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Newt to rally with Brady; Plus: Our sorry budget mess

Wednesday, Oct 20, 2010

* I’m not sure this is the type of character you wanna be hanging out with right before an election

Former U.S. House Speaker Newt Gingrich will attend a rally Friday in Collinsville for Illinois Republican gubernatorial candidate Bill Brady.

* Meanwhile, Eric Zorn takes a look at the budget mess

The annual state budget is about $51 billion. But about half of that isn’t under the direct control of the governor or the General Assembly. […]

The general fund is the pool of money — about $25 billion for the next fiscal year — that we draw on to pay for education, public safety and health and human services, plus a few minor odds and ends. […]

But $25 billion really isn’t the starting point for a governor who wants to cut the budget. About $6 billion of that comes directly from the federal government. And somewhere around $9 billion is money we have to spend on education and Medicare in order to get the full amount of the federal funding. That leaves from $10 billion to $13 billion, according to various estimates, at which lawmakers can swing their axes.

In other words, that’s pretty much the entire deficit. Also, as Zorn reminds his readers, Bill Brady then wants to cut taxes by a billion dollars.

Zorn’s editorial board ought to read his entire piece before writing again about their pie in the sky ideas.

* Meanwhile, Brady repeated his claim that a “business audit” that took two to three months could help him figure out where to cut

Asked whether the number of layoffs would number in the hundreds or thousands, Brady reiterated that he hopes that trimming the state workforce - which already has the fewest employees per capita in the nation - can be done by not replacing workers who leave or retire.

“We don’t know who’s employed where, what’s necessary, what’s not necessary,” Brady said.

I asked Auditor General Bill Holland if he knew what a “business audit” of state government would actually entail. His reply: “No.”

* Speaking of the budget, Stateline is doing a series on states paying their bills late. Here is yesterday’s installment

On weekday afternoons when schools let out in Humboldt Park, a predominantly Puerto Rican neighborhood on Chicago’s West Side, dozens of children, ages 6 to 16, head to a community center known as the Youth Service Project. When they arrive at the center’s activity rooms, the children must do their homework first. Then they’re allowed to play, read books about sharks, throw balls at each other or just hang out with friends.

It’s a safe place in a neighborhood troubled by gang violence. Two years ago, two participants at the Youth Service Project were killed, and two more were injured, in the fighting. The youth at the center, which runs an arts education program, responded to the deaths by painting an indoor mural of their memories of that summer’s events. It shows a SWAT team van, a church cross against a blue sky and a funeral home — although the center’s staff, fearing that the funeral home would be a distressing image for the kids to see every day, have moved a bookshelf in front of it.

The center plays an important role in the life of Humboldt Park. Indeed, the state of Illinois, which provides 95 percent of the Youth Service Project’s funding, expects the center to provide all of the services under its contract. The catch is that, with all the state’s fiscal troubles lately, no one knows when the state will actually hand over that money.

In the past, the center has had to wait a month or two to get paid. This year, the center went six months without receiving a single check from the state. To get by, the center exhausted its line of credit, cut back on services and laid off seven of its 32 staff members. Only half as many children were able to take advantage of the Youth Service Project’s programs as did two years ago.

Today’s is about higher education

Disruptive as California’s delinquency has been to higher education, Illinois’ backlog of unpaid bills is creating worse problems. Illinois lawmakers this year passed an unbalanced budget that does not bring in enough revenue to cover expenditures. Cash flow is so crimped that as of the end of September, the state of Illinois owed its community colleges and universities close to $600 million. That’s more than one-third of the state’s entire budget for higher ed.

* And Brady calls Speaker Madigan a “dictator” but says he thinks Madigan trusts him

Bill Brady, the Republican candidate for governor, said Tuesday he was ready to work with Democrats on pension reform and other controversial issues if elected, adding he thinks powerful House Speaker Michael Madigan “is looking for a leader … that he can trust” to lead the state.

“And I think Mike Madigan trusts me,” Brady told The Pantagraph editorial board.

At one point, Brady called Madigan, who has been speaker almost continuously since 1983, a “dictator,” but also said the Chicago Democrat “has a lot of respect for an effective governor.”

“We saw it with Edgar,” said Brady, referring to Jim Edgar, the Republican who served two terms as governor in the 1990s and who has endorsed Brady. “And I’m not a clone of Edgar, but I do think you can learn things from that success.”

