For Immediate Release: September 28, 2011
Contact: Dale Butland 614-783-5833
Issue 2: Pay, Perks And Hypocrisy
Kasich, Legislators Don’t Practice What They Preach
Columbus – Innovation Ohio, a progressive think tank headquartered in Columbus, today charged Gov. John Kasich and legislators who voted for Senate Bill 5 (Issue 2 on the November ballot) with “gross hypocrisy.” IO says that the Governor and his allies have not only exempted themselves from many of the sacrifices they are demanding of other public employees, but also enjoy salaries, perks and privileges that far exceed those available to regular working Ohioans.
Among the highlights contained in the materials released by IO are:
Gov. Kasich, whose annual salary is $148,165 (over $10,000 more than his predecessor received), is exempt from the “performance pay” provisions of SB 5, and is still eligible to receive automatic annual 3% “step increases” that SB 5 would terminate for other public workers;
Gov. Kasich, while repeatedly calling for cuts in the pay and benefits of state and local government workers, pays his own senior staff an average salary of over $110,000. And he has repeatedly fudged the numbers on what he pays all workers in his office. In April, he told the General Assembly that the Governor’s Office payroll was just over $4.8 million. But as of May 7, the actual figure was just over $5.4 million —12% more than what the Governor claimed;
Gov. Kasich’s 27 Cabinet members earn an average base pay of more than $131, 000 and at least 22 of them each receive an additional $6,600 per year in “car allowances.” At least 7 Cabinet members are also ‘double dippers” who receive state pensions in addition to their government salaries;
All Members of the Ohio General Assembly earn a base salary of $60,584 for working a part-time job (the average annual salary for all Ohio workers is just over $40,000). But among the 70 Representatives and Senators who voted for SB 5, just 8 earn that “minimum.” The other 62 receive “leadership bonuses” ranging from nearly $34,000 per year to $5,000 annually, with the average bonus being over $8,600. Sen. Bill Seitz of Cincinnati —the only current member of the Senate who does not receive a bonus and was in the Senate when the SB 5 vote took place —had his bonus taken away when he refused to support the legislation;
Though fiercely critical of “double dipping” by other public workers, 12 House and Senate members who support SB 5 are themselves double-dippers (one is a triple-dipper), and collect legislative salaries in addition to state pensions. Perhaps the biggest single double-dipper in Ohio is House Speaker Bill Batchelder, who receives over $100,000 in a PERS pension, on top of his $94,500 annual legislative salary;
Unlike regular Ohioans, who are prohibited by law from claiming “mileage reimbursements” for car travel to and from their principal places of work, Ohio House and Senate members voting for SB 5 collect an average of $3,361 per year for driving to the State House to do their jobs;
Under SB 5, paid sick leave and vacation days would be reduced for average public workers. But General Assembly members enjoy unlimited paid leave for any reason whatsoever, subject only to the “approval” of the House and Senate leadership, whose approval is rarely, if ever, denied;
Other perks for legislators abound, including thousands of dollars worth of free tickets to athletic events like football, basketball and baseball games, free meals, and other gifts.
Said IO Communications Director Dale Butland:
“Politicians who support SB 5 and Issue 2 obviously do not embarrass easily. Their shamelessness is truly breathtaking. They’re all for pay and benefit cuts, as long as those cuts apply to police, firefighters, teachers, and not to themselves. They’re against double-dipping,unless they’re the double dippers. They think paid leave and sick days should be strictly limited, as long as they can miss work whenever they wish and still get paid. In short, Gov. Kasich and his legislative allies deeply believe in sacrifice, as long as they and their rich campaign contributors aren’t doing the sacrificing. There’s a word for politicians who propose one set of rules for themselves and a different one for everyone else. It’s spelled “hypocrisy” with a capital “H.”