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House Republicans go ballistic

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

* SJ-R

The difficult process of revamping Illinois’ pension systems led to a dramatic confrontation Tuesday between the top two leaders in the House of Representatives.

House Republican Leader Tom Cross of Oswego angrily objected to a pension bill backed by Speaker Michael Madigan that was approved Tuesday morning in the House Personnel and Pensions Committee.

The GOP opposition stems from a provision that would gradually shift the state’s pension costs for teachers and university employees to local school districts and universities. […]

But Cross’s efforts to eliminate the provision failed on the floor of the House, leading him to lambaste Madigan personally for a litany of pension abuses.

“Maybe you need to take responsibility, Mr. Speaker, for your actions,” Cross told the House. “For the last 40 years, you’ve had your fingerprints on the mess we’ve had today.”

* All heck broke loose

While the bill did not come up for a vote in the full House, some drama and shouting ensued on the House floor today as Republicans tried to push an amendment to the floor that would have taken the cost shift to schools out of the bill. House Minority Leader Tom Cross pointed to bipartisan efforts made in the House to pass Medicaid reform and work toward balancing the state’s budget. But Cross said that pension reform is a different story. “I had the false sense and hope that we were going to actually do something on pensions, a collaborative effort,” Cross said. Cross accused Madigan of inserting the “poison pill” of the cost shift in the bill to kill it because he says Madigan wants to stall on scaling pensions back for teachers until after the November election. “It became clear over the last couple of days that he was going to go down a route that reminded me of the old days of Mike Madigan. No more collaboration. No more bipartisanship,” Cross said. “And the biggest issue of the day, the biggest liability the state’s ever seen — we’re on the verge of getting it done, and he says: ‘No more. I’ve got a different idea. Take it or leave it.’”

Democrats used House rules to block Republicans efforts to have the amendment heard. “Total power in one person’s hands is not the American way,” shouted Rep. Mike Bost, a Murphysboro Republican.

Madigan said that most in the chamber recognize that the state’s pension system is “financially unsustainable” and has to be changed and characterized the situation as one of simple disagreement. He warned that lawmakers should not get “swept up in the emotion of the minute.” “There’s a lot of frustration here in the House of Representatives and the General Assembly. We experience it all the time on a whole variety of issues — frustration, tension, interaction with different personalities pursuing different agendas. That’s life in the General Assembly. That’s life in the House of Representatives,” Madigan said. “Many people have worked on the question of pension changes, pension reform, for several several weeks — I being one of them. I’ve adopted a certain position on pension changes. Some of you agree with me; some of you don’t. That’s what happens here legitimately, and that’s what should happen. That’s why we come here. That’s why we’re sent here.”

Madigan added: “But it doesn’t serve any purpose to let our frustration and our disappointment get away with us. It doesn’t help. We have several major issues to get resolved before we end the session. I plan to work deliberatively on all of those issues. I don’t plan to issue any threats.”

* Leader Cross talks to the media and blasts Madigan

It’s tough to argue with at least some of what Cross said. This should’ve been a far more bipartisan bill. It clearly wasn’t.

* We also have video of Rep. Bost’s tirade. It contains profanity, so be careful if you’re at work. We don’t want to get you in trouble with the folks at OEIG, right? OK

Here’s an idea: Elect more Republicans, get a majority and then you won’t have to complain so much. Also, most of the rules that Bost is complaining about were put in place by Republicans in 1995, and he voted for them.

But he does have a point that major legislation like this shouldn’t be unveiled at 7:50 in the morning and moved right away, unless, of course, both leaders agree to do it (like they did the last time pension reform was passed), then it’s OK I suppose. Or not. Whatever.

* Related and a roundup…

* Pension reform may quell Quinn’s summer plans

* Schools predict local burdens from pension plan

* Judges left out of Illinois pension reform plan

* Cross challenges Madigan on pensions

* Cross to Madigan: Take cost shift out of pension reform

* Will Mike Madigan get his way and pass pension reform in Springfield?

* Rep. Mike Bost Furious Over Quick Pension Vote

* House floor debate explodes over Democrat proposed pension cost shift

* Unions: Pension bill forces choice ‘between harm … or more harm’

* Republicans balk at pension cost shift

* Editorial: Improve the pension bill

* Editorial: Pension reform – time to set Illinois right

* Our View: Alter pension bill

* Illinois House committee approves pension overhaul

* Professors’ group urges fight against pension plan

* Vote On Pension Changes Expected At Statehouse

* Senate Battles Over Pensions, Passes Cigarette Tax Increase

* Lawmakers OK $1-a-pack cigarette tax hike

* Illinois Senate passes $1 cigarette tax increase

* Illinois Legislature passes big cigarette tax hike

* Cigarette tax increase heads to governor

* Illinois Senate approves cigarette tax increase

* Past tobacco tax hike lucrative for Illinois

* Cigarette tax hike heading to Gov. Quinn’s desk

* Senate approves tobacco tax increase

* $1 per pack tax hike passes Illinois Senate

* Our View: Cigarette tax hike good for fiscal, physical health

* Cigarette tax boost goes to Quinn

* Statement from Governor Quinn on General Assembly Passage of Legislation to Save Medicaid

* Quinn thanks lawmakers who voted for cigarette tax

- Posted by Rich Miller        


85 Comments
  1. - Oswego Willy - Wednesday, May 30, 12 @ 10:08 am:

    ===Here’s an idea: Elect more Republicans, get a majority and then you won’t have to complain so much. Also, most of the rules that Bost is complaining about were put in place by Republicans in 1995, and he voted for them.===

    Welp … Don’t need to post. Well said, and 100% true.

