Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Majority Whip's stance on lawmaker pay cuts perplexing

Wednesday afternoon it was reported by Ohio News Network's Jim Heath that 78th District Rep. John Adams, Republican House Majority Whip, expressed his opposition to a proposed 5% reduction in pay for members of the state's General Assembly. The language for the cut in pay reportedly is part of an amendment introduced for the Senate's budget proposal and would amount to a little more than a $3000 decrease in salary beginning with the 129th General Assembly.

What is curious about Rep. Adams' stance is the basis for his argument against this cut. According to Heath, the Sidney-based legislator opposes it on the grounds "county officials, teachers, firefighters make more."

Considering how much of a staunch proponent Adams has been of SB 5, this comment invites the proverbial raised eyebrow.

And considering Ohio's budget deficit presently is in the billions, we must acknowledge that this situation is much like the fight to reduce the federal deficit: to get this done there can be no sacred cows in spending.

In light of our state's enormous budget gap in addition to the fact Mr. Adams so actively championed SB 5, I cannot help but find his supporting argument for his stance (shall we say) lacking.

Now, the manner in which SB 5 rolls-back collective bargaining power will not lead to base pay cuts or reductions in insurance coverage for public employees as union representatives have asserted. But, public employees will necessarily have to make very real contract concessions on future pay increases, insurance contributions, and pension pay-ins -- all of which are perfectly reasonable.

What does not seem reasonable is the idea -- in light of the enormous deficit Ohio is facing -- that anyone involved in drafting the above legislative measures would be unwilling to make their own corresponding concessions.

Rep. Adams' position on this particular item is reflective of a growing, broader nationwide concern with our elected officials: that they would deem it appropriate to pass one set of laws for themselves and another set for everyone else.

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