Ohio Issue Endorsements

Welcome to the first annual/biennial Election Issue Endorsements episode of Wall of Cats. Thank you, you are too kind.

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Let start at the top:

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Issue #1: defeated before it ever had a chance.

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Issue #2: Ohio is in a bad place right now. The cycle of poverty in poor inner-city and suburban neighborhoods is sharpening the line between the social classes. If we expect our low-income workers to have a chance to succeed, we need to offer them a living wage. Issue #2 will attempt to do that.

In addition to tying the minimum wage to inflation, this legislation will provide a means for enforcement. By requiring employers to provide accurate employment and wage histories to their employees or their designates (not just anybody, but lawyers or union reps who have specific releases from each individual), companies will be less likely to try to cheat the system.
Rumors of ‘Identity Theft’ are a smokescreen. In fact, the only one we have to worry about thieves getting out confidential information from are Ken Blackwell and Greg Hartmann, two Republican candidates who have already made this information freely available on their respective websites. ÂOhio needs to raise the quality of life for those who are most in need. I vote YES Issue #2.

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Issue #3: There are several strong reasons to vote NO on Issue #3.
First, if gambling is such a panacea for the state, why limit it to only 9 locations, and nine specific business owners? Why not just legalize gambling altogether and let each county or municipality decide if they want the allow it?
Second, why should the state constitution give a substantial financial and tactical benefit to certain business owners at the exclusion of all others?
Third, How can you justify voters in Dayton and Ashland and Ironton deciding if Cleveland should have dedicated gambling facilities in it’s downtown?
Fourth, if this issue is truly about funding higher education, why does it give 6% of the proceeds to Ohio racetracks (presumably to make up for the decrease in track betting)? If you don’t want competition with the horse races, don’t put slot machines there. Why not put 95% into school funding? ÂThese reasons are enough to clearly put this in the NO category.

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Issue #4: This issue is a joke. It is sponsored by a group calling themselves “Smoke Less Ohio”, but the fact is, if this passes Ohioans will have to contend with more smoke . As a constitutional amendment, it overrides the limits on smoking imposed by and local, county, or state statute. It is a blank check for the tobacco industry disguised as a ‘reasonable’ anti-smoking effort. It’s ads are misleading and, in some cases, flat out lies. Under no circumstances should any reasonable Ohioan for for Issue #4.
That’s a NO.

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Issue #5: This law will ban smoking in most restaurants, bars, and most places of employment. Smoking is still allowed in your private residence, designated smoking areas in hotels, nursing facilities, private clubs, outdoor patios and private businesses. The fact is, smoking is bad for you, even second hand smoke. There is no such thing as a ‘no-smoke’ section, just a ‘no-smoking‘ section.
Smoke fills the air, and many restaurants, bars, and clubs have inadequate (or no) ventilation or filtering. Waiters, busboys/girls and bartenders are subjected to this every day with no recourse. If they were exposed to the same risks working at a chemical plant they would be required to wear gas masks and hazard suits.
This law does NOT outlaw smoking. It simply reasserts the rights of non-smokers not to be exposed to secondhand poison. ÂI will be voting YES on Issue #5.

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That’s all for now.

13 Replies to “Ohio Issue Endorsements”

  1. There ain’t no good guys, there ain’t no bad guys, there’s only you an me and we just disagree…er…sometimes.
    Don’t look now, but I think you’re a closet Democrat. 😉

    -tw

  2. Issue 1 – Don’t even know what it is, do they advertise at all? I had to look it up on the web and still don’t get it. 😉

    Issue 2 – I will be voting no. A minimum wage is not needed. A “living wage” argument doesn’t work for me. When you own a business you can decide what a living wage is for your workers. A high school kid doesn’t need to get $7 a hour to flip burgers. 90% of minimum wage earners are part time, or in high school. Very few people are full time workers at minimum wage, and if they are in that situation they need to get a new job. I had a job paying more than minimum wage when I was 15, with no skills.

    Issue 3 – still unsure about this one.

    Issue 4 – will probably vote yes. People who own business should choose the policy in their restaurant or business. If non-smokers don’t like the smoking, then don’t go there. If enough people leave they will change their policy. The market works, if given a chance.

    Issue 5 – I will vote no. Don’t kid yourself, this WILL outlaw smoking. In a private business or restaurant, non-smokers don’t have the RIGHT to be smoke free. If they want to be smoke free, they should do research and pick restaurants that are smoke free. Bartenders, waiters, etc can find new jobs if they don’t like the smoke in a smoking establishment. This is nothing but ninnies sticking their nose into how people live their lives. The life police. What will they go after fast food and other “unhealthy” things next?

