Faced with an $8 billion budget deficit, Ohio Gov. John Kasich (R) is on the verge of signing a bill that would prevent state employees from using collective bargaining to negotiate their health and pension benefits. Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) has pushed a similar bill, which has drawn national attention, spawned weeks of protests, and sent Democratic lawmakers fleeing the state as a way to stall its passage.

Two other GOP governors facing major budget crises – New Jersey’s Chris Christie and Michigan’s Rick Snyder – have made it clear that they don’t see restricting bargaining rights as the key to more austerity. Texas, North Carolina, and Louisiana face major budget deficits, and in those states public employees don’t have collective bargaining rights.

To what extent is collective bargaining to blame for out-of-control state spending? Is clamping down on the ability of public-employee unions to negotiate an important tactic for closing what may grow to a combined $125 billion gap in state budgets next fiscal year?

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