Lucente’s fact challeged editorial 9/20/11
I just sent this to the Lima News, we'll see if they print it. Thomas Lucente in his editorial on Sunday accused We Are Ohio of lying. His big point was that the legislators had specifically excluded themselves and their staff from SB5 right there in the law therefore handing out big raises wasn’t exploiting a “loophole” as We Are Ohio had claimed. Someone at the paper should explain to the dear boy that if a loophole isn’t in the law, then it isn’t a loophole—it’s a crime. He then goes on to claim that firefighters, police, and nurses don’t make sacrifices. In what universe does Lucente live? In purely monetary terms they are getting three and one-half percent lower total compensation because they are not working in the private sector and that’s without mentioning everything else they do. Dr. Jeffrey Keefe of Rutgers University for the Economic Policy Institute matched education and training, experience, and hours of work in public vs. private employment. He found that salary was consistently considerably lower for comparable public employees however they had consistently better health insurance and retirement benefits. However when he added the costs of the benefits to get the total compensation, public employees were still getting three and one half percent less in total compensation than comparable private employees. Those health care and retirement provisions are Lucente’s next point (all of which appear to come directly from the pro Issue Two group Building a Better Ohio.) He says SB5 simply asks state workers to contribute 15% to their health insurance and 10% to their retirement. What he fails to realize is that all or most state workers already do that. It is local public workers that are supposed to provide the big savings here. However when the Columbus Dispatch studied local governments in central Ohio they found that 81% of them saved zero to less than 1% of their budget. As for safety issues, yes there was finally an amendment that permitted personal safety equipment to be bargained. What is not included is training and staffing. Anyone think those issues are not part of safety issues?