If Brady wins and Madigan holds onto the House, this will be a fascinating battle. Madigan’s more liberal members will want an all-out revolt, but he’s never been all that fond of funding bureaucrats, so the Speaker may just give Brady all the rope he wants.

- Posted by Rich Miller        


64 Comments
  1. - Oswego Willy - Wednesday, Oct 20, 10 @ 9:43 am:

    If Brady loses … its his and Jerry’s and Plummer’s fault … Newt?

    Why do this NOW?


  2. - wordslinger - Wednesday, Oct 20, 10 @ 9:44 am:

    I can see why Brady would campaign with Newt. He’s very popular among, uh, let’s see, that would be….

    Maybe Quinn can bring in Jim Wright to say a few words for him.


  3. - Ahoy - Wednesday, Oct 20, 10 @ 9:44 am:

    Brady is ignorant enough to do exactly what Madigan wants him to do and not even realize it.


  4. - phoebe - Wednesday, Oct 20, 10 @ 9:49 am:

    Rich, please don’t buy into the right wing mischaracterization of the state budget. Most of the money goes to schools, hospitals, nursing homes, and private vendors. The payroll equals about 15% of GRF. And who is a bureaucrat? Correctional officers? Highway patrolmen? Child welfare investigators? Nursing home inspectors? Please.


  5. - Don't Worry, Be Happy - Wednesday, Oct 20, 10 @ 9:49 am:

    ==the Speaker may just give Brady all the rope he wants==

    If Brady wins the immediate front runner to win the 2014 election is Lisa Madigan. The more extreme and damaging that Brady becomes, the easier her job will be in four years. Speaker Madigan will stand by, hose in hand, while Gov. Brady burns down the house.


  6. - Small Town Liberal - Wednesday, Oct 20, 10 @ 9:52 am:

    - If Brady wins and Madigan holds onto the House, this will be a fascinating battle. -

    I know it’s good for you, Rich, but I’m sick of fascinating.


  7. - Living in Oklahoma - Wednesday, Oct 20, 10 @ 9:58 am:

    Just a note, when I logged into my yahoo e.mail a few moments ago the first thing you see is a headline talking about pension debt and a picture of the Illinois Capitol Building.


  8. - Been There - Wednesday, Oct 20, 10 @ 10:08 am:

    The following is one of the funniest headlines I have seen in awhile:

    Races for comptroller and attorney general heat up
    By KAREN HAWKINS – 
The Associated Press

    http://www.daily-chronicle.com/articles/2010/10/19/93294595/index.xml


  9. - CircularFiringSquad - Wednesday, Oct 20, 10 @ 10:12 am:

    NoTaxBill should check with Mr. Dreamey (aka Cong Schock). Dreamster just tried to use Newt to vacuum more GOP money out of Peoria. The event was a bust. It drew fewer than 200( some freebies). Schockster had to move the event to a smaller room.
    Schockster PR Newsletter (aka PJS) opted not to cover the event after writing two fawning preview hype jobs becuase they “were not invited”
    Fire, Aim, Ready


  10. - dupage dan - Wednesday, Oct 20, 10 @ 10:12 am:

    I agree w/STL. Enough with the fascinating - bring on the mundane.


  11. - (618) Democrat - Wednesday, Oct 20, 10 @ 10:13 am:

    From the SJR interview: Brady reaffirmed his position that future pension benefits for state workers on the job today can be changed and that he wants to go to a 401(k)-style retirement system for state employees who are hired in the future.

    For state employees who vote for Brady you will be voting to take a chance on a layoff and slashing state pensions for yourselves and your fellow employees.


  12. - Anonymous - Wednesday, Oct 20, 10 @ 10:21 am:

    It seems extraordinarily imprudent to pre-judge the relationship between a Gov. Brady and Speaker Madigan. Except for Blagojevich, the Speaker has only worked with Republican governors. I would submit that Speaker Madigan’s relationship with any of them was far better than with the Democrat Blagojevich. I would even suggest that Speaker Madigan would prefer a Republican executive.


