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Quinn aides: Governor isn’t backing away from pension shift

Wednesday, Apr 25, 2012

* Two of Gov. Pat Quinn’s top media spokespersons, Kelly Kraft and Brooke Anderson, just called to try and clarify the governor’s position on the proposal to shift employer pension costs to schools and universities.

As I told you earlier, Quinn told the Daily Herald that the idea isn’t “essential” to his pension reform proposal and said he was putting the proposal “on a separate track.”

But to characterize his comments as backing away from the proposal is “not his position at all,” the spokespeople said.

“In no way shape or form do we want it to get out there that he’s backed away,” I was told. “Nobody here has been talking about that, including the governor.”

“This is something the governor supports. He thinks it should be part of the legislation.”

I was told that the proposal is “not ‘essential’ to the savings” in the governor’s original plan. The cost shift savings weren’t included “because they haven’t yet been worked out.”

Universities, the two said, “have also expressed an open mind to the shift.”

So, anyway, there you go.

- Posted by Rich Miller        


15 Comments
  1. - Bill - Wednesday, Apr 25, 12 @ 2:58 pm:

    It doesn’t matter whether he steps away or not. Madigan and Cullerton want it. They won’t step back or forward. They’ll just pass it, wrap it in a bow, and send it to his desk. As far as the universities having an open mind, what choice do they have. They are also telling students that the entire shift in one year will raise tuition 40%.


  2. - Nagidam - Wednesday, Apr 25, 12 @ 3:01 pm:

    How do we know what the Governor is for or not for regarding pension reform. Last I checked the Governor blew off his Blue Ribbon pension committee and went alone with a six point proposal. Have we seen a bill number? Does he have language anyone can look at? Until he shows us actual legislation we will see more flips out of the Governor that the Jesse White Tumblers.


  3. - Wensicia - Wednesday, Apr 25, 12 @ 3:05 pm:

    How many staff does Quinn employ to clear up his verbal explanations? I should turn this into a ’screw in a light bulb’ joke.


  4. - illinifan - Wednesday, Apr 25, 12 @ 3:10 pm:

    Bottom line, quit dithering on this and creating uncertainty. Put the legislation together so we employees know exactly what is being proposed. Once we know what we have to actually deal with, then we can make our plans accordingly. The not knowing is getting people upset, productivity lost, and individuals making decisions without having all the facts. Just lead and get it done….the time for political games and posturing is over.


  5. - Coach - Wednesday, Apr 25, 12 @ 3:13 pm:

    Wow, that Brooke Anderson is a tough cookie!


  6. - capncrunch - Wednesday, Apr 25, 12 @ 3:50 pm:

    How can he be serious about shifting the pension cost if he does not include any savings in his budget? What,then, was the purpose of the proposal? He surely has some idea of how much would be saved.


  7. - Retired Non-Union Guy - Wednesday, Apr 25, 12 @ 3:59 pm:

    capncrunch @ 3:50 pm:

    If I was guessing, there may not be any real savings, just a slight of hand bookkeeping change where the universities get the money that should have gone into the pensions instead. Kind of like the way the school aid formula gives CSP more money because they took over their pensions years ago.

    Because the State then would technically no longer be liable for future pensions, just school aid that could vary or be cut, those future pensions would no longer be part of the “state’s indebtedness”. But that’s just my “I don’t trust them” paranoid opinion …


  8. - Trstmay - Wednesday, Apr 25, 12 @ 4:20 pm:

    If this pension plan is passed, there will be a large number of premature retirements before it becomes law. Schools and universities will save a lot of money by hiring staff at the bottom of the pay scale. If the transfer is done over 5 to 6 years., There will be minimal impact on their budgets.


  9. - Langhorne - Wednesday, Apr 25, 12 @ 6:21 pm:

    Not essential is pretty unambiguous
    Dumb to undercut a major plank the two big guys are already supporting. I suppose it saves the trouble of having to actually draft it


  10. - hisgirlfriday - Wednesday, Apr 25, 12 @ 7:07 pm:

    FYI… Pat Quinn is on “The Ed Show” on MSNBC right now talking Wisconsin vs. Illinois.

    Ed is patting Quinn on the back for being so nice to state workers in how he is balancing the budget in comparison to Walker. Guess he didn’t call AFSCME for comment?


  11. - DuPage Dave - Wednesday, Apr 25, 12 @ 7:31 pm:

    It seems clear that Quinn has no real plan. He made an announcement too soon last week. The materials he handed out were laughably sparse on details.

    All week my fellow state workers have been wondering “Well, what is his plan, exactly?”. Well, the answer is that the plan is just a loosely connected set of slogans: employees pay more; retirees get lower health insurance benefits; everybody works until they are really old.

    The baloney sausage quotes he distributed from ratings agencies were the icing on the cake.

    Every time you think Quinn has achieved his highest possible level of disappointment, he exceeds it.


  12. - wishbone - Wednesday, Apr 25, 12 @ 10:34 pm:

    “…everybody works until they are really old.”

    Kind of like everyone on Social Security.


  13. - Louis Howe - Thursday, Apr 26, 12 @ 9:02 am:

    Let’s put this in terms of life and death. According the 2006 US social security period life table, an average health 40 year old male has a 13% probability of dying before reaching age 62, a 20% before age 67, and a 25% chance of dying before age 70. In other words, 7% (20% - 13%) of 40 year old males who could have enjoyed retirement at 62 will never see age 67 and retirement. Welcome to life’s endless working treadmill.


  14. - Retired Non-Union Guy - Thursday, Apr 26, 12 @ 9:14 am:

    Louis,

    As you noted, there is an interesting anomoly in most life expectancy tables. Your 60’s are your most dangerous decade; if you survive them you are almost guarenteed to live to 80. If working is good for your health, then maybe Quinn is doing State employees a favor. However, if the stress level at a State job is really high, then Quinn is just helping along the statistics …


  15. - Louis Howe - Thursday, Apr 26, 12 @ 9:29 am:

    Actually Retired Non-Union Guy, the probability of an average 60 year old male dying before age 70 is 16% and the probability of a 70 year old dying before age 80 is 34%. Obiviouly, time has more value as we get older because fewer will live to see the next 5 to 10 years going forward. It all depends whether you find working 10 hour days the best use of your time.


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