    Amen, Rich …Amen!


  2. - CircularFiringSquad - Wednesday, May 30, 12 @ 10:10 am:

    His point is flawed by the fact that all 4 caucus staffs worked on the amendment during the entire weekend….no surprise
    BTW some are trying to compare Bost’s toss to girl throws. We know girls…he doesn’t come close
    Where is Bill Black when we need him?


  3. - Billy - Wednesday, May 30, 12 @ 10:11 am:

    Disgraceful the way Madigan pushes his legislation, and excludes others rights for input! The Illinois legislature should not be a dictatorship run by Madigan. The people are the ones who suffer under government by one party, and one person!


  4. - Fed up - Wednesday, May 30, 12 @ 10:13 am:

    Madigan is the perfect cover photo for the mess the state is in. A career politican who has had unchecked power for years.


  5. - east central - Wednesday, May 30, 12 @ 10:15 am:

    I continue to believe that most of the major players in the legislature understand that the pension reductions are almost certain to be ruled unconstitutional. But given the resounding drumbeat from so many quarters to reduce pensions, they feel compelled to propose diminished benefits.

    In the end, the pension systems will be saved by transferring normal costs to the direct employers, by changing lesser elements such as money-purchase, by altering long-term targets/assumptions, and by the State actually making its annual contributions (with some overall budget help from offloading normal costs and retiree health insurance costs).

    Employees in the retirement systems will experience reduced compensation during working years due to the drain on local budgets from the shift of normal costs to their employers, and annuitants will have to cover insurance costs. The transfer of normal costs is gradual and most of it will come out of employee pockets rather than result in increased local taxes.

    The transfer of normal costs is the key to pension reform. Through whatever tortured political and judicial path pension reform follows, the transfer will be there even if dies now and has to be brought back after the courts throw out other elements.

    What a crazy process.


  6. - Ahoy! - Wednesday, May 30, 12 @ 10:17 am:

    –Also, most of the rules that Bost is complaining about were put in place by Republicans in 1995, and he voted for them.–

    Let’s not let facts get in the way of good drama.


  7. - TwoFeetThick - Wednesday, May 30, 12 @ 10:18 am:

    === Disgraceful the way Madigan pushes his legislation, and excludes others rights for input! The Illinois legislature should not be a dictatorship run by Madigan. The people are the ones who suffer under government by one party, and one person!===

    That you, Rep. Bost?


  8. - Jake From Elwood - Wednesday, May 30, 12 @ 10:21 am:

    You cannot have Bombast without Bost.
    Yeah I watched it three times.


  9. - 3rd Generation Chicago Native - Wednesday, May 30, 12 @ 10:25 am:

    Bost certainly made all the morning news stations in Chicago, and I expect to see him on all the evening news as well with his tirade.
    One way to make yourself known with all the free publicity.


  10. - Jake From Elwood - Wednesday, May 30, 12 @ 10:28 am:

    Rep. Cross has one point that is particularly telling…where are the hordes of protesting teachers? Some of them are already out of school for the summer. It seems likely that the “wink and a nod” by the Speaker to the IEA/NEA has occurred.


  11. - Steve Bartin - Wednesday, May 30, 12 @ 10:28 am:

    Shouldn’t there be hearings and debate on pension reform? After all, it affects millions of people. Yes, Boat voted for the current rules . Yes, the current rules are a failure. But, how is Madigan’s one man rule working? Don’t people getting a pension check deserve more consideration?


  12. - Bill - Wednesday, May 30, 12 @ 10:29 am:

    I think east central has the solution and didn’t violate the constitution once. Everybody gets a haircut, no one gets scalped, remember? And don’t forget tht normal cost reduces to almost zero over time in tier 2. It is not that hard, but it doesn’t hurt pensioners and employees enough to satisfy the Civic Committee blood lust or the Trib’s hatred.


  13. - Rich Miller - Wednesday, May 30, 12 @ 10:31 am:

    ===Shouldn’t there be hearings and debate on pension reform? ===

    They’ve had a kabillion hearings, with another long one yesterday.


  14. - soccermom - Wednesday, May 30, 12 @ 10:31 am:

    Note to Rep. Bost’s staff — Take away his DVD of Mr. Smith Goes to Washington.


  15. - Nearly Normal - Wednesday, May 30, 12 @ 10:32 am:

    We “hordes” of protesting teachers were there last week. And what did a lot of the legislators do then? They hid in their offices and would not meet with us or hustled by saying they had a caucus to attend.

    The telephones are getting a workout these days and Cross knows that. He just wanted a sound bite and he got it.


  16. - gg - Wednesday, May 30, 12 @ 10:34 am:

    I agree with Bill.
    How odd.