  13. - ItsReal - Wednesday, Oct 20, 10 @ 10:26 am:

    +++For state employees who vote for Brady you will be voting to take a chance on a layoff and slashing state pensions for yourselves and your fellow employees.+++

    Brady has said publicly many times he will do neither.
    While Quinn has signed a two tiered pension system and Privatized Toll roads and the Lottery.
    Quinn’s horrible budget record has caused the layoff of thousands of state and school employees. Quinn isn’t a chance at those things he is the example of those things happening.


  14. - Rich Miller - Wednesday, Oct 20, 10 @ 10:28 am:

    ===Brady has said publicly many times he will do neither.===

    He just said he would do one, and didn’t rule out the other.


  15. - Rich Miller - Wednesday, Oct 20, 10 @ 10:29 am:

    ===Enough with the fascinating - bring on the mundane. ===

    Not gonna happen no matter who wins.


  16. - Highland, IL - Wednesday, Oct 20, 10 @ 10:32 am:

    Newt will play great in blue Metro East!


  17. - dupage dan - Wednesday, Oct 20, 10 @ 10:34 am:

    (618)Democrat,

    As a state employee I am well aware of the possiblity that these changes will HAVE TO occur regardless of who gets elected as governor. 401(K) retirement funding is the typical way most regular folk fund their retirement. Why can’t that be the norm for state employees? Where else in the real world do companies provide such defined benefits anymore? Most are converting because the pension system is unsustainable.

    Everyone in this state is being affected by this mess. I don’t believe I am insulated from that anymore than anyone else would be.


  18. - chi - Wednesday, Oct 20, 10 @ 10:36 am:

    “The more extreme and damaging that Brady becomes, the easier her job will be in four years.”

    This is false. See Obama. The worse Brady does (if elected) the easier it will be for her to get elected, but the harder it will be for her to do a good job (the easier it will be for her to do a better job; there’s a difference.) We need a capable governor right now. We can’t afford to wait four years.


  19. - (618) Democrat - Wednesday, Oct 20, 10 @ 10:37 am:

    @Itsreal 10:26

    =Brady has said publicly many times he will do neither.=

    Did you read the SJR interview with Brady?

    I don’t work for the state but if I did this would be a deal breaker for me.


  20. - dupage dan - Wednesday, Oct 20, 10 @ 10:39 am:

    @Rich,

    ===Enough with the fascinating - bring on the mundane. ===

    Not gonna happen no matter who wins.

    Yeah, yeah, a guy can dream, can’t he?


  21. - Vole - Wednesday, Oct 20, 10 @ 10:40 am:

    “That leaves from $10 billion to $13 billion, according to various estimates, at which lawmakers can swing their axes.” Zorn

    Gets us back to earlier estimates that Brady’s 10% proposed cuts actually translate to 40 to 50% cuts to potential targets to achieve his stated goals. Brady’s moon shot becomes a trip to Mars.


  22. - Jaded - Wednesday, Oct 20, 10 @ 10:45 am:

    “Brady is ignorant enough to do exactly what Madigan wants him to do and not even realize it.”

    Well, that is what Quinn has been doing for two years and will continue to do, so I guess there really is no difference between the two.


  23. - ShadyBillBrady - Wednesday, Oct 20, 10 @ 10:47 am:

    First, Brady has been pretty straight-forward about wanting layoffs and huge reductions in pensions. Anyone who believes otherwise is either not paying attention, or only hearing what they want to hear.

    And DD … the only reason the pension system is unsustainable is because the State has chosen to not make its payment over and over again … both Republicans and Democrats. A study done last year pretty clearly showed that the pensions themselves aren’t “too rich” or out of line.

    And, of course, there are MANY in the private sector who have a 401k (often with at least a match by the employer, by the way - think the state will be matching anything?) and some sort of more traditional pension, even if not as rich as current DB’s for State employees.

    Further, those in the private sector also get Social Security on top of whatever they have in terms of a traditional pension and an employer-matched 401k. You do realize that right now Teachers and several other state employees don’t qualify for TRS, which means there would be an additional cost passed on to the State and/or local taxing bodies to pay the employer portion of SS.


  24. - Living in Oklahoma - Wednesday, Oct 20, 10 @ 10:56 am:

    The question no one is asking Bill Brady during all of this…

    Is the rent too high?


  25. - Amalia - Wednesday, Oct 20, 10 @ 10:58 am:

    oh for a live feed to Newt Fest and a blogging session!

    Rich, you are so right….bad to hang out with Mr. contradictions/
    hypocrite. so much potential for mining that!


