Well, it was concise, which is rare for this Governor. But it’s also incomplete. Given the House revenue number is half a billion less than the Governor’s, the General Assembly has to take its knife to an already lean budget.
Nobody is going to have any fun with that. Quinn’s 5% cuts will be closer to 15% cuts when the ink is dry on this budget.
- Small Town Liberal - Wednesday, Mar 6, 13 @ 12:51 pm:
Pretty focused, made it very clear to anyone that hasn’t been paying attention what the elephant in the room is.
I liked that he called for redirecting the pension bond revenue when they expire, and that he wants a guarantee on future payments.
Also suspending loopholes to pay old bills is a great idea, that puts cash directly back into our economy. If only it could be coupled with a refinancing deal…
- Small Town Liberal - Wednesday, Mar 6, 13 @ 12:53 pm:
- Given the House revenue number is half a billion less than the Governor’s -
Been meaning to ask, who’s projection was closer last time?
Quinn’s best budget address yet. He is absolutely correct to focus on the pension crisis. Legislature clearly doesn’t like to be told to eat their vegetables before dessert. Too bad. Doing nothing is not going to make the problem disappear.
- Small Town Liberal - Wednesday, Mar 6, 13 @ 1:07 pm:
- Projections are one thing, budgets quite another. -
I’m not disagreeing, just wondering if there’s any chance the House would be any more flexible this time around.
Concise and focused on the correct issue:Stae Pension crisis. not sure it was a good to make the ILGA the boogie man. Not one mention (I think) of Nekritz, Biss, others who have been working on the issue.
Look at the data. All the proposed benefit changes will not fix the problem. They have to address the debt repayment schedule. Flat payments over a longer time frame and set a more reasonable funding level such as 80% funding of the pensions. IF that doesn’t work then increase employee contributions. After that look at teh benefits. Where is the practical common sense on this issue. See Ralph Martire’s material.
- Chris Sale Fan - Wednesday, Mar 6, 13 @ 1:21 pm:
Small Town - House’s was more accurate. And we were flexible this time - we adopted the full COFGA number, which was a deviation from the past where we mixed and matched with GOMB and COFGA taking the most conservative on each revenue stream.
I wrote this in another post, but Quinn continuing to blame the legislature for lack of movement on pension reform isn’t productive. He should say it is their collective responsibility. Even if he believes in his heart it is their fault, he shouldn’t say that.
Hasn’t he learned anything from his former running-mate?
- CircularFiringSquad - Wednesday, Mar 6, 13 @ 1:23 pm:
Every pension change he suggested will be challenged as violating the Illinois Constitution’s pension protection clause. I guess he and the General Assembly have resigned themselves to that path. But, it could very well come back to bite them if they loose in the courts.
- Small Town Liberal - Wednesday, Mar 6, 13 @ 1:27 pm:
- Every pension change he suggested will be challenged as violating the Illinois Constitution’s pension protection clause -
Really? Redirecting pension note revenue and guaranteeing future payments will be challenged? Seems odd.
“Every pension change he suggested will be challenged as violating the Illinois Constitution’s pension protection clause.”
Assume, for a moment, that increasing revenue is *impossible*.
What solution exists that would NOT be challenged as “unconstitutional”? Seriously, everyone with a state/local pension acts as if they have NO part of solving the problem, that it’s ONLY about protecting their pensions. How about contributing some ideas (other than “raise taxes!!”–I already asked for the assumption that that isn’t an option) that might make a dent in the problem?? Unless/until, y’all are as much part of the problem as PQ and MMad.
Most interesting was Madigan’s interview after Quinn’s address. Madigan was asked would the back pay money and raises be paid in the budget. Madigan replied it would be up to Agency Director’s to do cuts for that money or lay off employees’s. I see another lawsuit on the radar. If these are not paid according to the new contract no healthcare increase can be put in motion unless the raises and back pay are paid.
- Just The Way It Is One - Wednesday, Mar 6, 13 @ 1:35 pm:
Wow! Forceful, decisive, strong Address on the whole by the Governor. He’s cutting to the chase–enact Pension Reform already! Speaking to them directly with respect and without hammering them unecessarily for their omission, Gov. Quinn encouraged them to just finally finish this thing off and resolve the dilemma–and then everyone, BOTH sides of the Aisle hopefully, can take the credit!
The fact that Pension Reform has not been achieved already in truth really does fall on the Legislature’s shoulders, and deep down they know it, as we in Illinois, and as the Gov. rightly, yet sadly reminded all, tragically “bleed” away $17 MILlion dollars a day (and artfully, yet deferentially, referencing/giving all due credit for this symbol to the greatest Illinoisan, and perhaps American, to ever live, our very own President Abraham Lincoln)….
Put differently, Pat Quinn showed today that he does truly at least have Illinois’ Best Interest at heart on this dreadfully wasteful issue to us all, and that he, at the very least, has his priorities straight in that it’s high time for the House (especially) and the Senate to follow suit already on this critically urgent matter of signficant Reform, as we labor to work through these brutal, economic times (while, with optimism, PQ emboldening us/lifting our Spirits also by pointing out how Illinois, on the Upside, ranks 5TH Nationally in some Critical Economic Growth Categories)!
