02/23/2011 08:01 pm ET Updated May 25, 2011

Bargaining Bans Don't End Deficits

Debt in the five states that forbid it totals $222 billion. In the 11 states that don't ban or require collective bargaining with public employees, their finances are not any better whether or not they do it. In Arizona, where the law permits bargaining but the state chooses not to do so, its total debt stands at $22 billion with a yearly deficit of $2 billion (despite laying off 2,000 state workers in recent years).

To say the least, it is rather difficult to prove that ending collective bargaining, as is now proposed in Wisconsin, Ohio and elsewhere, offers any guarantee that states can close their budget gaps.

States Where Collective Bargaining is Explicitly Illegal

(in billions)

Debt: Total outstanding when calculated by adding all debt, including pension obligations and unemployment trust funds

Deficit: Yearly or bi-annual budget shortfalls

Sources: Sunshine Review, National Council on Teacher Quality

Craig blogs daily for CQ ROLL CALL.