  26. - Rich Miller - Wednesday, Oct 20, 10 @ 10:59 am:

    LIO, the reason nobody is asking the question is because the answer is self evident.


  27. - Ghost - Wednesday, Oct 20, 10 @ 10:59 am:

    Along with what Shady said, the disappareance of defned benefit pensions from the private sector has put a greater burden on an already over starined social security system.

    401(k) were a supplement system never intended to replace defined benefit plans. By removing these modest penson benefits we are just pushin and even geater burden onto social security. We are developing an impoversihed class of retirees and the situation is getting worse.

    We will all pay for this foolishness one way or the other, but removing specific pension plans or reducing them is throwin gas on the problem. We are saving the State money only to see the State and or Feds have to step in with greater aid programs to help the expanding class of impoverished retirees.


  28. - Ghost - Wednesday, Oct 20, 10 @ 11:01 am:

    That reminds me, isnt newt on the outs with the tea party folks who are part of Brady’s base?


  29. - Doug - Wednesday, Oct 20, 10 @ 11:05 am:

    You Illinois Liberals, it’s funny to watch as you fall all over yourselves pointing out that Brady is campaigning with Newt…a respected man on the right.

    But at the same time you think Jesse Jackson, Rev. Wright, William Ayers and Bobby Rush are mainstream.

    You sit back and wonder why the “great unwashed” of this country are rising up this election cycle.

    You wonder why Sarah Palin gets traction when she talks about the bias in todays media?

    Can’t wait until election day.


  30. - Rich Miller - Wednesday, Oct 20, 10 @ 11:06 am:

    ===But at the same time you think Jesse Jackson, Rev. Wright, William Ayers and Bobby Rush are mainstream.===

    LOL


  31. - CircularFiringSquad - Wednesday, Oct 20, 10 @ 11:11 am:

    “Newt…a respected man on the right.”
    Doug you must be tanked up on the happy juice, Newt has all the moral authority of John Edwards.
    Go NoTaxBill
    FireAimReady


  32. - Anonymous - Wednesday, Oct 20, 10 @ 11:13 am:

    “But $25 billion really isn’t the starting point for a governor who wants to cut the budget. About $6 billion of that comes directly from the federal government. And somewhere around $9 billion is money we have to spend on education and Medicare in order to get the full amount of the federal funding. That leaves from $10 billion to $13 billion…”
    Most of Zorn’s points are right on the money, and he does a good job of outlining the dilemma. I disagree that the $9 billion in federal matches should be off the table for cuts, though– they are still significant tax dollars (both state and federal) and are too often ’sacred cow’ programs. Putting that back on the table does not invalidate his argument, but does make it much less compelling.


  33. - Doug - Wednesday, Oct 20, 10 @ 11:17 am:

    CFS, Moral Authority?

    Oh, you mean like Jesse Jackson or his namesake? Oh, but they are just fine to campaign with Quinn, aren’t they? In fact, everybody was on pins and needles wondering if Jr. was going to endorse Brady….


  34. - Small Town Liberal - Wednesday, Oct 20, 10 @ 11:26 am:

    - You Illinois Liberals, it’s funny to watch as you fall all over yourselves pointing out that Brady is campaigning with Newt…a respected man on the right. -

    Not as funny as morons like you failing to grasp that it isn’t the right that Brady needs to be courting right now.


  35. - 47th Ward - Wednesday, Oct 20, 10 @ 11:29 am:

    Did Newt give Brady the “Politician of the Year” award? I read that Newt’s business model consists of sending out random notices to professionals giving them an award and asking for thousands of dollars for the honor of receiving it in his presence. Doctor of the Year. Entrepreneur of the Year, etc. It’s quite a scam, and keeps Newt in business.

    There’s one born every minute. Congratulations Bill Brady, you may already be a winner…


  36. - dupage dan - Wednesday, Oct 20, 10 @ 11:35 am:

    SBB,

    While you are right that the current problem is that the state hasn’t paid into the pension program as they are required to, the fact still remains that the pension system as a whole is unsustainable. Fluctuations in market conditions (where pensions/401Ks are invested) cause fluctuations in amounts available to be disbursed. Pensions define a benefit which results in losses of principle which reduces amounts available to future recipients. Couple this with early retirment programs (to reduce payroll) and failure to pay what is owed into the system causes a big problem. We see pensions being abandoned in the private sector - happened for a reason. Even tho the companies and employees were fully funding them. 401K programs pay out what is available at the time, not paying out what was promised during some earlier, rosy, financial period. That’s why you see some folk having to put off retirment to rebuild their portfolies. All the time watching state employees retire early with secure benefits.

