Oklahoma City, Oklahoma 73105
For Immediate Release: January 21, 2011
Sen. David Holt
Sen. Holt Calls for Repeal of 'Binding Arbitration'
State Sen. David Holt has introduced legislation to repeal the
system known as "binding arbitration." Holt, R-Oklahoma
City, said Senate Bill 826 would restore taxpayer control and fiscal
responsibility to local spending decisions.
"Since its enactment in 1994 through labor union lobbying,
'binding arbitration' has taken the power to make spending decisions
away from Oklahoma taxpayers and placed it in the hands of unaccountable
out-of-state attorneys," Holt said. “Not surprisingly,
a bad system has created bad results - tax increases, more burdens
on pension systems, and cutbacks in core services, including public
Under the binding arbitration system, stalled negotiations between
local governments and labor unions over tax dollars are turned over
to a panel of arbitrators. The deciding arbitrator is almost always
an out-of-state attorney submitted by the federal government. The
deciding arbitrator chooses from the two positions, and any decision
in favor of the labor union is legally binding unless an election
is called and voters disapprove. Despite routine dissatisfaction
with such rulings, the calling of an election has not emerged as
a practical option in the 17 years since enactment, leaving the
arbitrator’s ruling as the final word.
SB 826 returns the power of the purse to the taxpayers of Oklahoma
by repealing binding arbitration. In lieu of that process, parties
will continue negotiating, but taxpayers will never be forced to
accept spending increases mandated by an arbitrator.
The original 1994 legislation was only narrowly approved by an
overwhelmingly Democratic legislature, requiring two attempts in
the House, and was then signed into law by Democratic Governor David
Holt noted that much had changed in the 17 years since the controversial
union measure became law and that now Republicans control the governor’s
office and the legislature.
“The voters of Oklahoma delivered a reminder this past election
that the citizens are in charge of how their tax dollars are spent.
At the state level, we would never allow an attorney from Texas
to tell Oklahomans how we must spend our money and then leave us
with the bill—but that is exactly what’s happened at
the local level for 17 years,” Holt said. “The time
has come to repeal this bad law and put Oklahoma’s taxpayers
back in the driver’s seat.”
For more information contact:
Sen. Holt: (405) 521-5636