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Thread: Extremism bad for business
06-23-11, 10:32 PM #1
Extremism bad for business
Written by Mark Nichols
Extremist governors like Ohio's John Kasich and Arizona's Jan Brewer are being met with resistance from unusual suspects-the very business community that these politicians portend to represent. Tea Party rage coming from an aging population and overheated political rhetoric have made legislation like Ohio Senate Bill 5 possible. Senate Bill 5 is the legislation that outlawed collective bargaining in Ohio. But just like kids who will eat candy until they puke unless under the supervision of adults, Kasich and others may have gone too far.
Not only have Kasich's approval numbers tanked badly since he was elected, he's now getting called out by the state's Chamber of Commerce, hardly a bastion of pro-labor and liberal sentiment. Much like the industry leaders from technology companies who are telling Arizona Governor Jan Brewer that her shocking cuts to education budgets make that state unattractive to firms and companies that need educated workers, Kasich is actually being warned by business leaders that his approach might be, well, bad for business.
The Ohio State Chamber of Commerce actually endorsed Kasich for governor. That was the first time the body had made such an endorsement. But the relationship between the Chamber and the governor is fracturing. This could be a bad sign for Kasich.
Observers say he needs a strong Chamber to help fight off the repeal initiative, which is expected to put SB5 in the hands of the voters this November. Unions have said they might spend as much as $20 million to strike down the law, and with no organized operation to defend the bill, opponents in Ohio expect the Chamber to pick up the cost.
In a letter sent to the Chamber by Turning Technologies' Michael Broderick, the CEO complained that the Chamber's stance on SB5 is a turn away from fighting for business and toward partisan politics that may in the end alienate customers.
"As I have stated to both of you privately prior to this decision, I believe the chamber recently took ill-advised steps which resulted in the perception that the chamber is a partisan Republican organization," Broderick wrote on March 31.
"In our strongly Democratic community, this perception clearly undermines the Chamber's all important broad support across the community."
Labor has seized on the discontent. As it gears up to take on the law in November, AFSCME has begun signing up businesses in its Proud Ohio Workers program, which calls on firms to put a sticker in their window and sign a letter signaling that they're "worker-friendly."
Most of all, the businesses represented by the Chamber want to avoid looking like they're underlings of the governor and his powerful anti-labor backers.
"The Chamber upset a lot of people when they broke with tradition and endorsed Gov. Kasich," one member told The Talking Points Memo in a recent interview.
"Their members are business people who want to make money and stay out of politics."
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