of "halcyon" for Wall Street; but, in fact, if this dastardly SB 5 passes, it will bring us to the antonym of "halcyon" that is: turbulent. There most certainly will be turbulent times. It would be even worse, it would be disastrous for our beloved State of Ohio.
Please read the editorial just below.
RHJones, an OH STRS retired teacher annuitant
Statewide strike by public employees
Since Gov. Kasich wants to take the state of Ohio back to those halcyon days (at least in his Wall Street mind­set) before collective bargaining rights, perhaps it's time for state workers to adopt a tactic from the 1930s: the gen­eral strike.
What would happen if Kasich signed Senate Bill 5 into law, and the next day none of the 350,000 workers that it affects showed up for work?
He couldn't fire them all. Even if he . could arrest them all, there would be no police to do the arresting, or any­thing else.
No police, no fire departments, no EMS, no teachers, no highway mainte­nance, no sanitation, none of the state offices that provide a myriad of serv­ices, nothing but a bunch of Republican politicians in Columbus wondering why their attempt to break the back of the unions here m Ohio had just blown up in their faces.
And be assured that, as long as the unions held the line and nobody scabbed, the unions would win. They always have, and as long as they maintain solidarity, they always will.
Within 72 hours, the legislature would put its tail between its legs and repeal Senate Bill 5. Kasich would have no choice: he would have to sign it.
At that point he might begin to understand that in government, unlike an investment bank, power flows from the bottom up.
Michael Grove
Copley Township
Larry KehresMount Union Collge
Division III
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