Letter to the Editor
This coming general election, the voters will have the opportunity to do something about the high cost of government. Voting “yes” for Issue 2 is a vote for some much-needed changes to address out-of-control government spending. And the City of Galion should be the poster child for why citizens should vote “yes” on Issue 2.
As Inquirer readers know, Galion has been in Fiscal Emergency since 2004, and our citizens are facing tough economic times. Some of our citizens have lost their jobs and others have taken pay cuts; and we have a large number of senior citizens on Social Security retirement who have not had any cost-of-living raises for two years. Our families and businesses are struggling.
Yet, our local public sector unions continue to demand wage increases and unreasonable benefits, and those costs ultimately get passed back to everyone, in the form of higher fees, higher utility rates, and higher taxes. Issue 2 would make changes that would result in savings for local governments, including the City of Galion. For example, Issue 2 would require government employees to pay their share of their retirement, just like private sector employees have to pay their share of their social security retirement.
For the City of Galion, the most unreasonable employee benefit has been the “Cadillac” health insurance plan that the public sector unions have required the City to provide, which now costs the City $2,094 per month ($ 25,128 per year) for family coverage for one employee and their family. (This $25,128 cost is $ 10,000 more than the national average of $15,073.) And employees only pay 2 percent of the total health insurance cost or just $ 41.86 per month. Unfortunately, Galion is passing these outrageous health insurance costs back to its citizens, many of whom cannot afford health insurance for themselves and their families. Issue 2 would give government employers the ability to obtain competitive health insurance, and Issue 2 would require that government employees pay at least 15 percent of the cost of their health insurance. As healthcare costs and insurance costs continue to rise, Issue 2 brings some commonsense changes that will save significant tax dollars.
At this point, the opposition to Issue 2 is using scare tactics and saying that Issue 2 means less firefighters and less police officers. But don’t be fooled. The real issue is that our firefighters and police officers need to pay their fair share of the cost of their pensions and the cost of their health insurance. Very simply, if that happens, local governments will save money and have the financial ability to hire more firefighters and police officers, not less.
Lastly, the opposition to Issue 2 has said that Issue 2 is an assault on the middle class. But again, don’t be fooled. The real assault on the middle class is the endless increases in taxes, fees, and utility rates that have to be passed on to the citizens in order to pay for these excessive employee costs.
So don’t be fooled. Excessive government spending ultimately gets passed back to everyone, in the form of higher fees, higher utility rates, and higher taxes. This election, voters can finally do something about this out-of-control government spending by voting “yes” on Issue 2.
E. Roberta Wade
4th Ward City Council Member, City of Galion