  17. - Oswego Willy - Wednesday, May 30, 12 @ 10:40 am:

    ===Yes, Bost voted for the current rules . Yes, the current rules are a failure. But, how is Madigan’s one man rule working?===

    Then … decide that being a Minority isn’t working, run GOOD campaigns in REALISTIC districts, and take “the battle to Madigan”.

    Attention HGOP;

    The Bost Tirade.

    While focused on Madigan, it should be focused on you all, as a caucus, as a “political operation”.

    To affect “Change”, be that “Change”. If you don’t mind being the Minority, then let the Bost Tirade hang out there and “wait”. You want the Bost Tirade to mean something … then do SOMETHING … in November.

    If you complain about the “MAP” and its not even June, then you have lost already, and you deserve the “leadership” you have.

    If you, as a Caucus, can NOT get candidates to run against ALL that is going on, and make a case, and run reasonably decent campaigns with some sort of plan, then you deserve all you get, and you let all us in the GOP down.

    This is your wake-up call, via the Bost Tirade. Are you, as a Caucus, ready to commit to what it takes to win?


  18. - hisgirlfriday - Wednesday, May 30, 12 @ 10:46 am:

    I understand the sentiment of fingering Madigan as the one common denominator of Illinois politics the last several decades and thus blaming him for decade-long problems, but is Tom Cross the purest vessel to make that charge?

    Tom Cross would have a lot more credibility as a champion of pension sanity had he not joined in on the $10 B pension balloon payment scheme that his once-pal Blago wanted in 2003.

    http://illinoisissues.uis.edu/features/2003june/bonds.html

    I really would like to know how much of our pension troubles relate to that deal, if at all, given the way that was premised on so much expectation of stock market returns that were probably unrealistic after the 2008-09 crash and before Bear Stearns imploded, if they were ever realistic.

    Kind of crazy how that deal sent Blago to prison, put Kjellander in hot water with feds, but Cross and Madigan’s role completely forgotten.


  19. - Sunshine - Wednesday, May 30, 12 @ 10:50 am:

    Is it just me or is Bost just trying to cover his butt with his constituents?

    Just get the uneasy feeling he’s trying to cover up something he didn’t do?


  20. - Sue - Wednesday, May 30, 12 @ 10:53 am:

    Cost Shifting AINT hte same as cost reductions- All Madigan is attempting to do is shift the cost of past pensin largess onto suburban and downstate property owners WITHOUT significantly changing what will be paid to the retired teachers- Hey Mr Speaker- if you really want reform why not impose a salary freeze in terms of future pension credits- It would drastically improve the funding obligation going forward- All you need to do is legislate that no present employee now under the old credit formulas would be eligible for pension credit on any future salary increase- to protect the less senior pension members you could use a base annual salary of lets say 60K for those now making below the threshhold- this wouldn’t be an impairment since it won’t effect existing benefit accruals


  21. - the Patriot - Wednesday, May 30, 12 @ 10:54 am:

    I think what Bost is saying is it is wrong for one guy to control every vote through what are known methods of threat and intimidation. You know if you are a D, you sit down and shut up or you will loose in the next primary. Last time I checked in 1995 the state was not about to collapse, it is now and Madigan is to blame yet the ax he weilds over legislator’s heads keeps real reform from occurring. It also helps he has used a gestapo typ move in ensuring his daughter is the chief Law enforcement officer in the state to ensure any questions of legality of his actions come through him first.

    It is time the downstate democrats either demand input or go by the wayside. Bradley stomped around on work comp reform then became Madigan’s puppet when it mattered to protect the AG’s gross incompetence in the handling of the claims.

    Face reality, we live in a dictatorship and if any of you think that is a good think I am really scared.


  22. - reformer - Wednesday, May 30, 12 @ 10:57 am:

    “Total power in one person’s hands is not the American way,” shouted Rep. Mike Bost, a Murphysboro Republican.

    Bost came to the House in 1995 and promptly voted for Speaker Daniels’ rules, which included establishing the infamous one-man veto that Bost now calls un-American. What was it when he voted for it?


  23. - Shore - Wednesday, May 30, 12 @ 11:00 am:

    In 2010 when republicans around the country were romping almost everywhere including illinois at the congressional level, springfield republicans couldn’t get their act together and take advantage of a stalled economic recovery and the blago fiasco. I share mr. bost’s sentiments and frustration, but it’s his party’s own darn fault they’ve been politically incompetent for 10 years if not longer. I’ve said before that in the chicago media market cross and radogno have no name recognition or presence whatsoever. I was at events over the weekend with suburbanites who absolutely hate what is going on in springfield and who are well read and up to date on issues but NOT ONE could name a single springfield republican or what they stand for or what they are doing.

    Radogno has the no doubt about it most unpleasant demeanor of any politician I’ve ever seen on tv and I don’t know what tom cross does all day or what pat brady does but these guys are an absolute png in the chicago media market driving any kind of message or political agenda.


  24. - gg - Wednesday, May 30, 12 @ 11:01 am:

    Great idea Sue.

    It will never fly.

    The GA will not tie their own hands when handing out pension rights to their friends. IMHO.