    These are the same people that want to ban smoking in a private car if children are in the car. I got news for you, if someone is so stupid that smoke in the car with their kid, they are probably doing it all day and night at the house. Some people are idiots.

    If smoking is so bad, why not ban it totally. Ban smoking everywhere. That won’t happen because the government loves the taxes.

    Enjoy the site.

  3. No one in their right mind should for Yes on Issue 4… it far to reaching… a constitutional amendment! Vote no on Issue 5 if you feel that strongly… as for me, it’s No on 4 and Yes on 5.

    Yes, I hate smokers.

    Vote yes on 19 (is this the right one?) as well.. that raises the cigarette tax to support the arts!

  4. Scott – yup, on all but the smoking.
    BNB – Issue #1 was an up/down vote on a Workman’s comp reform referendum. Blackwell challenged the petition signatures in court and succeeded in having it removed from the ballot. The full text can be found here.

    I am not sure where you are getting your numbers regarding minimum wage. The Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that, for 2005, 1.5% of the hourly workforce was paid minimum wage ($5.15/hr) or below. 46.7% of these workers are age 25 and over, nearly evenly split between men and women. With 111,000 Ohioans working for $5.15 or less, this equates to nearly 52,000 workers age 25 or older who earn $10,712 or less per year working full-time (71.5% of all minimum wage employees work 35 hours/wk or more).
    The idea that employers determine a ‘living wage’ doesn’t pan out. A one-bedroom apartment in beautiful downtown East Cleveland will set you back around $450/mo. $200/mo in groceries for you and your three kids (lots of Raman). No phone, no cable. Bus fees, because there is no way you can afford a car and gas. You are taking home a whopping $715/mo (after tax), and you sometimes manage to squeeze by without borrowing money each month. Business owners are not hiring people out of the kindness of their hearts – they are trying to make money.Wages directly impact the bottom line. Why pay $10/hr if 100 other people are so desperate for a job that they are willing to work for $5.15?

    I’m actually very confused about your support of Issue #4 – you say that you believe the markets should decide where smoking is allowed, but you support a constitutional amendment that dictates where smoking is allowed. Why not vote NO on issue 4 and take the issue out of the state’s hands?

  5. Hi Mark! Thanks for stopping by.
    My only concern with issue 18 is that is makes us more dependent on excise taxes for support of the arts. If we truly want to reduce or (someday) eliminate smoking, we need to stop tying its tax revenue to projects that will be depressed when the dollars are gone.
    But that’s thinking long term. In the short term, cigarettes will continue to be sold, and maybe a little good can come from it. Just not as a permanent solution.

     

    -tw

  6. TW,

    Totally agree, long term it’s a bad idea… but if everyone were to wise up and quit smoking think how low the medical premiums and cost of care would drop! All that extra cash and we can all kick in a few buck to support the arts!

  7. TW-

    I know I am inconsistent on the smoking ban and normally I am extremely critical of anything that amends the Constitution. But free market doesn’t work when business owners are being forced to run their companies at the whims of others.

    In this case, I am fine with amending the constitution so every 4 years I don’t have to deal with the health/thought police telling me and others how to live our lives (I don’t smoke for what it’s worth).

    There is a bar by where I work where people smoke. If I go in there for a drink after work, me and my clothe reek of smoke. For that fact, I essentially never go there, and go to a place that makes people step outside, not by law, but by choice.

    Owners of establishments should set their own smoking policies. If you, or I, as a non-smoker don’t like the smoking policy for Bob Evans, for ex, then don’t go there. Just because you (not you specifically but you in general) like the food at a restaurant doesn’t give you the right to go there and eat smoke-free.

    I hate smoking and basically think you have to be stupid to still smoke in this day and age. But I am tired of health police trying to tell others how to live their lives. People make stupid choices and always will. Alcohol kills, smoking kills, gambling kills, drugs kill, fast food kills, but regardless of laws, people will still make bad choices. You can’t protect people from themselves.

    In terms of the minimum wage, I am not moved by your argument. To use your stats, my guess is that of the 46.7% of min. wage workers over the age of 25, a majority of those are either retirees or part-time (additional income) workers.

    I want to see the statistic on full time workers over the age of 25, making minimum wage. I bet this is a tiny tiny segment of the group. And to be frank, if you are over the age of 25 and making minimum wage as a full time employee, you made some serious poor life decisions along the way.

    Like I stated previously, I was able to find a job paying more than minimum wage when I was 15 with no job skills.

    In a perfect world, no one would suffer and everyone would make great money, but life isn’t perfect. There will always be people that make bad choices in life. If you raise the minimum wage for $7+/hr, people will get laid off, companies will raise prices, and it will have the opposite effect people expect for low skilled workers.

