If you pay tax money to a public worker, especially firefighters, you are sending some of your money to the socialist Obama and his intellectual superior, Joe Biden, because the communist oriented International Association of Firefighters Union supports those kinds of politicians. Union employees who get their lush salaries from tax payers often convert their money into political power that often works against the public who may resent having their money spent on politicians that do not reflect their politics. Look at the latest IAFF union ad against Mitt Romney then read below how much money these same employees make and what kind of political tricks they are using to secure those wages into the future. Then tell me that they are really concerned as they report in this video below that “they care about their neighbors.” What they really mean is that they are actually well paid mercenaries—there’s a big difference.
The trouble with public workers like teachers, firefighters and police are that we have allowed radicalism from the union ranks to prevent the management of those labor costs. It is now considered taboo to even discuss intelligently the financial value of these employees because they involve the safety and well-being of our youth and our elderly with protective services. However, some have challenged these notions and made political ground that is snow balling the other way. The great weakness of the labor union argument against public sector workers is the justification for their enormous salaries which have greatly outpaced private sector incomes by more than double in some cases. Now that voters realize this discrepancy the tide is changing. Levies have not passed for schools, and recently police and fire levies have began to fail—halting the insane progress of public sector wages skyrocketing without end.
Recognizing the public push-back against public sector workers, but still wishing to keep political peace with the unions, the City Council members of Mason, Ohio have proposed a ballot initiative called Issue 7 which creates a new method of funding for safety, fire, and EMS services. The great concern for these council members is that their fire department will be coming off a 5-year property tax that expires in 2013. The Mason School System is also considering a levy in 2013 leaving politicians very concerned that the tax increases will not be passed for both issues, because there is great risk that neither will be passed. Many political insiders are praying to the presidential gods that Mitt Romney will be elected so the economy will stabilize and voters will once again have extra money to throw at altruistic causes. Others in the unions hope that Obama will retain power and continue to loot from the rich so that he will give to the middle-class—the labor unions of the proletariat. But there is big trouble on the horizon in Mason that the City Council wishes to avoid with Issue 7.
Issue 7 is a potential tax on every property owner in Mason. The current effective millage rate for Mason is 4.4 mils under the current tax levy. A new levy, voted in at 5.0 Mils, gives council the right to charge the property owners of Mason a full 5.0 Mils – which would be a tax increase. But, they can shift that burden over to the non-property non-voting individuals of the Mason Community with an Income Tax levy, and reduce the property tax millage based on any difference – or they could max out both the new income tax and the property tax. Basically, should this pass, they can do either, or both – without your vote. Issue 7 is a permanent levy that allows council to get the money they need with a vote instead of having to go back to voters during contentious future elections that are on the horizon.
This is a problem because it does not address the outrageous wages that the public sector workers in the loosely defined safety professions charge for their services. The way that Issue 7 is written safety could mean anything from additional police services to raises for firefighters—which on the surface seems practical, even attractive, until the reality of the situation is examined. Firefighter wages in Mason from 2000 to 2009 (most recent comparatives) rose 29.20% – a more than 10% rise above inflation and more than 21% greater increase than Ohio Median Household Incomes. The Business Owners, Employees, and Property Owners footing the bill for these services, in many cases have lost jobs and/or have not seen a pay increase for years. The average working wage in Warren County in 2011 was $791 per week, or $41,132.00 per year (United Sates Dept. of Labor) – and that has slipped even farther recently: Median Income in Ohio hits 27-year lows – http://www.dispatch.com/content/stories/local/2011/09/14/median-income-in-ohio-hits-27-year-low.html
In Mason a fire department with an annual budget of close to $6 million dollars of which over 83% goes to wages and benefits, includes:
Fire Chief – Annual Compensation Package – $171,328.00
Deputy Fire Chiefs (5) – Annual Compensation Package- $114,000.00
Fire Lieutenants (6) – Annual Compensation Package – $103,000.00
Firefighter/Paramedic (22) Annual Compensation Package – $91,000.00
Assorted part-time and full-time positions at a cost of approx. $930,000
The trouble with Issue 7 is that it avoids dealing with the decision of continuing the practice of paying safety employees the kind of wages seen above, and deciding whether or not 5 Deputy Chiefs are even needed at a cost of over $500,000. Instead, Issue 7 allows city council to increase taxes to make the problem go away without having to go to the voters for a fire levy that competes with a school levy for voter approval. The wording of the Proposed Charter Amendment specifically states “for Safety, Fire, and EMS” – leaving an opening for spending under the “Safety” language that could mean anything. Again, an issue that could cause future problems should the governing bodies determine safety to mean stop signs, traffic signals, police needs, water & sewer, etc.
To learn more about all the reasons voters in Mason should vote against Issue 7 the website http://www.voteno7.com/ will do the job. But for those outside of Mason who are facing similar issues, it is important to watch closely the tricks of your public officials who are looking for a way out of the corner they have painted themselves in to. They have allowed for too many years unionized public workers to give themselves pay increases at the expense of tax payers not only for a fair wage, but an excessively wealthy wage that far outpaces reality. I have no doubt in my mind that there is a value of having teachers care for children all though I’d argue that they are teaching them the wrong things, and it is nice to have paramedics and police to help keep things socially in check. But they are not worth twice as much as the average employee who is paying their wages. Mason is a wealthy area to live and their average resident wage is $41,132.00. Deputy Fire Chiefs and Fire Lieutenants are not worth six figure incomes. It may be possible to have one or two of those positions filled but not 5 to 6 in a single community. These are the problems caused by collective bargaining agreements that inflate the wage levels of public workers to insane levels, and must be pulled back into reality, and such things will never happen if tax payers throw money at those positions without doing the hard act of managing the costs with a NO vote.
Dear reader, as you head to the voting booth on November 6th keep these things in mind. Voting to not take responsibility for the outrageous costs of public employees will not solve the problem and that is what proposals like Issue 7 try to do. They are attempting to sneak a tax increase under the door by taking away a contentious levy in the future by voting for giving the ability to city council today. And such a trick must not be allowed to be played on the taxpayers. And they will be played until voters stop allowing them to happen with across the board NO votes.
(Oh–and for those union workers who think they are flag waving patriots fighting for America learn your history. If you are in a union, you support communism, (progressive politics) especially if it is attached to the AFL-CIO. CLICK HERE for the history you didn’t know, and chose to ignore because your pay was so enticing.)
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