    Fact is right NOW, the system is unsustainable. Asking the taxpayers to agree to a tax increase to reimburse the pension coffers when they, themselves, have no such defined benefit is LUNACY and anyone suggesting such a thing would be commiting political suicide. Because of the fact that citizens expect much from gov’t and don’t want to pay for it - I can’t imagine taxpayers being willing to give more to the gov’t and expect less in return. Not. Going. To. Happen.


  37. - CircularFiringSquad - Wednesday, Oct 20, 10 @ 11:38 am:

    Doug
    Tom Roeser taught us long ago that the comparatives make no sense.
    Plus Triple J is busy campaigning for Forrert Gump Claypool and the social acquaintence
    Thanks for the oppotunity to mention


  38. - Piling on - Wednesday, Oct 20, 10 @ 11:41 am:

    Ah yes, Brady recounting the wonder years of Edgar and Madigan and how well they got along. Mutual respect.

    I seem to recall a bitter, bitter 1991 overtime session.

    The so-called mutual respect didn’t begin until later in the second term.

    And if you were Edgar, who would you rather deal with: Pate, Lee Daniels or Mike Madigan?


  39. - Greg B. - Wednesday, Oct 20, 10 @ 11:45 am:

    Newt only p’s off liberals and GOPer’s, the rest probably really don’t care.

    I don’t think Brady is going to take a whack at the $13 billion in one year, which Rich seems to suggest Brady must do. It took 8 years to build this mess, setting the goal post to fix it in one is absurd.

    Lost in discussions of all these people not getting paid for all these services they provide to local communities is the question of whether or not govt. should be doing this. The question for decades has been whether someone wanted it. Maybe it’s time to start asking the former and shelve the latter until government is back on its feet.

    Brady can build off the fine work Mr. Holland has done in the past. Holland identified 1750 programs a few years ago. He noted the state has no catalogue of programs and that many of these were duplicative or complimentary. Seems like a good place to start a bottom up review of state govt.


  40. - wordslinger - Wednesday, Oct 20, 10 @ 11:47 am:

    –You wonder why Sarah Palin gets traction when she talks about the bias in todays media?–

    You mean when she gets paid to do so on Fox News, part of the third largest media conglomerate in the world?

    My only explanation is “We’re in a tight spot” and “People are looking for answers.”


  41. - Rich Miller - Wednesday, Oct 20, 10 @ 11:57 am:

    ===which Rich seems to suggest Brady must do.===

    Um, no. Brady says it is something he will do. He’s said many, many times that he’ll balance the budget in a year.


  42. - Louis G. Atsaves - Wednesday, Oct 20, 10 @ 12:00 pm:

    Have Zorn and others put the Quinn plan under a microscope? Oh yeah! He doesn’t seem to have much of a plan or even a philosophy of sorts on how to proceed. At least Brady has stated some broad outline. Quinn?


  43. - Louis G. Atsaves - Wednesday, Oct 20, 10 @ 12:03 pm:

    The GOP conservatives do not seem to like Newt all that much these days. But they all point to the old “Contract with America” as a solution.

    Leaves me very confused.


  44. - Bill - Wednesday, Oct 20, 10 @ 12:06 pm:

    I hope that the first guy Gov. Brady fires is DuPage Dan. If your self hate and guilt is that bad just donate youir pension back to the fund. They could use the money.


  45. - MOON - Wednesday, Oct 20, 10 @ 12:13 pm:

    BILL

    I agree with your reference to DuPage Dan.

    I think DuPage just feels guilty wasting his time on this blog when he should be hard at work for the citizens of this State.


  46. - dupage dan - Wednesday, Oct 20, 10 @ 12:14 pm:

    Bill,

    I was waiting for some type of similar comment. So, being realistic about what happens in this state to ALL the folk, rather than thinking strictly on the lines of pure self interest - isn’t that a part of the liberal ideal?

    =donate your pension back to the fund=

    Is that the best you can do? Tired/boring/silly.