  25. - Oswego Willy - Wednesday, May 30, 12 @ 11:02 am:

    ===I don’t know what tom cross does all day===

    On Election Day, you can find Tom Cross at Medinah Country Club …

    Boy, I wish that was Snark…


  26. - Cheryl44 - Wednesday, May 30, 12 @ 11:03 am:

    What a maroon. The Republicans don’t want to do anything except blame the Democrats. Personally, I blame all of them for this mess.


  27. - reformer - Wednesday, May 30, 12 @ 11:07 am:

    == It seems likely that the “wink and a nod” by the Speaker to the IEA/NEA has occurred. ==
    Is Ty Fahner and the Commercial Club in on this conspiracy with the teachers’ unions? Since Ty endorsed the Madigan plan, he’d have to be — unless there is no wink-and-a-nod in the first place.


  28. - wordslinger - Wednesday, May 30, 12 @ 11:09 am:

    –The people are the ones who suffer under government by one party, and one person!–

    That’s right. When are they going to give the people a chance to vote for their reps. in the GA, anyway?

    Given the chance, the people would certainly flock to the reasonable, mature, intelligent and sober leadership of a statesman like Rep. Bost.

    He got a lot of play on TV up north. The issue wasn’t really addressed. It was covered just as TV does a water-skiing squirrel or a golfer getting hitting in the crotch on someone’s backswing. All for the visuals.


  29. - J - Wednesday, May 30, 12 @ 11:09 am:

    I’m not sure you can really blame the HGOP. I think they’re doing an excellent job representing the views of their constituents.

    Anyone who nominates Bill “Puppy-Killer” Brady for Governor clearly isn’t very interested in winning and/or governing.


  30. - Oswego Willy - Wednesday, May 30, 12 @ 11:15 am:

    - J -

    You can’t blame the HGOP? Who deserves the blame for being the Minority Party? No one takes the blame, everyone thinks all is “fine”, and the HGOP lives another 10 years in the Minority at the rate you think things are fine …

    Further,

    Bill Brady would have stopped the “map”, so be glad Brady lost! We need to cut off of nose …

    Geez, - J-, are you really happy with the HGOP or the SGOP? We are just a few seats away from being “veto-proofed’ out of everyting in Illinois, legislatively.

    But the HGOP is doing “…an excellent job representing the views of their constituents.”

    Brutal.


  31. - Red Fred - Wednesday, May 30, 12 @ 11:23 am:

    Once again the furiously stamping feet of the GOP dilettantes could almost be heard.


  32. - wordslinger - Wednesday, May 30, 12 @ 11:30 am:

    –It also helps he has used a gestapo typ move in ensuring his daughter is the chief Law enforcement officer in the state to ensure any questions of legality of his actions come through him first. –

    What “gestapo typ” move was that? Free elections?

    Please illuminate us on your understanding of the Gestapo.

    What actions are you questioning the legality of?

    And these guys wonder why they’re in a permanent minority.

    It’s a crying shame there’s not an intelligent alternative to the Democratic majority in Illinois. There used to be.


  33. - just sayin' - Wednesday, May 30, 12 @ 11:31 am:

    It’s hard to imagine the House Republicans becoming a bigger joke.

    Mike Bost is clearly unstable. He should resign for the good of his constituents.


  34. - The Straight Dope - Wednesday, May 30, 12 @ 11:32 am:

    It’s more than a bit disingenuous for Cross to challenge Madigan’s motives being driven by the unions, when he fails to point out that House Amendment 2 to Senate Bill 1673 allows “[a]ny officer or employee of a statewide teacher organization or officer of a national teacher organization” to continue to participate in the public pension system. Remember the outcry regarding the two teacher union lobbyists who substitute taught for one day in order to game the system? What happened to all of those “reformers” who wanted to clean up the politics and limit eligibility to those who are legitimately eligible and employed in the PUBLIC sector? It’s just another example of Illinois politics at work and the how the Illinois’ money exchange allows those in power to take care of their own self-interests. Same stuff, different day.


  35. - soccermom - Wednesday, May 30, 12 @ 11:34 am:

    Listen, Patriot - It’s one thing to oppose the Speaker. You’ve got some good company there. But to accuse the Attorney General of using “Gestapo” tactics to protect her father from prosecution is way, way out of line. Is Lisa sending guys in jackboots to your house in the middle of the night to execute your family before your eyes? If so, you could probably mention that to the U.S. Attorney and the State’s Attorney in your county. Heck, just call 911. I’m guessing they’ll show up, despite the Great and All-Powerful Speaker of Madiganistan.


  36. - Rich Miller - Wednesday, May 30, 12 @ 11:38 am:

    ===Face reality, we live in a dictatorship and if any of you think that is a good think I am really scared. ===

    Spoken like somebody who has no clue what an actual dictatorship really looks like.


  37. - Oswego Willy - Wednesday, May 30, 12 @ 11:45 am:

    ===And these guys wonder why they’re in a permanent minority.

    It’s a crying shame there’s not an intelligent alternative to the Democratic majority in Illinois. There used to be.===

    They don’t “wonder”, the HGOP accepts it, and embraces it. I say that because the actions they take as a Caucus proves they “accept” they are nothing but a Minority Party.

    There once was a “choice”. There once was leadership that made the differences to be relevent and made them partners in the process.

    There is no intellegent alternative, becaue there is not any intellegence in defeating the HDEMS. There is no intellegence in deffeating the SDEMS, and there is no one out there building that alternative, let alone intellegently.

