* I don’t dispute any of the numbers in this Tribune editorial that blasts Senate President John Cullerton’s pension reform bill…
Madigan’s legislation does require more of government workers than Cullerton’s would. But it also bites a projected $140 billion out of the $380 billion taxpayers now are obligated to pay into the pension funds during the next 30 years. Cullerton’s bill would reduce those payments by a comparatively paltry $46 billion. […]
In preparation for the budget year that begins July 1, lawmakers in the House are considering cutting services, again, for the developmentally disabled. They are considering further reductions to child care programs for low-income families. They might have to cut payments for funerals and burials of those who receive Temporary Assistance for Needy Families. Also on the chopping block: schools for the deaf, the blind, the disabled.
It’s a shameful, shameful list, and it doesn’t stop:
The Department of Children and Family Services is being asked to cut more than $107 million — a 15 percent cut in general revenue funding. Yes, the agency that investigates child abuse will once again get slashed. Last year, DCFS cut after-school and summer programs for 1,500 abused and neglected kids. Money for counseling for 300 children who had been adopted through DCFS was eliminated in Cook County. Across the state, 4,000 families identified as at risk of abuse and neglect lost prevention services. In short, Illinois is barely taking care of its most vulnerable.
Money for schools consistently has been cut and will be next year, too. The Illinois State Board of Education has been forced to parcel out minimal resources. Basically, the agency decides which schools to hurt less. Meanwhile, neighboring states are increasing school funding.
OK, I get it. We all get it.
But notice how the Tribune never made those claims about the little school kids and DCFS when it was screaming about how the General Assembly should not raise the income tax rate a few years ago.
When worker pension payments eat into government programs, that’s bad for the children. But cutting many of those same programs beneficial to children in order to avoid an income tax hike? Well, that’s just good government.