  47. - dupage dan - Wednesday, Oct 20, 10 @ 12:16 pm:

    MOON,

    These predictable responses have been aired here before. Really, now, can’t you come up with something more original? Like dealing with the issue rather than taking potshots at a concerned citizen. Oh, Prunella.


  48. - Greg B. - Wednesday, Oct 20, 10 @ 12:19 pm:

    And Rich when he says he’ll balance the budget in a year he means the current year’s budget. That doesn’t mean the last 8 years’ budget holes. He’s been separating those two issues in conversations with me for two years or more.

    To my chagrin, he’s suggested borrowing to pay the backlog and is much more forgiving than I. I’d advocate much more harsh line on bailouts for those who trusted Blago. . . Trusting him was a bad investment.


  49. - MOON - Wednesday, Oct 20, 10 @ 12:20 pm:

    DU PAGE

    I am addressing the issue. Quit cheating the citizens of Illinois. Quit wasting your time on this blog when you should be working. If we got rid of you and put in your place a more productive employee I am sure the taxpayers and the State would be better off financially !


  50. - Vole - Wednesday, Oct 20, 10 @ 12:24 pm:

    “He’s said many, many times that he’ll balance the budget in a year.”

    From today’s SJR article: “We’re going to reconcile a plan to pay down the backlog of unpaid bills and balance the budget in the first year,” Brady said. “It would take a year to begin the plan.”

    Is Brady giving himself an “out” with this statement? This sounds more like a “get ready to get ready” approach. Which given the state of politics in Springfield is probably more like what will happen. The magic bean will lie dormant for a year.


  51. - dupage dan - Wednesday, Oct 20, 10 @ 12:28 pm:

    MOON,

    Yeah, fire me and the whole multi-billion dollar deficit disappears. Good plan. You stick with that.


  52. - Ghost - Wednesday, Oct 20, 10 @ 12:34 pm:

    DD you have a few errors. What is unsustainable is abandoning defined pension plans so that private and public companies/governemtn transfer the financial burden donw the road to social security and welfare programs.

    Did you know that most private companies which removed defined benefit plans pay out on average executive bonuses and compnsation which far exceeded the cost of the programs they axed? They killed the pogramsbecause it put bonuses in the pockets of those at the top, not because of insufficient resources.

    Top exectutives avrage 80 million dollar retirement packages.

    The private sector is transfering its expense to the public, just like it has the public cary the risk of selling junk loans etc under a too big to fail.

    We ned to expand pension plans to releive future social burdens and social security problems


  53. - Bill - Wednesday, Oct 20, 10 @ 12:34 pm:

    Dan,
    It is ALL folks who have been reaping the spoils of services without paying for them that put the pension funds at risk in the first place. They should have raised taxes years ago instead of stealing from the funds in the first place. So now, yes they have to pay more. Stealing never pays and what goes around comes around. They should raise taxes and make restitution. Maybe then they can plead out for time served. You must be one of those Ryan holdovers Rod used to talk about. Get back to work.


  54. - Vole - Wednesday, Oct 20, 10 @ 12:51 pm:

    It should be noted that the “sustainability” of pension funds rested on the notion that a sound economy and sound government could be sustained with more and better paid workers, more revenue growth, greater stock and bond yields, etc. In sum, it was essentially a mass ponzi scheme predicated on growth, the basis of capitalism. There is not a single form of pension system including defined, 401Ks, social security, state and local governmental, etc. that are looking healthy in our current environment. They are all only as sustainable as are sound growing economies and governments. We need to adjust to much slower growth. Sacrifices on everyone’s part will be necessary. Limits are real. Both parties failed to prepare for their eventuality.


  55. - CircularFiringSquad - Wednesday, Oct 20, 10 @ 12:55 pm:

    I think NoTaxBill promised to balanace the budget in his first year.
    Of course, we know that is an absolute lie, but it was his promise.
    He also promised FOP and Corrections workers no lay offs and no real pension cuts
    And no cuts at Vets Affairs.
    Etc


  56. - Bob Dylan - Wednesday, Oct 20, 10 @ 1:09 pm:

    I am reminded of a Peoria rally back in the Contract on America days. While ?some Peoria politician? was holding a black-tie, $1k/plate affair with Gingrinch as the main attraction, Wayne Newton was playing to a good size audience at the same venue, the Peoria Convetion Center. Wayne’s fans were confused by the guantlet of anti-Newt rallyers with their anti-Newt signs. You could here them asking each other as they walked through the crowd, “What do all these people have against the Wayne?”