    But, we can golf on Election Day …


  38. - wordslinger - Wednesday, May 30, 12 @ 11:47 am:

    ===Face reality, we live in a dictatorship and if any of you think that is a good think I am really scared. ===

    That’s a despicable statement.

    The reality you need to face, pal, is that by accident of birth you live in the United States on May 30, 2012, and not Syria.


  39. - Ace Laredo - Wednesday, May 30, 12 @ 11:49 am:

    Does anybody care to forecast when and if the session will end?


  40. - Oswego Willy - Wednesday, May 30, 12 @ 11:49 am:

    ===There is no intellegent alternative, becaue there is not any intellegence in defeating the HDEMS. There is no intellegence in deffeating the SDEMS, and there is no one out there building that alternative, let alone intellegently.===

    Spell Check would make this more compelling … lol

    There is no intelligent alternative, because there is not any intelligence in defeating the HDEMS. There is no intelligence in defeating the SDEMS, and there is no one out there building that alternative, let alone intelligently.


  41. - Cincinnatus - Wednesday, May 30, 12 @ 12:11 pm:

    Lost among Bost’s rant and the back and forth here is the very real point that a 300 page bill was distributed to members just hours before the vote. Even given that staff analysis is available (and given the rate of change of the bill how comprehensive can it be), a conscientious member (if there is such a thing) is physically unable to read and absorb the thing. We have been talking about the pension problem for years, yet we have allowed proposals to be delayed until the 11th hour, and get action only because supermajorities are required after May 31.


  42. - soccermom - Wednesday, May 30, 12 @ 12:15 pm:

    Rich, isn’t there something special you could do to invoke Godwin’s Law on a thread? I think Gestapo counts…


  43. - Rich Miller - Wednesday, May 30, 12 @ 12:19 pm:

    ===Rich, isn’t there something special you could do===

    I thought I’d leave it up to show what a doofus he is.


  44. - Anon 1 - Wednesday, May 30, 12 @ 12:19 pm:

    Let’s get to heart of the matter. Minority leader Cross threw a temper tantrum because he did not get his way, and because he’s now caught in a box with his business buddies after puffing his chest over pensions for two years.

    Patriot, you’re ridiculous. So one-man rule is OK as long as the state is not “about to collapse” thanks to a nationwide recession and budget problems caused by both parties over many decades? Got it. It never ceases to amaze how some people are completely convinced the troubles of this state were all caused by one person alone. We could talk about the many contributions of Jim Thompson’s 14 years, Pate Philip and his 10-year rule, George Ryan, Jim Edgar, Phil Rock, Emil Jones, but alas, they matter not because they’re no longer here. Only room enough in this state for one bogeyman at a time.

    And if you have a problem with Lisa Madigan being the AG, perhaps you should take it up with the voters who elected her to that office three times.


  45. - LS - Wednesday, May 30, 12 @ 12:28 pm:

    There are a lot of people throwing around words like “dictatorship” and “gestapo”. Just please stop the over the top hyperbole. Come up with a better line or just leave already. This petty whining of rank amatures who act like they just walked out of Civics 101 and are just learning how the world works. Enough. It’s one party in the minority upset that they are in the minority. If the GOP was in control of either chamber, or anything for that matter, they wouldn’t be holding hands and singing around the chamber with Dems. It’s all pretty normal parts of a legislative system. You’ve seen it before, act like it, if you haven’t, shut up and learn something.


  46. - Jim - Wednesday, May 30, 12 @ 12:36 pm:

    Rich’s point about GOP bellyaching and their need to elect more Republicans is theoretically correct. But the fact is that Madigan gerrymandered the districts to ensure the GOP will not be successful in winning a majority.
    Even in the 2012 national GOP landslide, legislative Republicans picked up only a handful of seats. Madigan and Cullerton remain firmly in control and will continue to do so now that they have freshly gerrymandered the districts.
    As far as Bost voting for the rules he’s complaining about, that may well be true. I take Rich at his word on that. Neither side has clean hands when it comes to trying to bully the minority party. I don’t see the point of that. If you have the majority, let the other guys be heard and vote them down.


  47. - Small Town Liberal - Wednesday, May 30, 12 @ 12:37 pm:

    Man, I thought Sam Kinison had passed away. I’m really looking forward to Rep. Bost introducing the “Move To Where The Food Is!” bill in response to the food desert problem.


  48. - Oswego Willy - Wednesday, May 30, 12 @ 12:38 pm:

    Question, no snark …

    No one can replace Bill Black … heck, the HGOP needed 2 people by the time they figured it out.

    However,

    Mike Bost … Good move to be seen in the “Bill Black” role, or should Bost not taken this on?

    I am talking about Mike Bost as a person & legislator, and taking on the “Bill Balck” role for his Caucus, in that context.


  49. - mark walker - Wednesday, May 30, 12 @ 12:45 pm:

    It must be an election year after all.

    Despite lip service to the reality that fixing this problem will bring some pain to every interest group and constituency in the state, — when Dems step up to the challenge with a comprehensive plan, after weeks of discussions and hearings, and endanger their own political support among retirees, social service recipients, healthcare providers, and union members, the Republicans refuse to participate when one relatively small part of it will look bad in some key competitive suburban districts.

