Why Ohio’s November 2011 Election Matters to Everyone
By Chris Littleton, Co-Founder, Ohio Liberty Council – a coalition of over 75 liberty minded grass roots organizations across Ohio.
This November 8th, Ohioans will cast a vote on two very important Issues – votes which many believe could set the tone for the nation’s entire political landscape in 2012.
Ohio Issue 3
Better known as the “Ohio Healthcare Freedom Amendment,” this vote is a chance for Ohioans to address Obama’s recently passed Federal Healthcare Bill mandate that you must purchase government defined health insurance or face fines and penalties if you do not comply.
The goal of this amendment to Ohio’s Constitution is: "To preserve the freedom of Ohioans to choose their health care and health care coverage." Full Text of Amendment Here
Ohio Issue 2
This is a union led referendum to overturn a bill (SB-5) that passed in early 2011 which reforms government employee contracting in Ohio. Unions led this effort because most government employees in Ohio are unionized.
Below is some background on both these issues and why Ohio tea party leaders urge a YES vote for both of them!
Ohio Issue 3 – addresses healthcare mandates by amending Ohio’s Constitution
The Ohio Healthcare Freedom Amendment’s origin is as interesting as its impact.
In response to passage of Obama’s of the federal healthcare bill, and more specifically the individual mandate - in May of 2010, Ohio citizens began gathering what ended up being over 500,000 signatures in one of the largest volunteer signature gathering efforts in American history to make sure Ohioans had a chance to preserve their healthcare freedom by amending the state Constitution in the November 2011 election.
What will a YES vote on Issue 3 accomplish?
1.It will provide Ohio citizens with the best legal case possible to challenge the constitutionality of the federal healthcare bill’s mandate when it comes before the US Supreme Court.
2.It will prevent a mandate based healthcare system, like Massachusetts or Vermont, from ever being created in Ohio.
Why Issue 3 matters
1. We believe that healthcare decisions should be in our hands - not the hands of politicians and bureaucrats.
2. We believe that mandates which compel behavior, through threat of penalties and fines, fundamentally limit personal freedom.
3. We believe the United States Constitution clearly states our rights to liberty and property cannot be removed without due process, and in this instance – the federal mandate to purchase government defined health insurance infringes on both of those rights.
4. We believe that Ohio must take a stand on freedom of choice in healthcare to protect both our state and nation moving forward.
Because the amendment to Ohio’s Bill of Rights was initiated by and will be voted on by its residents, passage will provide unique standing for Ohioans to have the Supreme Court hear the case on the basis of infringement of their rights as defined in both the U.S. and Ohio constitutions. To date – no one else has been able to challenge the federal mandate from this unique perspective.
What Issue 3 means to the nation
From a national and political perspective, it is particularly interesting because this vote will define the intensity of opposition to both President Obama and Democrat Senator Sherrod Brown ahead of the 2012 election, when both will be on the ballot. Of additional importance, this will be done in the nation’s biggest swing state – Ohio.
The Ohio Issue 3 vote can significantly alter the dynamics of the 2012 campaign because Obama and Brown will be forced to defend this most emotional of issues with Ohio voters - an issue toward which Americans have shown strong opposition in almost every poll. In fact, opposition to the mandate has increased in many polls gauging attitudes toward Obama’s health care act passed last year.
If Obama is forced to run a 2012 campaign on issues about a failing economy coupled with a narrative of government infringement on freedom of choice in health care - the most personal of all decisions for most people - he will be in real trouble. He can’t afford to lose this challenge to his agenda, and, at this moment, that appears to be likely.
Public Policy Polling summarized the results of its recent poll this way: “By a 55-24 margin, voters say if the election was today that they would support Issue 3, which is basically meant to counteract Barack Obama’s health care plan. Republicans unsurprisingly support it by a 70-12 margin and so do independents, 58-21. More striking is that Democrats say right now that they’d vote for it 41-35.”
Of particular interest, 37 percent of the poll’s respondents supporting the amendment had voted for Obama in 2008, and 40 percent supporting the amendment identify themselves as liberal.
Freedom of choice in health care decisions has united liberals and conservatives in opposition to Obama.
Is anyone shocked that Americans believe that government involvement in their health care decisions is bad? Is anyone surprised that people choose freedom over compulsion as a way of life? Is anyone shocked that people believe government should have no power to make them purchase a commercial product just because they are alive?
This horrible infringement on personal freedom is something on which almost all Americans agree. Mr. Obama finally has accomplished what he set out to achieve: a post-partisan, post-racial America united in common cause. But, in this case, that common cause has become opposition to him and his policies.
For these reasons and many more, we encourage all Ohioans to vote YES on Issue 3!
You can learn more or support the Healthcare Freedom Amendment campaign HERE!
Ohio Issue 2 – addresses government employment contracts
Why is reform of government employee contracting needed?
Once considered a “grand bargain,” government employees took less pay in exchange for better benefits. But as time has progressed – both pay and benefits for government employees has far outpaced that of the private sector in Ohio.
Enter our cruel friend mathematics. Math doesn’t care what we feel or what is fair. Math only knows truth. And the truth is – our state is broke. Many of our cities and counties are broke, and everyone is well aware our nation is broke.