  57. - quincy - Wednesday, Oct 20, 10 @ 1:11 pm:

    Newt aman who couldnt keep his pants up like bill clinton. and he comming here for brady what time does the dancing girls come in and start taking their dresses off. OH I FORGET THESE TWO GUYS ARE REPUBLICAN AND WE CANT TALK THAT WAY ABOUT THEM GOOD JOB BILL BRADY WHAT TIME DO THE GIRLS START DANCING FOR YOU. YOU JUST LOST MY VOTE. OH BY THE WAY ARE YOU GOING TO PAY ANY TAXES THIS YEAR OR IS THE POOR MAN GOING TO PAY FOR THE BAND WHIKE THE RICH MAN DANCES


  58. - ShadyBillBrady - Wednesday, Oct 20, 10 @ 1:29 pm:

    DD, keep believing what you want to believe.

    I will note, however, that one thing that Illinois MUST do regarding pensions and sustainability is tax retirement income - at least over a reasonable level.

    But moving to a system that Brady endorses will cost more initially, save little in the long run, and create more problems than it solves.

    But if you don’t like your taxpayer-funded job, I’m sure Brady has about 800,000 jobs he is waiting to create - and he is willing to pay you less than 8 bucks an hour to do it. Oh, and the companies that create those jobs will get thousands in tax breaks as a result. That sounds sustainable to me.


  59. - wordslinger - Wednesday, Oct 20, 10 @ 1:31 pm:

    Louis, after Newt led the GOP back into the majority, the exhilaration wore off in less than a year and his Speakership was a disaster. Clinton beat him like a rented mule.

    The GOP wore the collar for the unpopular government shutdown. In ‘97, guys like Boehner, Armey, Largent and Lindsay Graham attempted a coup, but lost their nerve.

    But the impeachment of Clinton finally did him in. Not because Clinton’s behavior with Monica didn’t dishonor the presidency, but because the impeachment came at a time of prosperity and peace. No one cared, except for the cheap, tabloid thrills.

    Worst of all, it opened the door for examination of all politicians marital fidelity. Remember Henry Hyde and his youthful indiscretions? Bob Livingston, Newt himself?

    The GOP lost House seats in ‘98, virtually unheard of in an off-year election for a party that didn’t hold the presidency. Yes, he’s unpopular among some of the base for a lot of reasons.


  60. - dupage dan - Wednesday, Oct 20, 10 @ 2:04 pm:

    The recent comments are much better than the “let’s bait the state employee” gambit. I agree that the problem is more complex and the solutions more varied than what I wrote about.

    Bringing executive compensation into the picture is, at best, a distraction from the issue. Rich guy envy is not one of my problems. You need to get some therapy about that.

    Taxing retirement income as a way to solve our state budget problems. Oy….really? Got any numbers regarding that? Frankly, I wouldn’t mind having to pay a tax on a pension as long as my contribution comes off the top. I don’t like being double taxed any more than the next guy. But don’t hang your hopes on that being the salvation in this mess.

    Actually, Bill, I’ve been here since Edgar. No clout either. Go figure.

    I wish I had a solution to this problem. The pension has been raided so deeply and for so long I don’t see a straight line to a resolution. Changing the equation for new hires does nothing for the current crisis. Lowering the benefits of existing employees for that which has not yet been earned will not plug the gap. Growing our economy to float all boats is helpful but Illinois’ history of lagging behind any national turn around makes that difficult. Raising taxes to deal with it would work only if the tax could be targeted. I would not be comfortable agreeing to a tax increase unless it was targeted. Imagine if you will - going to your constituents and urging them to agree to a targeted tax that would go to fix the pension problem. I would be able to hear the laughter all the way from the MOON.

    And then you have Dennis Byrne saying that the state is not liable for the pension, it’s SERS that is liable. And SERS can only pay out from what they have. Neat trick if it can be played. I suspect there would be some backlash about that.


  61. - cassandra - Wednesday, Oct 20, 10 @ 2:12 pm:

    Brady can’t lay off any unionized state employees until mid-2012 per Quinn’s agreement with AFSCME. After that, who knows. AFSCME will no doubt want to extend the no-layoff agreement, especially if hefty pay raises over the next four contract years are not in the offing because of depleted state coffers not to mention the probable need to charge employees more for health care and retirement benefits.