    The rest is all noise and theater.


  50. - Oswego Willy - Wednesday, May 30, 12 @ 12:47 pm:

    ===Rich’s point about GOP bellyaching and their need to elect more Republicans is theoretically correct. But the fact is that Madigan gerrymandered the districts to ensure the GOP will not be successful in winning a majority.
    Even in the 2012 national GOP landslide, legislative Republicans picked up only a handful of seats. Madigan and Cullerton remain firmly in control and will continue to do so now that they have freshly gerrymandered the districts.===

    Speaker Madigan 1996-2004, Repub Map, Dem Control …HGOP, SGOP ….Excuses, excuses.

    By the way, it’s not even June and we have conceded both chambers already …if that is the case, then Cross and Radogno need to hand the reigns to someone who will at least do something except complain about the map.


  51. - Jake From Elwood - Wednesday, May 30, 12 @ 12:51 pm:

    STL, Bost is a more couth version of Lee Elia than Kinison. The tirades of both Bost and Elia were mere bombast, but Kinison’s were art.


  52. - wordslinger - Wednesday, May 30, 12 @ 12:58 pm:

    –If you have the majority, let the other guys be heard and vote them down.–

    I’m quite certain Rep. Bost was heard, all around the world by now.

    From the YouTube clip, the discipline demonstrated by his surrounding seatmates was most impressive. The lady in the purple dress seated right behind him almost lost it at one point, but kept it together. Well done.

    Here’s where she almost broke down. It’s by far the best line, and one that doesn’t come up very often in everyday conversation:

    “I feel like somebody trying to be released from Egypt! Let my people go!”

    And a plague of 8.5 x 11 copy paper descended upon the land. But speaker’s heart remained hard.

    Try frogs next time, Rep. Bost.


  53. - Cook County Commoner - Wednesday, May 30, 12 @ 1:00 pm:

    It’s not a dictatorship or a conspiracy. If one checks the numbers of Illinois state and local gov employees entitled to a pension and those presently collecting and add in their dependents, I suspect it’s a substantial percentage of the number of citizens who vote. Add in union contributions and pension friendly campaign workers, I bet the pro-pension constituency has controlled a fair number of past elections throughout Illinois, with the help of voters who reflexively vote democratic. This is a representative democracy and the “gimme gimme” folks got their people in. The only remaining question is how much they can gouge the rest of us until we rebel and vote them out, if we even can.
    Trying to pass a chunk of the liability down to the school districts is a master stroke. When the inevitable cutbacks are put on the table, the teachers send the mommies out door knocking with their kids in tow pleading “It’s for the children” to justify a real estate tax hike.
    I enjoyed the hysteria, but the angry legislators should watch some news clips of the South Korean Diet when things get testy. Throwing chairs and hurling smoke bombs is routine.
    If I can’t get government for all the people, at least give me some entertainment.


  54. - Robert - Wednesday, May 30, 12 @ 1:16 pm:

    I wonder - Is Cross sincere in his anger with Madigan or, fearing he was looking like he compromises too much with the Democrats to the base, was he just putting on a good show for Tea Party supporters?


  55. - Surf1 - Wednesday, May 30, 12 @ 1:19 pm:

    Amidst all of this angst surrounding the need for pension reform, discussion of cuts to education, etc., why are our illuistrious members of the House only one vote away from passing a new - and unfunded, yet costly - statewide so-called plastic bag and film recycling bill (SB 3442).

    California has already shown - using a more rigorous approach - the plastic bag recycling simply does not work. So, we taxpayers are going to pay for a new and ill-advised statewide mandatory “recycling” program to capture miniscule amounts of waste, while the volume of waste spirals out of control?

    The irony is heavy, but not entertaining. Call your rep(s) and tell them to oppose SB 3442. We can’t afford it.


  56. - soccermom - Wednesday, May 30, 12 @ 1:24 pm:

    Rich — I wasn’t suggesting deletion or banishment. More like a special list of Godwin’s Law violators, who would be eligible for a golden horsehoe all their own…


  57. - Anonymous - Wednesday, May 30, 12 @ 1:29 pm:

    “Tyranny was fine when we were in control.”


  58. - Wensicia - Wednesday, May 30, 12 @ 1:35 pm:

    Perhaps Bost figures the Joe Walsh screaming act gets you face time and network notice, forgetting it also makes you look like a complete jacka**. If any representative of mine acted like that, I would never vote for them again.


  59. - too obvious - Wednesday, May 30, 12 @ 1:39 pm:

    Very sad that a guy like Mike Bost who once wore a Marine uniform (saw no action, but still) has become a screaming baby throwing hissy fits.

    Resign Mr. Bost and go get some help for what are obviously serious issues. You’re an embarrassment to yourself, your party, and your state.


  60. - Fed up - Wednesday, May 30, 12 @ 2:01 pm:

    At the end of the day after 10+ years of complete dem control Illinois is a fiscal laughing stock. Tax increases ( that we were lied to about) service cuts, corruption at every level of government I think more than just one chicago house district could be labeled low information voters.


