March 14, 2010


Ohio job climate even worse than we thought (MATT A. MAYER, 3/14/10, Toledo Blade)

One reason for Ohio's weak job market is its pro-union policies. The 28 states that force workers to join a union had average increases in jobs from 1990 until now of 16 percent, or less than 1 percent per year. The 22 states that protect a worker's economic freedom had average increases in jobs of 36 percent, more than twice the rate of pro-union states.

The 15 states with the worst job growth over the past two decades are pro-union states, including Ohio. By contrast, 10 of the 15 states with the strongest and most sustainable job growth are right-to-work states. Since 1999, 20 companies have moved from Ohio to Georgia - three in the past eight months. Ohio just can't compete.

As the private sector has shrunk since 1990, government employment in Ohio has grown by 9.4 percent, to 789,100 workers. Government budgets also accelerated at a pace far in excess of inflation, driven in part by gold-plated compensation packages for government employees.

In 2008, federal workers made significantly more than their private-sector counterparts in all but one of Ohio's 88 counties. State workers made much more than their private-sector neighbors in 85 counties.

Local government workers made more than their private-sector neighbors in 57 counties. Those government workers also have better and cheaper health care, enjoy job security, and can retire early on pensions that are disconnected from economic reality.

As a stunning point of reference: In 2003, 288 state workers made more than $100,000. They grossed $36.2 million and would require an aggregate pension payout of more than $430 million. Just five years later, the number of state workers making more than $100,000 increased by 514 percent, to 1,767. Their aggregate gross pay skyrocketed to more than $205 million. And the pension pay for just these workers would explode to $2.4 billion.

Such government costs make Ohio's overall tax burden among the most oppressive in America. Ohio's state and local tax burden is seventh highest in the United States - a significant jump from its No. 29 ranking in 1990. Our business-tax climate is the 47th worst. Our economic outlook is ranked 45th.

Posted by Orrin Judd at March 14, 2010 7:15 PM
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