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Tom Feran
By Tom Feran May 3, 2011

Gov. John Kasich claims state workers will get pay raises

Gov. John Kasich marked his 100th day in office with a news conference highlighting a long list of accomplishments. Among them were introduction of the "Jobs Budget," as he called it, and passage of Senate Bill 5.

SB 5, described as "collective bargaining reform," would limit collective bargaining for public employees across the state.

Kasich was asked during the meeting with reporters if the economic squeeze on workers and schools and local governments made it important symbolically for state lawmakers to take a pay cut.

"I think they should be treated like all other state employees, and state employees are actually going to get a pay raise," the governor answered.

A raise? In these times? While closing an $8 billion state budget deficit?

PolitiFact Ohio was surprised. We asked the governor's office to explain, and looked for some background information on our own.

Members of the General Assembly, we found, receive a base salary of $60,584 -- seventh-highest among state legislatures -- and stipends for leadership positions can raise it toward $90,000. Perks for Ohio lawmakers include public pension benefits and travel reimbursements.

House Bill 41, introduced in January by Norwalk Republican Terry Boose, would cut salaries in the General Assembly and for elected executive officeholders by 5 percent. The bill has not yet had a hearing. Even if enacted, it would not affect legislator salaries during their current term of office.

Legislators did not take the cut in pay that state employees have had for the past two years in the form of 10 mandatory furlough days, or unpaid days off.

The governor's press secretary, Rob Nichols, told us that those days were what Kasich was referring to.

"He was talking about the end of furlough days imposed under the previous administration," Nichols said.

Kasich will allow the furloughs to end in July, so "state workers will, in fact, get a 3.2 percent pay increase. It's not technically a raise, but state workers are going to be getting more money. They will be getting their full salary," Nichols said.

In other words, as the song says, they're going to get right back to where they started from.

And where are we?

Despite Nichols explanations, there is no pay raise. State workers will be getting more money in their paychecks, as Nichols noted. But that’s not because they’ll be getting paid more for their time.

Those increases are a result of them working more days at the same rate of pay. When the furloughs end, state workers will no longer be forced to take unpaid days off from work.

On the Truth-O-Meter, we rate Kasich’s claim as False.

Featured Fact-check

Our Sources

The Plain Dealer, "Ohio Gov. John Kasich marks his 100th day in office by highlighting accomplishments; expresses a few regrets," April 19, 2011

Gov. John Kasich, First 100 Days in Office Fact Sheet, April 20, 2011

The Post, "Kasich signs contentious Senate Bill 5 into law," April 1, 2011

Ohio Capital Blog, "Kasich on Lawmaker Salaries," April 19, 2011

Columbus Dispatch, "Capital Notes: Governor hints legislators might deserve pay raise," April 26, 2011

WCMH-TV, "What Did Gov. Kasich Mean?" April 26, 2011

Pew Center, Stateline, Which state's legislators earn the most?, July 23, 2010

Youngstown Vindicator, "Kasich sticks foot in mouth," April 23, 2011

Chronicle-Telegram, "State rep wants to cut lawmakers’ pay," Jan. 21, 2011

Ohio Legislative Service Commission, Status Report of Legislation, HB 41, accessed April 28, 2011

Sunshine Review, Ohio state government salary

Columbus Dispatch, "Flaw found in proposed pension shift," March 18, 2011

Interview with Kasich Press Secretary Rob Nichols, April 28, 2011

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Gov. John Kasich claims state workers will get pay raises

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