  61. - Anon - Wednesday, May 30, 12 @ 2:09 pm:

    Illinois is a sinking ship, just like California. It is interesting to see how the Democrats refuse to take meaningful action that will cut pension costs.


  62. - GOPlogic - Wednesday, May 30, 12 @ 2:17 pm:

    “For the last 40 years, you’ve had your fingerprints on the mess we’ve had today.” - Cross

    By that logic, Tom Cross is responsible for at least half of the problem, since he was first elected to the General Assembly in 1992.


  63. - Anonymous - Wednesday, May 30, 12 @ 2:27 pm:

    Anon:

    So taking away a guaranteed 3% COLA each year isn’t a meaningful pension cost cutting measure? Brilliant analysis. Perhaps pensioners slitting their wrists and giving up blood would suit you better. Apologies to you if people’s pensions aren’t cut off.


  64. - Demoralized - Wednesday, May 30, 12 @ 2:27 pm:

    That was me above . . . sorry


  65. - reformer - Wednesday, May 30, 12 @ 2:44 pm:

    == It is interesting to see how the Democrats refuse to take meaningful action that will cut pension costs. ==

    Ty Fahner calls the Madigan plan meaningful action. But what does the Commercial Club know?


  66. - Anon - Wednesday, May 30, 12 @ 2:47 pm:

    To think the Illinois Republican party (the true Republican Power) wants R control of the house your sadly mistaken. They know what they have in Madigan and they are all power brokers that shape this state. If your representing me on my real estate taxes, corporate taxes and giving us big business tax breaks, Im not complaining. I say the Speaker is doing a standup job.


  67. - reformer - Wednesday, May 30, 12 @ 2:53 pm:

    Fed up
    You blame Democrats for tax increases. The cigarette tax got the bare minimum vote in the House and had 18 GOP Yes votes. Do they share in the blame?

    Then there were the numerous tax and fee hikes to pay for the capital plan that the majority of Republicans voted for in 2009. Don’t those count?

    == Minority leader Cross threw a temper tantrum because he did not get his way, and because he’s now caught in a box with his business buddies after puffing his chest over pensions for two years. ==
    I’ll second that motion!


  68. - HGW XX/7 - Wednesday, May 30, 12 @ 3:58 pm:

    A cautionary tale from Arizona:

    http://www.azcentral.com/news/politics/articles/2012/05/29/20120529maricopa-judge-pension-raises.html#ixzz1wMtPh84v

    The bottom line is the state cannot renege on what is promised.


  69. - One of the 35 - Wednesday, May 30, 12 @ 3:59 pm:

    Bost’s anger on this one is justified. Madigan crafted the move to skip two years of pension contributions making an already bad situation much worse. When is Madigan going to be held accountable for that stupid move?


  70. - steve schnorf - Wednesday, May 30, 12 @ 4:20 pm:

    The normal cost isn’t the problem, although moving it to the local school districts, universities, and community colleges seems to me to make very good sense, especially if the move is phased in.

    The unfunded liability is the problem, and the income the pensions systems don’t receive because of it. The COLAs are a major contributor. I would like to see a number on how much the proposed changes in COLA make to the unfunded liability.


  71. - Six Degrees of Separation - Wednesday, May 30, 12 @ 4:56 pm:

    Steve S. - your unfunded liability analysis would be a lot more meaningful if it included a sensitivity analysis - showing what happens if, say, only 20% of state workers and retirees take the bait vs. 80%, and in between. Or how much more unfunded liability the system gains if this scheme is ruled unconstitutional 2 years down the road, and how much further ahead the state would be with a more solidly constitutional plan.

    As I posted previously, there has to be legislative nervousness about the legality. Otherwise, a unilateral and unconditional reduction of the COLA would be in order instead of the “voluntary coercion” of the present proposal that mixes state healthcare in.


  72. - Anon - Wednesday, May 30, 12 @ 5:49 pm:

    “So taking away a guaranteed 3% COLA each year isn’t a meaningful pension cost cutting measure?”

    Yes, not meaningful. An ice cube off an iceberg.


  73. - Anon - Wednesday, May 30, 12 @ 6:42 pm:

    Yeah moving the cost to local government makes perfect sense if you want to continue to spend out of conrol at the state level (which caused the pension debt in the first place)and use downstate local government taxes to pay for chicago teacher pension costs (where the democrat base is). I just wonder why the republicans are going along with all this when it will destroy downstate local governments and they will get blamed for destroying pensions by their voters for very little in return.


  74. - Inactive - Wednesday, May 30, 12 @ 7:37 pm:

    As has been said over and over, shared sacrifice. It’s amazing that when talking about cutting COLAs and health insurance for public employees and retirees there’s an excited hum in the air. When the sacrifice is shared with people outside of this group, suddenly there’s unfairness about this. Unconfuse me abour what shared means.


  75. - wordslinger - Wednesday, May 30, 12 @ 7:42 pm:

    –use downstate local government taxes to pay for chicago teacher pension costs (where the democrat base is).–

    Chicago taxpayers pay for Chicago teacher pensions.

    Illinois taxpayers, including Chicagoans, now pay for suburban and downstate teacher pensions.

    There’s been a lot of hollering the past couple of years to cut state spending and reduce the state’s pension liability.

    Careful what you wish for, you just might get it.