Ohio politicians, mostly Republicans over the last 20 years I might add, have been pigs at the troth. Building government, growing government, expanding size, scope and influence into every imaginable part of life. But during this 20 years when Ohio should have “boomed,” if you compare us to the remainder of the US – we didn’t boom. That is, unless you consider the growth of government. Ohio added 1 government job for every 1.65 private sector jobs.
Maybe this is even easier to understand – a report from the Buckeye Institute showed that, from 2000 to today, Ohio’s private sector has lost a net of 612,700 jobs. That means there are over 600,000 fewer workers whose activities generated tax revenues to fund government.
This situation is clearly unsustainable, yet these are the current realties
- Wages: state employees in Ohio currently make 28% more than their private sector counterparts.
- Benefits: private sector Ohioans pay close to 30% of their own healthcare premiums while many government employee union contracts have them paying closer to just 10% of their premiums.
- Retirement: In the private sector, average employee match of 401K contributions is between 4%-6%. And remember, 401K’s are not a pension or defined benefit plan like all government employees. Apart from the fact that government employees don’t pay social security taxes, many weren’t even paying their own share into their pension plans. In a practice called “pension pickup,” some government employees share of their pension contributions were being picked up by the taxpayers.
- Job security: As established above, the private sector was decimated in Ohio, but the government employees continued with the same pattern of growth, much of which included things like – guaranteed raises, job security based on seniority – not merit, and much more.
To give you an idea of how dangerous this situation remains, just look at funding for Ohio schools. In just 4 years, 96% of current school funding will be spent on staff compensation leaving Ohio with a deficit in school funding of over $7.65 billion.
The question isn’t, will Ohio go broke – it is when will Ohio go broke? Unfortunately – collective bargaining made possible through government unions has made the necessary reforms almost impossible until now.
Passage of the bill (SB-5) addressed these problems and gave local governing bodies the tools they needed to fix their respective government employment contracts.
What are the some of the primary components of the bill?
This is clearly a common sense approach to government that revolves around fiscal responsibility – something every person in Ohio understands. Yet, the unions want the bill overturned because they do not want change the status quo.
What they don’t seem to acknowledge is that we are out of time, and have very few options. Reforming these government employee contracts is definitely a necessary step. If we do not make the adjustments now, we are going to see catastrophic layoffs or significant tax increases. There are no other choices.
Unions are fighting very hard on this issue with national money pouring into Ohio as you can see HERE. If Ohio can’t weather this storm, it will be far more difficult to move forward on the common sense reforms which many states need to their government employee contracting system.
We must fight to keep this bill (SB-5) in place, and that is why we support a vote of YES on Issue 2!
You can learn more or support the Yes on Issue 2 campaign HERE!
I am very proud to say that I worked on gathering signatures for the petition that eventually became Issue 3 until I had to move to another state. At the same time there was a petition to eliminate the Ohio Estate Tax. As I understand it the latter initiative has been passed into law. It was begun by two men, both of them smart and energetic but otherwise ordinary citizens which is an object lesson in itself.
I wanted to underscore what Chris said about "one of the largest volunteer signature gathering efforts in American history". The operative word there is "volunteer". It turns out that most such efforts have to pay people to gather signatures and do all the screening and organizing work to prepare them for presentation to the Sec'y of State. That we didn't is testimony to the awakening of patriotic Americans. That both petitions succeeded is testimony to the power that we the people hold when a few good leaders stand up and point the way.
Juggling two clipboards each containing several petitions for separate counties in the hot summer sun was some of the hardest work I've ever done but it didn't seem hard at the time - it just seemed very satisfying. The vote is Nov. 8 - I'm rooting for you, Ohio!
My husband and me were was some of those volunteers who helped in gathering those petitions. It felt good, knowing that we were doing something good for our State. We also gathered many petitions at our County Fair. It was worth being out there in that hot weather getting those petitions.
And we are stilll working the phones and the get-out-the-vote part of our program. It is amazing just how many do not want obamacare. I have told Chris and many others that I wish that we had taken interest in our government more than just voting long before now. It took all this happening for it to really sink in.
I will be thinking about you as we go to the polls Tuesday. And thank you for rooting for us in Ohio!
Re: Issue 3
"We believe that healthcare decisions should be in our hands - not the hands of politicians and bureaucrats."
How does this square with pro-life? It feels like this statement is interchangeable with arguments that support a woman's "right to choose."
Dr David Soboto is a charictor assian . Every one knows at least one person that is a boss or movie star or as in this case a politition that has been wrongly accused of rape or some other clame. When a young girl was cought makeing out when I was a youth it was common case of saveing face for her to scream rape. After she has screamed rape for more than ten men even the judge got suspisious. But most doctors or lawyers that had that happen to them ,,commonly paid them off. Things hasn't changed just the method has.
And by the way who wants a MUCK RAKER to chose your PRESIDENT? The NEWS PEOPLE USE TO BE CALLED MUCK RAKERS and their was a damn good reason for it.
As an Ohioan, thank you for this post!
And may I ask that everyone continue praying for our country and for OH--that the eyes, ears, minds, hearts/souls of the people of Ohio and America are open to and accepting of the truth and that these very important issues will prevail so that we can continue getting our state and our country back to our founding principles and to root out the evil and corruption that has overtaken our govt/state/country.
Ohio's state motto, "With God All Things Are Possible", as well as our country's "In God We Trust" are more pertinent now then they have ever been.
God Bless you all and God Help our Country now and always! Thank you for your support!