Several months ago, the PERI Board of Trustees had a thorough discussion regarding the so-called Drug Price Relief Act. We reached out to both campaigns to learn more about their positions. Only the, “No on Issue 2” coalition was willing to brief us on their campaign.
After additional research, we determined that there were several concerns regarding the implementation of Issue 2 if it were to pass.
First, state entities which currently purchase drugs are already receiving discounts similar to the Veterans Administration. Therefore, the additional savings promised by the proponents are likely misleading.
Second, and perhaps most important to PERI and its membership, is the very troubling ballot language that defines OPERS and the other state retirement systems as “state entities.” We vigorously oppose this notion. PERI has contended for years that the retirement systems are not state entities. Once contributions pass from public sector employers and employees to the retirement systems, they lose their characterization as state funds and are held in trust for system members.
The language in Issue 2 is quite clear and would jeopardize this status. We do not want to see the door opened by this potential change in status to groups who might want to find ways to gain access to the substantial assets managed by the retirement systems.
If Issue 2 is approved, there will undoubtedly be lawsuits challenging this status. Also, the statute as written would allow for virtually all legal fees of the proponents to be paid for by Ohio taxpayers. This is a devious self-serving tactic and should not become part of Ohio law.
The PERI Board of Trustees spent considerable time discussing the pros and cons of Issue 2 and voted unanimously to oppose the initiative.
Finally, Ohio’s major newspapers are overwhelmingly opposed to Issue 2 for these and a variety of other well-founded reasons. PERI encourages all members to read more on the pitfalls of Issue 2 by visiting www.NoOnIssue2.org.
Bottom line, we strongly urge all PERI members and their families to vote no on Issue 2.