  76. - Demoralized - Wednesday, May 30, 12 @ 8:03 pm:

    ==Yeah moving the cost to local government makes perfect sense if you want to continue to spend out of conrol at the state level (which caused the pension debt in the first place)==

    Uh, the pension costs are already there. You have to pay for them one way or the other. And the Republicans aren’t going along with anything. Except for being good at whining, they are generally useless beings in terms of getting anything done right now.


  77. - steve schnorf - Wednesday, May 30, 12 @ 8:13 pm:

    word, you and your pesky facts


  78. - Anon - Wednesday, May 30, 12 @ 8:46 pm:

    No “Word” i think you need to check your facts, SPRINGFIELD — House Speaker Michael Madigan’s plan to redirect more than a billion dollars to teacher pension costs rather than to local governments will be opposed by downstate and suburban lawmakers….Madigan’s plan, contained in an amendment he introduced last week, would take $1.4 billion from the personal property tax replacement fund that goes to local governments and direct it instead to the badly underfunded Teachers’ Retirement System. The amendment is on HB 3637″.


  79. - Bob - Wednesday, May 30, 12 @ 8:54 pm:

    Madigan could care less what happens outside Cook county. He will be re-elected in his district. But the people, family and friends may remember this and Lisa may problems in two years.


  80. - western illinois - Wednesday, May 30, 12 @ 9:01 pm:

    Bob I am sure he will be re-elected but I would not want to be a suburban or downstate democrat


  81. - Anon 1 - Wednesday, May 30, 12 @ 9:19 pm:

    Anon, your response includes the very point Word was trying to make. Let me take a stab. TRS is the downstate teachers’ pension fund, which every taxpayer in Illinois - including Chicago - pays for. Retired Chicago teachers have their own fund, which Chicago taxpayers pay for.

    As for the Bost tirade, is my memory failing me, or was it Mike Bost who just last week recited on the House floor a quote about how “statesmen look to the next generation” just before he cast a vote in support of the cigarette tax increase? We can only assume he was talking about himself since he voted for the bill. Now he does this and caps it off by proudly saying he won’t apologize for his words or his actions. Far from statesmanlike.

    If you want to throw childlike fits, fine. As a member of the minority party, someone has to fill that role, though the display was more than a little overproduced. If you want to publicly proclaim yourself a statesman because you happen to take one tough vote, fine, though doing so is absurdly arrogant. Just don’t do both.


  82. - Max - Wednesday, May 30, 12 @ 9:21 pm:

    The fix for the pension problem is to put the problem on people who had nothing to do with creating it. It is sad to see state employees running for the exits as a result of poor governance. God help us.


  83. - Yellow Dog Democrat - Wednesday, May 30, 12 @ 11:07 pm:

    Anon 1, mark walker, and reformer are spot-on in their political analysis.

    Republicans have been complaining about unions, pensions, and Illinois’ “financial mess.”

    Now that a bill is before them that would address the “financial mess,” and reform pensions — according to one of the most prominent business groups in the state — Tom Cross doesn’t want to vote for it.

    Yes, Tom, you’re right. You thought you had Mike Madigan in a tight spot, and he pulled his legendary legislative judo on you. Again.

    Cross, if you can figure out some way to convince the voters of Illinois that they ought to pay the pensions of public employees in Missouri, Indiana, or in the case of this legislation, Kane County school districts, you’re a better man than I am. Or anyone I know. Because frankly, I don’t even think the voters of Kane County think someone else should be paying the pensions of their local public employees.


  84. - SkiTer - Thursday, May 31, 12 @ 6:36 am:

    I have a hard time undestanding this whole “guaranteed pension” business…

    As a employee of a union for 20 years with a union defined benefit pension plan (which I pay for with a $7 per hour contribution), I cannot receive a “guarantee” of a benefit anywhere. Recently our union discovered a huge financial shortfall and our members and retirees were served noticed of an across the board 20% pension cut effective immediately. I had a pension from a job I worked many years ago and received a letter from them saying that the pension was bankrupt and I rated no PGG&C benefit because I didn’t meet the criteria as a pension holder.

    I sincerely doubt at my age I will ever see a social security benefit for all I am paying in, at least if I retire before the age of 75.

    The difference is that my union, my company I work for, or former employers can’t turn around and demand someone else pay for the shortfalls of the plans or for incredibly poor managment/funding of those plans.

    I really want to be sympathetic to these public sector employees but I find I really hard considering the “guaranteed benefits” they have just cause me to pay more and work longer. I’m pretty sure the former United Airlines workers, the former SteelWorkers Unions and the like would love to enjoy the same “guarantees”, they just pretty much took it in the shorts and made due. Yes I do understand those pensions were poorly managed, funded, and also in some cases exorbitant also… I do see some correlation there…

    If you rely only on the politicians to ensure your happy retirement


  85. - SkiTer - Thursday, May 31, 12 @ 6:48 am:

    Sorry hit send a little early…

    If you rely on politicians for your happy retirement, you are bound for trouble.

    I hope they do find a way to fix this and get them all the benefits they were promised. I just don’t feel the need to pay $10k in property taxes and work more to provide them with that when I don’t share the same luxury. The days of our fathers pension systems are gone…


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