Local economic development officials say they feel much better now that a proposed state mandate on sick days has been dropped.
The shift to make the mandate national rather than just in Ohio is easier to stomach, said Mark Litten, executive director of Erie County Economic Development Corp., and John Moldovan, president of the Erie County Chamber of Commerce.
On Thursday, Ohioans for Healthy Families asked the secretary of state to drop their issue from the ballot.
The ballot issue would have forced all companies with 25 workers or more to provide seven sick days a year to anyone who works more than 34 hours a week.
Normally pro-union politicians -- including Democratic Gov. Ted Strickland and Lt. Gov. Lee Fisher -- had said they would oppose the measure because they believed it would hurt Ohio's effort to attract new jobs. Strickland and U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, said they would support national legislation to do the same thing, but apply the law to all 50 states.
"We would have been the only state in the union I believe that had that law," Litten said. "I think it would have affected our smaller businesses, and it would have hurt our competitiveness as a state in trying to attract new businesses and new industries to the state of Ohio. I was very pleased yesterday when I saw the issue was dropped."
Moldovan the issue was poorly crafted and a burden on businesses.
"From an economic perspective, the business community doesn't like mandates like that," he said.
Both men said the preferred a national to a state mandate.
"All you can ask from an economic development perspective is a level playing field," Litten said. "If it's a national issue, then all 50 states have to deal with it."
"Maybe that's a little different aspect," Moldovan said. "If nothing else, at least every state's going to be on a level playing field. They would have put Ohio at a competitive disadvantage if this had passed."
Bob Warner, a Sandusky city commissioner and marketing representative for International Union of Painters and Allied Trades District Council 6, said the proposal would have done little for members of his union.
"In my case, we work for labor. You hire by labor. If I ain't there, I don't get paid. If I ain't there, making money for the contractor, he doesn't get paid," Warner said.