Wow. This is quite a climbdown for Ohio Gov. John Kasich, as reported by the Columbus Dispatch:
Gov. John Kasich pleaded with organized labor leaders today to compromise on Senate Bill 5 and cancel a fall referendum on the controversial bill that peels back public employee collective bargaining rights.
Kasich said avoiding a fight over state Issue 2 is in “best interest of everyone, including public employee unions.” He asked the unions to “set aside political agendas and past offenses.”
But We Are Ohio, the coalition that is leading the effort to overturn the collective bargaining law, reacted negatively almost immediately.
“They can repeal the entire bill or join us in voting no on Nov. 8,” said spokeswoman Melissa Fazekas….
Senate Democratic leader Capri Cafaro of Hubbard said in a statement:
“The time to negotiate was during the legislative process, not 197 days after Senate Bill 5 was first introduced in the Ohio Senate. Unfortunately, it has taken too long for the governor and GOP leaders to acknowledge they overreached.”
As the Cleveland Plain-Dealer notes, a record 1.3 million signatures were collected to put the repeal question on the ballot, several times the number legally required.
… The hard-charging Kasich, who prides himself on never wilting to outside pressures, especially from media, said he yielded this time to editorials in The Columbus Dispatch and The Plain Dealer that called for the two sides to sit down and talk.
… Kasich says his timing has nothing to do with efforts to repeal the law, or with a recent Quinnipiac poll that shows the measure being defeated by a double-digit margin.
“This is not an effort that is being put forward because we fear we’re going to lose,” Kasich said.
The Quinnipiac poll, released in late July, showed voters favoring a repeal of SB5, 56-to-32-percent — a 24 point margin.
Yeah. It has nothing to do with a fear of losing. Nothing at all.
I see where Kasich is also continuing to press forward with plans to privatize the Ohio Turnpike, a proposal that calls for a 50-year lease of the facility to private companies in return for an estimated $3 billion. The deal could have implications for a proposal here in Georgia to build privately operated toll lanes along I-75 and I-575.
The Ohio project is inspired by the example of neighboring Indiana. But as the Cleveland Plain Dealer notes:
In 2006 Indiana struck a $3.8 billion, 75-year lease for its 151-mile toll road with a foreign consortium. The money has helped fund a 10-year infrastructure project across the Hoosier State. Kasich looks to Indiana as an example to emulate.
But tolls along the Indiana turnpike have more than doubled in just five years, the upkeep of the toll road and its rest stops has been criticized, and the company that leased the turnpike is now in danger of defaulting on the loans used to acquire the Indiana Toll Road, according to the Financial Times.
– Jay Bookman