Lastly, the Governor’s final line of the Address, delivered with passionate resolve because he’s SERious about it as they should be already by now, too, really hit home: “Let’s get the job done!” Earlier, he even encouraged them even more boldly to submit a passed Bill TODAY, just plop it on his Desk, and he’d sign it!! And, one final point about Gov. Quinn’s style–actually, for a drab Wednesday morning in early March, even refreshing somewhat to see TREMENDOUS progress, just Public-Speaking wise, from his 1st Budget Address–the entire speech was effectively delivered in around 25 minutes.
In short, though some of you will find all sorts of reasons to bristle and disagree, Pat Quinn was really on his Game today, and like him or not, objectively-speaking, gets at LEAST an overall Grade of at LEAST A- on this One. Thoughtful and well-done. Great food for immediate thought for all of us–and Action by our Legislature!!!
It was probably one of the most focused speeches I’ve heard him give. I liked that he provided specifics - instead of just saying, “close loopholes,” he recommended ones to close, and provided information about how much money that would generate. On the negative side, I doubt the members liked having their noises rubbed in it yet again. Overall though, it was good. Not too many squirrels, which is rare for him. Maybe he’s learning. We can hope, anyway.
Here is what I think, based on the Governor’s own words and a not unreasonable interpretation of those words.
“Despite the worst recession since the Great Depression and a greater demand for services than ever before, we’ve reduced spending to historic lows.” One way to understand this statement is simply to say that Illinois is massively abandoning its citizens who have been economically displaced by the 2008 economic downturn.
“When I took office, Illinois institutionalized more people with disabilities and mental health challenges than any state in the Union. Since then, we’ve closed several institutions.” One way to read this statement is that Illinois is still the worst state in the union for institutionalizing people with disabilities, but we closed some institutions and concentrated those who are still in these settings.
“And this week, I’m issuing an Executive Order to officially eliminate or consolidate 75 boards and commissions to increase efficiency. These boards were either dormant, entirely redundant, or their work had been completed.” Apparently the closing of these boards and commissions saved little or no money or the Governor would have touted the cost saving at this point in his speech.
“First, there must be a firm guarantee that the State of Illinois will pay its full pension amount every year. I’ve done that since I’ve been governor. But that did not happen under previous governors and legislatures. They shorted the pension fund and shirked their responsibility. That’s why we have a pension crisis today. As you know, to make up for that failure, we’ve had to issue two pension obligation notes under my administration.” Another way to say this is to say that since I have been governor we borrowed money to pay the full pension amount rather than shorting payments.
“For those with higher pensions, the cost of living adjustment should be suspended until the entire pension system achieves better balance.” Well how about defining a higher pension? Are we talking those with the top 25%, 10%, or 2%? Or is a higher pension simply defined by the need to achieve a certain target for savings.
“And we’re building, repairing, or expanding 561 schools – putting thousands of people to work.” But at the same time we are proposing to cut funding for these very same schools, but that’s apparently a different issue.
“Also, hydraulic fracturing – commonly called fracking – is coming to Illinois, with the strongest environmental regulations in the nation.” Illinois regulations are the strongest because fracking is largely unregulated in the US.
“High-quality early childhood education provides one of the highest returns of any public investment – more than $7 for every dollar spent.” But research shows that if the school systems that these former early childhood education students enter is weak the positive impact of early childhood education disappears in a few years and I am cutting k-12 education funding by millions. This is indeed one of my most well thought out plans.
“I have also preserved investment in MAP scholarships for Illinois college students who are in financial need. Access to higher education is fundamental to a student’s earning potential and career path.” But I am cutting funding to public colleges so they will have to raise tuition even more and the MAP scholarships will cover even less of the tab than before. Another of my well thought out plans.
“In fact, mental health care for all who need it is a top priority. So our budget includes an additional $25 million investment to improve mental health in Illinois.” Actually the $25 million does not even begin to cover the cuts that have occurred for mental health in Illinois since Illinois reduced its mental health funding by $114 million between 2009 and 2011.
Small Town Liberal is right, not every thing he mentioned about pensions would be challenged as unconstitutional. I guess I was only seeing the parts that will be challenged. I’ll have to go back and read it again. Thanks for pointing that out!
Really? Redirecting pension note revenue and guaranteeing future payments will be challenged? Seems odd.
No challenge there, but suspend or change the COLA and no question, it will go to court. The State can offer whatever “new and improved” pension plan they want to “not yet hired” employees, but try to change the benefits for retirees/current employees and lawsuits will be filed as soon as the ink dries on the pension bill. I have no doubt the courts will decide this, and the State will spend tons of $$$ doing it, so just do it and get it over with.
I liked the long beat after the “mobsters” line. I think I could hear Lou Lang breaking a pencil in half.
- Kasich Walker, Jr. - Wednesday, Mar 6, 13 @ 2:13 pm:
I liked the guarantee that the State of IL will pay its full pension amount every year and the reminder that though its been done since Quinn has been Governor, the state’s current budgetary problems stem from missing payments of pension obligations under previous governors and legislatures.
