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Monday, June 16, 2008

Is this the beginning of the end for the Ohio Healthy Families Act?

The Cleveland Plain Dealer is reporting that Governor Strickland has publicly come out against the Healthy Families Act:

Strickland, a Democrat, began speaking out publicly against the so-called Healthy Families Act last week, urging business and labor to get together and work out a compromise that would keep it off the ballot.

His motivations are both practical and political.... From a practical standpoint, Strickland clearly is concerned about the measure's economic costs. Like the coalition of business interests that is opposing the issue, he has noted how expensive it would be for companies to provide such a benefit.... Despite the concerns of employers, voters love the idea. Therein lies Strickland's political headache.

Voters of both parties support the proposal, but it is especially popular among Strickland's fellow Democrats. It has been predicted to drive Democratic turnout in this fall's presidential race in much the same way a proposed gay marriage ban did with Republican turnout in 2004. As with that issue, the sick-day proposal has national scope: it has been proposed in a dozen states and two cities, and is supported by presumptive Democratic nominee Barack Obama.

Because 70% of Ohioans support this measure, it will be very difficult to keep if off November's ballot, despite Governor Strickland's efforts. In the meantime, if you want more information on the likely harm the Health Families Act will cause to Ohio's already fragile business climate, visit the Ohio Chamber of Commerce's website about the OHFA, Ohio Business Votes.

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