* From a new poll conducted for the We Are One Illinois coalition…
Illinois state government has budget problems. Governor Quinn and other politicians say these problems are caused by public employee pay and pensions that should be cut. Public employees say they are middle-class workers like teachers, police, and caregivers, and the budget problems are caused mostly because rich people and big corporations don’t pay their fair share. Which do you agree with more?
You may know that the pension funds for retired public employees like teachers, police, caregivers, and nurses are $97 billion short of the amount they owe to current and future retirees. What do you think is more responsible for the pension debt: public employees with overly generous benefits or politicians who skipped pension payments?
Overly generous public employee benefits are more responsible for the pension debt… 27%
Politicians skipping pension payments are… 64%
Not sure… 9%
There are different ideas about how to solve the pension problem. Governor Quinn and many other politicians support cutting pension benefits earned by retired public employees. Do you support or oppose cutting public employee pensions?
Not sure… 11%
…The most significant change proposed by Governor Quinn and other politicians would reduce the pension cost of living adjustment, or COLA, that protects retired public employees from inflation, similar to the COLA earned by Social Security recipients. Politicians say the provision is not affordable. Retirees say they need it to keep up with rising costs. Do you think the cost of living adjustment should be cut or preserved?
* Chris Wetterich thinks these are totally biased question…
The question loads up the description of the parties involved with heavily biased terms. The public generally has a positive view of teachers, police and caregivers. Not so much school administrators, state bureaucrats and DMV workers (although I’ve received very good service at the DMV the few times I’ve renewed my Illinois license). Why not just ask about “public employees,” a neutral term?
And “rich” people, “politicians” and “big corporations” aren’t exactly popular these days. It’s as biased (and inaccurate based on recent job creation numbers) as the right calling them “job creators.” So it’s no surprise that people sided with the teachers, caregivers and cops.
* But it’s not as simple as that. First, that’s the language the unions are using in their public arguments against the changes. So, the poll is basically just testing their arguments.
Second, the numbers are pretty close to this October, 2012 Tribune poll…
The poll found that 51 percent blamed the state’s politicians alone for Illinois’ pension problems while only 2 percent said it was just the fault of public workers. Another 32 percent said they believed it was a combination of state workers and politicians who created the problem. […]
Voters across the state were even more divided on another plan pushed by Democratic leaders that would alter benefits for current retirees and existing state workers.
Under that plan, workers and retirees could choose to forgo an annual compounded 3 percent cost-of-living increase to their pension in exchange for being able to have access to the state’s health insurance program. Workers and pensioners who choose to keep the cost-of-living increase would have to find their own health insurance. […]
The poll found that 32 percent of the state’s voters favored the plan, while 35 percent opposed it — within the survey’s 3.7 percentage-point margin of error. Another 33 percent of voters didn’t know enough about the proposal to take a side.
* And here’s a June, 2012 poll taken for Crain’s…
And asked whether workers should be forced to choose between paying 3 percent more or losing their state-provided retirement health care, Illinois residents are split 42 percent against and 40 percent in favor.
So, the percentage who believe the politicians messed things up is very similar. The percentage in favor of the pension reform COLA plan is similar. The percentage against is higher in the labor poll, but that’s to be expected with such wording.
So, yeah, some biased wording, but it definitely served its purpose.
* Meanwhile, the NFIB released the results of what it calls a “member ballot”…
Illinois members of the National Federation of Independent Business overwhelmingly oppose any legislation that would increase the state’s minimum wage.
That’s according to the results of the 2013 NFIB/Illinois Member Ballot, released today. Unlike other business groups, NFIB doesn’t have a board of directors that dictates its public-policy positions. NFIB’s positions are based solely on input from its members; the Member Ballot is the most important part of that process.
“When we asked our members whether the General Assembly should raise the minimum wage, the answer was ‘absolutely not,’” said Kim Clarke Maisch, state director of NFIB/Illinois, the state’s leading small-business association, with over 11,000 dues-paying members representing a broad cross section of the state’s economy.
According to the 2013 Member Ballot:
88.4 percent of members oppose a wage increase, compared with 5.5 percent who favor an increase and 6 percent who were undecided or didn’t answer.
81.7 percent said they oppose tying the minimum wage to the Consumer Price Index to allow for automatic annual increases, compared with 9.5 percent who support the idea and 8.8 percent who were undecided or didn’t answer.