Reality Check: Are public employees already paying for healthcare and pensions?

(FOX19) - Too many TV ads.  A lot of talking points.  But very few facts.  So goes the fight over Ohio's Issue 2.

Here is the email I received from Tony.

"I just listened to Kathy Harrell (union rep for Cincinnati police) talking about Issue 2. She said that public employees are "paying in to their retirement, and health care". This would be a good subject for a Reality Check. Are they paying in?  In what manner?... this is very black and white, yes or no."- Tony

I would disagree with Tony on one issue.  Issue 2 is a statewide issue.  So when we talk about public employees paying in to the system, it is not as black and white as you might think.

Lets start with Ohio state workers.  It is true they already contribute 15% of their healthcare and 10% to their pension costs.

But the rules are different for local workers because local police unions, local firefighters, and local teachers all negotiate their own deals.

So lets be hyper specific.  I did some digging and found what local police, firefighters and some teachers are paying in.

Issue 2 requires that all public employees make the same contributions as state workers.  15% to healthcare and 10% to pension costs.

Lets take the Cincinnati police.  How do they stack up?  Right now, the vast majority of cops in the Queen City pay not 15% but 20 percent toward their healthcare.

As for a pension contribution, the majority of Cincinnati police contribute at a rate of 10%.

What about Cincinnati firefighters?

They've got the same deal.  A 20 percent contribution to healthcare and a 10 percent contribution to their pension.

I also checked into teachers in the Cincinnati public schools.  While the contracts negotiated by teachers and police and firefighters could be apples and oranges.

Here's what we've got.  Cincinnati public school teachers also pay more to their healthcare than state employees at 20 percent.  As for their pension, under state law, teachers must pay 10% just like state employees.

So are there workers who pay zero?


There are some local public sector employees across Ohio, typically management who have negotiated a contract when the employer or taxpayers pay all of their personal contribution.

According to a state wide report on public health care contributions, the vast majority of medical plans did require that state and public employees contribute to their healthcare cost.  But in 2011 there are 16% of single medical plans and 12% of family medical premiums that were paid 100% by the employer.

Meaning those public employees are not contributing.

That is Reality Check

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