As NRO readers are aware, Ohio joined the critical debate surrounding public sector compensation last year by passing significant reform. Those hoping to finally address the out-of-control nature of the size and scope of state and local government, however, were cruelly disappointed to see massive spending by labor unions and their allies turn the debate into an emotional TV ad campaign about public safety.
In the aftermath of this heated debate, and the overwhelming loss of Issue 2 this past November, there are many who feel this is not a good time to be reengaging the public and policy makers on labor law reform.
We disagree. In fact, in light of the passage of a right-to-work law in Indiana this is not a conversation states like Ohio can avoid. The debate has been ignited in Michigan, Minnesota, and a number of other states seeking to break out of the economic stagnation so many have experienced.
Ohio simply can’t afford to take large-scale reform off the table, particularly reforms that have the potential to mean significant economic growth and opportunity for its citizens. Ohio must stop the outflow of jobs and people to the south and west. Right-to-work is an integral part of this debate.
Which is why the Buckeye Institute for Public Policy Solutions — Ohio’s lone free market think tank — is releasing Ohio Right-to-Work: How the Economic Freedom of Workers Enhances Prosperity — an informative and debate changing report on the high cost of denying workplace freedom.
The reality is that Ohio has been falling farther and farther behind economically for decades. And by not embracing right-to-work we have seen jobs and companies move south and west depleting our human and financial resources. Here are some startling statistics from the report released today:
In a time of budget stringency, governments often cannot afford to use financial resources to impact growth, but they can change the legal environment in which labor, the most important factor of production, operates.
It seems to us the time has come for Ohio to move towards positive consideration of a right-to-work law.
And we intend to start that debate — a debate based on the actual history of this issue and the sobering economic realities that underlie it, not on myths and misinformation.
The future of our communities — our children and grandchildren — depends on it.
Kevin Holtsberry is the president of the Buckeye Institute for Public Policy Solutions in Columbus, Ohio.