After that, I would have liked to hear the Governor mention that it’s time for bond rating agencies to get their house in order. No reason for S&P, etc., to throw rocks from their glass house.
That was a fine introduction with the mention of Dawn Clark Netsch as well as the restored sense of cooperation between the Governor and legislative leaders.
I voted for Blago, but only because Quinn was the running as Lt. Governor and the GOP alternatives were worse.
“there must be a firm guarantee that the State of Illinois will pay its full pension amount every year.”
I liked that part of the speach. However, Illinois must come up with much more money than what is due this year, or any other year for some time, to do anything to solve the pension problem. It needs to increase pension funding by billions of dollars per year for many years to hope to make any headway in solving the problem.
“any enhancement that we enact to gaming revenues this year should be dedicated to education, which could include teachers’ pensions.”
The important word here is ‘could’. What it probably means is that only some small portion of any increase in revenue will go to solve the problem. Even before it is approved, I rate this as yet another missed chance to help solve the pension problem.
“Finally, we cannot turn to our taxpayers to repair the pension problem.”
This indicates to me that Gov. Quinn supports large cuts in spending to solve the pension probem. This is because cuts in employee benefits, the second of three possible solutions, faces major issues with the Illinois Constitution’s pension protection clause as well as political issues. That leaves only the third major option left on the table, large spending cuts, left. I wonder how this idea will be received in the capital?
Hey Rod!!!! We’re broke and the citizens of IL are not going to lay down and take anther income tax increase. Yes spending is being cut. When there’s no money, you have to do that. The fact that in 2 years we will be spending more on pensions, than on public education is pretty disturbing to me. I thought it was a great speech that laid out the stark realities we are currently dealing with.
Carefully read the transcript; did not watch the video. Based on the transcript, it is probably the best speech Quinn has given. Clear, on message, and even occasionally repeatative to drive the message home.
While alluding to other pension changes, the only clearly unconstitutional pension change specifically mentioned by Quinn was the COLA. I understand why; if they can change it, a good portion of the unfunded liability magically disappears … but I can’t see it surviving a court challenge.
- Just The Way It Is One - Wednesday, Mar 6, 13 @ 3:38 pm:
Soccermom @ 2:46 pm: just curious, admittedly a bit wordy there in describing the level of respect which the Governor colorfully, I thought, accorded to President Lincoln’s Original Quote, while myself feeling inspired and in awe about Honest Abe and his intriguing choice of words at momentous times, but surely you aren’t challenging the part about Mr. Lincoln being “the greatest Illinoisan, and perhaps American, to ever live…”, ARE you?
Chris at 1:31 - “Seriously, everyone with a state/local pension acts as if they have NO part of solving the problem … How about contributing some ideas (other than raise taxes).” Have you been hibernating for the last few years? What about reamortizing the pension debt ramp (Ralph Martire)? What about a graduated income tax that would REDUCE the tax burden for 94% of the taxpayers? What about closing absurd corporate tax loopholes? What about extending the sales tax to include more services like so many other states have already done? Yes, this would be considered a tax increase, but if the people of Illinois want to continue to receive state services they have to accept the FACT that they received discounted services in the past because the politicians used the pension funds like credit cards to subsidize the discounts. The We Are One workers coalition has offered to increase employee contributions another 2% to the pension funding that would make this contribution rate one of the highest in the nation. What more can the workers do? Should the people that dedicated their whole lives earning these pensions just give it all back? It’s very clear to educated people that Illinois has a revenue problem, especially because of the outdated 20th century fiscal mentality that won’t allow Illinois to move into the 21st century.
“Soccermom @ 2:46 pm: just curious, admittedly a bit wordy there in describing the level of respect which the Governor colorfully, I thought, accorded to President Lincoln’s Original Quote, while myself feeling inspired and in awe about Honest Abe and his intriguing choice of words at momentous times, but surely you aren’t challenging the part about Mr. Lincoln being “the greatest Illinoisan, and perhaps American, to ever live…”, ARE you?”
- Former Merit Comp Slave - Wednesday, Mar 6, 13 @ 5:18 pm:
Anonymous at 1:32pm…..Exactly!! Did that knock no one else off their chair? I’m still reeling!
- Yellow Dog Democrat - Wednesday, Mar 6, 13 @ 5:24 pm:
It is an honest budget and was an honest speech about the budget.
Now, lawmakers from both chambers and both parties must work with the governor to come together to adopt honest solutions.
better fiscal in 2 amend./CC classes for high schools ! combine with drivers ed. (maybe SOS can handle $$ better than State Police?)provide foid apps.to all of legal age t increase revenue? just askin’at least the training can be “education” and money can be shared for education?
The tone of the address does not match the behavior of the administration. The agency I work for has been blessed with a couple new assistants to deputy directors - some in Springfield, some in Chicago. The agency has a small presence in Chicago production wise - but there is a Deputy Director, Chief of Staff and Assistant to the Deputy (or 2). One of the new Assistants is from the Lt. Governor’s office - knows absolutely nothing about what the agency does. Those are new positions - certainly were not needed before they were filled.
That behavior does not match the speech - it is more of the rewards to politically connected regardless of cost.