Broken Ohio

posted by Jeff | Tuesday, November 8, 2011, 9:58 AM | comments: 0

If there's one thing about Ohio that truly annoys the shit out of me, it would be its inability to function. The state government has been a joke for as long as I can remember, and moving to Washington only reinforced this. That's not to say that Washington was free of problems, since it had the same budget issues that anyone else did, but at least it did the work it was charged with.

Ohio has failed its constituents for as long as I can remember, though quite frankly it's the government that its voters deserve. This is the state, after all, that actually voted casinos into the state constitution, including the addresses where they had to be built. Seriously. Don't even get me started on the gay marriage ban.

The hot issue this year is Issue 2, which if it passes, would eliminate the ability of unions for public workers to participate in collective bargaining. While the unions are positioning this as a slight against public safety workers, the underlying issue is that state and local governments have shrinking budgets because of unemployment and the poor economy, and they simply can't afford to pay salaries that out-pace the public sector and the economic realities of supply and demand.

I have a great deal of respect for public employees, as I used to be one. Many are underpaid. That said, there are also a great many people lining up to try and get some of those jobs, so the pay levels should reflect that. More to the point, tax payers are ultimately the employers, and if they are paying less taxes, there's less money to pay. That's just the way it is.

At the local level, we have a property tax intended to create a road maintenance fund. It would cost me about $150 a year, given the value of my house. The roads are in awful condition. I can't see how any rational person would not vote for this, but people are pretty cheap. Our particular city operates pretty lean overall, with an income tax rate of 1.35%, temporarily raised to 1.85% until 2013, subject to renewal. The extra .5% is dedicated mostly to safety salaries.


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