Governor Kasich ignored a crowd of upset union supporters to meet with more than 200 supporters of Issue 2 inside a West Toledo banquet room with Mayor Mike Bell Thursday night.
Mr. Kasich told loyalists that Issue 2, if it passes, will make public employees pay toward their health care and pensions, something he said many do not currently do.
“Don’t you think that a public employee should pay at least 15 percent of their health care? How can anybody say ‘I should pay zero?’” he told the crowd at Omni Midwest banquet hall at 2567 Bancroft St. and was cheered on. He told listeners to remember the numbers 10 and 15 — 10 percent for the contribution public employees will have to make to their pensions and 15 percent for the minimum contribution to their health care if the law passes.
Mr. Kasich predicted that reducing the cost of running government in Ohio and lowering taxes will lead to employers wanting to move to the state. He called Mayor Bell “a remarkable man” for speaking up in support of Issue 2.
The governor said he was not bothered by a recent poll by Quinnipiac University showing that likely voters oppose Issue 2 by a margin of 51 to 38 percent, with 11 percent undecided.
“I’ve been all over the state and will continue to go. First of all, a lot of Ohioans haven’t paid any attention to this and secondly there’s been a lot of misinformation. I always like telling people what the facts are and let them decide,” Mr. Kasich said.
Mayor Bell said the city still faces a deficit and he may have to lay off city workers.
“This issue here keeps people employed. That’s why I’m so aggressive about it. That’s why I don’t mind the hits. I believe that with this Issue 2 if the ‘yes’ vote goes through like I believe it will, I will be able to save employees’ jobs here,” the mayor said.
The governor was ushered in the back door while about 50 protestors outside the main entrance under umbrellas and rain slickers, waved signs, chanted criticism of Issue 2, and booed ticketed guests as they showed up.
One chant was “hey ho, hey ho, Mike Bell has got to go.”
Protestor Shaun Enright, a union electrician who is running for Toledo City Council, disagreed with Mayor Bell that higher taxes and layoffs are the only alternatives in a down economy.
“It’s a fear tactic. They’re putting middle class against middle class,” Mr. Enright said. He said taking away the wages and benefits that public employee unions have earned is “a race to the bottom.”
The planned location changed twice during the day. It was supposed to be held at Packo’s at the Park in the Warehouse District, and was then moved to Tony Packo’s Cafe in east Toledo to handle a larger-than-planned crowd. Lucas County Republican Chairman Jon Stainbrook said the event was moved to the Omni for space reasons.
Also on stage with the governor and Mr. Kasich was Republican state Senator Mark Wagoner of Ottawa Hills.
Issue 2 on the Nov. 8 ballot will decide whether the new Ohio collective bargaining law takes effect. Opponents raised enough signatures to have the GOP-backed legislation put on the ballot.
The measure bans strikes and restricts the issues that public employees can bargain over