    For the sake of discussion, if $7/hr is good, then why not make minimum wage $10/hr, or $25/hr?

    Look at it from an employers’ perspective. I used to own my own company, and I toiled for years, scraping by, making no money, barely paying payroll, and now you (again, the general ‘you’) are going to tell me I need to pay my employees more? You have no idea what job skills they have, what they do for a living, how productive they are, or even the financial situation of the company.

    A minimum wage causes low skilled, low productivity workers to lose their jobs. A company that is barely getting by, won’t be able to pay the higher wages, so they will cut staff to offset the increase.

    I used to have employees that worked for me for min. wage. No matter how hard I tried to help them get training, learn new skills, and move up, they would constantly call in sick or be late or not show up at all. Then they seemed surprised that they have 6 different jobs in one year.

    Enjoy the rest of the weekend.

  8. For some reason the other day I only saw your post on Issue 4 and 5. I didn’t see your comments on the other issues. I take my previous statment back – I agree on issues 4 and 5, but Issue 2 I disagree with you on and I’m not sure where I stand on Issue 3. That one is going to require some additional research on my end today. Hmmmm….

  9. BNB,
    I truly appreciate your comments, and I do understand the reasoning behind your arguments. But, as an Aquatrian, I have to continue…
    If minimum wage is a bad idea, why not remove it completely? If people are desperate enough to work for $5.15/hr, why not offer them $.50/hr, and why should the government say they have to be paid anything more?
    Then answer is, this is America, where everybody is supposed to have the opportunity for a reasonable standard of living. You can only rely upon the good-will of business owners for so long, then you see that many will, by and large, line their own pockets before raising wages. The current minimum wage is, in inflation-adjusted dollars, the lowest is has been in over 50 years. You can find the full breakdown of minimum wage earners at the BLS website. This shows that 43.8% of minimum wage earners are 25-64 (39.6% 25-54), with 33.7% working 35+ hours/wk. Add an additional 10.7% for workers from 30-35 hours/wk to deprive them of full time benefits and you have a grand total of 44.4% working full-time.

    It would be a great world if we could just trust that business owners would always pay living wages and treat their workers fairly. And some do. But many don’t, and the gap is getting larger. We legislate safe working conditions, fair hiring requirements, and overtime because the abuses without the laws were horrendous. This is the same thing.

    The legislation will only affect businesses grossing more than $250k, and workers over 16 who are not making tips. For a single mother, working 32 hours/wk (all she can get) in a factory for $5.15/hr, this bill could give her a way out, the possibility to send her kids to college, or to school that isn’t submersed in drugs and guns. Poverty is a cycle, and it affect the culture as a whole. We are only as civilized as our most downtrodden. For those who don’t show up to work, or who don’t really want the jobs – fire them. This isn’t a jobs-for-everyone bill – it’s a fair wage bill for those who want to work.

  10. I appreciate your comments too TW, but the minimum wage was never meant to provide a “living wage”. It was supposed to provide a safety net to make sure people aren’t taken advantage of while they try to gain entry level skills. Anyone over the age of 18 making minimum wage has made seriously bad moves in life and should figure their sh*t out.

    I agree you can’t trust all business owners, but you also can’t trust liberal organizations like ACORN, that try to get people to support a minimum wage, who have never had to run a struggling business.

    Ironically enough, ACORN tried to fight against having to pay their employees minimum wage when California raised their minimum wage, saying they would have a hard time keeping employees if they had to pay increased wages! The same argument businesses make!!!!!!

  11. Business owners are accountable to their shareholders, creditors and customers, not their employees. Just look at the recent press on Wal-Mart and Giant Eagle. I personally know of one instance where an employee at Giant Eagle was fired for showing a print-out of the state statute (showing that the company was screwing people on breaks) to another employee.
    If a business owner can’t afford the extra $13/day, maybe they have made some seriously bad business moves and should figure their shit out (it is OK to swear here).
    Whether or not ACORN supports this issue is irrelevant (IMHO they should be held to the same ethical standards as anyone else, and they deserve the bad press they have gotten).
    I remember 18 as a turbulent age. Expecting that every 18-year-old is going to have a viable life plan, much less good judgement, is unrealistic. Handicapping a person for life because of bad life-choices made in their teens is hardly the ‘American Dream’.

    In school districts where less than 50% of the students get a diploma, in small towns devastated by the closing of the local foundry or mill or factory, in single parent households where the income earner never had a chance to get a college education or learn a trade. These are the people who are cornered into taking whatever employment is available, and businesses aren’t going to pay $6.85/hr if they can get people to work for $5.15.
    This isn’t a cure-all. There are no easy answers. Some businesses may suffer. But our goverment is by the people, for the people – why should it favor businesses over people?

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