    Any personnel cuts Brady makes in an early incumbency will have to be among the tiny fraction of non-unionized employees, but a change in party would result in many or most of those folks leaving anyway. Those who haven’t managed to burrow into the unionized bureacracy by then–I’m sure that many, many are trying.

    So early cuts will have to be in other areas, not personnel. Contracts. Buildings (I hope). Grants. No doubt many could stand a few reductions.

    If Quinn wins, of course, none of the above will happen. Quinn will raise our income taxes to pay for everything and after that, he seems to be saying, all will be for the best in the best of all possible states.


  62. - Nearly Normal - Wednesday, Oct 20, 10 @ 2:21 pm:

    Brady is being hammered as anti-women for his votes in regards to mammograms and other health issues. And he has Newt come to campagn?

    Newt, who blindsided his first wife with divorce papers while in the hospital recuperating from a mastectomy!??

    Newt, who stepped down as Speaker when his affair with the staffer who became wife #3 became public knowledge?!!

    Boy, that is really, really stupid. That could really backfire on him.


  63. - ShadyBillBrady - Wednesday, Oct 20, 10 @ 3:39 pm:

    I must have missed the part where I said taxing retirement income would solve the entire mess. I just said we should do it. Indiana, Bill Brady’s Great Bastion of Hope, does. They also tax more services, like we should. They also have a higher personal income tax, like we should. And his other two great bastions of hope, NJ and LA (oh, and Virginia too) have progressive income taxes, like we should.

    And ironically … these great bastions of hope aren’t much better off in the pension picture (doesn’t help that GOP God himself, Chris Christie, decided to skip the pension payment … wouldn’t want to “increase spending” - read: borrow to make pension payments - like Quinn did) … take a look: http://finance.yahoo.com/tech-ticker/11-state-pension-funds-that-may-run-of-out-money-535516.html


  64. - J Cricket - Wednesday, Oct 20, 10 @ 5:11 pm:

    Many taxpayers are unaware that in 1992 under the administration of Governor Jim Edgar, the State of Illinois agreed to make the employee contributions as well as the employer contributions to the appropriate Retirement System for state employees. If you recall, the State was experiencing a fiscal crisis and during contract negotiations it was agreed that the State would pick up the employee contribution in lieu of pay raises. The “alternative formula” was also adopted under Governor Edgar which provided some employees with a flat rate of 2.5% for each year of service, rather than the standard rate of 1.67%. The practice of the State contributing the entire employee contribution to the pension system continued until January 1, 2002 for employees covered under the “alternative formula” and January 1, 2005 for employees covered under the “standard formula.” It’s easy to see how years and years of the state paying both the employee and employer contribution contributed to an under-funded system. Under Republican executives, state employees were also offered early retirement incentives on two occasions, which put further strain on an already under-funded pension system.

    There’s no “quick fix” to the pension system, but Governor Quinn should be commended for pushing for reforms of public pensions and signing the pension stabilization plan into law last spring. It has been estimated that these reforms will save the State more than $200 billion over the next 35 years and that the retirement plans for new public sector employees will be far less costly to taxpayers. The “double-dipping,” which was formerly permitted, will no longer be allowed. Previously the retirement age for employees was 60 with eight years of service and now it’s 67 with 10 years of service. Changes were also made in the pension formula to eliminate “pension sweetening” or “spiking” in the final years of service. Currently benefits are based on an average of the highest four of the last 10 years of service, but for new hires, the benefits will be based on the average of the highest eight years of a retiree’s last 10 years. The reforms also provide for a cap of the final average salary of $106, 800, with provisions for automatic increases based upon the lesser of 3% or one-half of the annual increase in the Consumer Price Index-u during the preceding 12 month calendar year.

    Two years ago, as Lt. Governor, Pat Quinn led the effort to collect the signatures necessary to put the question on the ballot calling for a constitutional convention. This met with opposition from public sector employees because they feared that the Pension Protection Clause would be eliminated if a constitutional convention were to be convened. While it is crucial that the State of Illinois continue to reduce the unfunded pension liability, additional reforms will have to follow the meaning of the Illinois Constitution’s Pension Protection Clause.


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