* Rep. Lou Lang has an op-ed in the Tribune about a recent editorial…
It’s about time that the Chicago Tribune’s editorial board stop treating the Illinois Constitution like yesterday’s newspaper.
For years the editorial page has loudly bellowed for and against Illinois pension proposals and petulantly insulted and denigrated lawmakers who dare to defy the editorial page’s blithe disregard for the state Constitution.
The latest example was a May 6 editorial’s shrill assault on 53 members of the Illinois House of Representatives who voted against a pension reform proposal sponsored by House Speaker Michael Madigan, charging that by exercising their function of office to vote “no” on a bill, they are “the do-nothing caucus.” […]
To assert that lawmakers who voted against Senate Bill 1 are part of a “do-nothing caucus” is as outrageous as it is ignorant of the constitutional dimension of the legislation, and ignorant of lawmakers’ mandate to consider the Illinois Constitution when voting on legislation. Some would consider the plain words of our Constitution at least as important as our critical need to reform Illinois’ pension system.
The assertion that lawmakers who chose to vote “no” on the Madigan bill have somehow avoided their duty or have inserted themselves into the pockets of organized labor is slanderous and insulting to the integrity of 53 members of the House who believe we need a pension bill that is fair, credible and constitutional. We may have wide disagreement on these issues, but that hardly rises to the level of “do nothing.”
While the Tribune editorial board may elect to write nonsense while ignoring the Illinois Constitution and to insult the integrity of legislators, lawmakers are elected to do the hard work of voting for bills they consider constitutionally worthy.
Unless the Tribune reverts to its rich tradition of responsible, respectful and thoughtful journalism, its influence on Illinois public policy will continue to erode further and its opinions will be as useful as yesterday’s news.
In a report out today, the Civic Federation says that a bill pushed through the House by Mr. Madigan “will produce pension savings of the magnitude needed to stabilize the state’s finances.” But a competing plan by Senate President John Cullerton “doesn’t even get us back to where we were last year,” said Federation President Laurence Msall in an interview last Friday.
“There’s a pretty stark difference in the savings of the one bill to the next,” Mr. Msall said. The Madigan bill “has the components we need.”
The federation has been increasingly outspoken about the state’s pension woes in recent months, but its flat endorsement of the Madigan bill comes amid a stalemate in which it’s uncertain whether each legislative leader will allow his chamber to take up the other’s bill and, if the measure is put to a vote, work against it. […]
(A)ccording to Mr. Msall, the Madigan bill would free up at least $1 billion more than the Cullerton plan for schools, health care and other needs in next year’s budget. It would do so by gradually raising the full-benefit retirement age to 67, requiring workers to pay an additional 2 percent of salary for their pension, and capping cost-of-living adjustments on pensions.
In comparison, while Mr. Cullerton’s bill would provide some savings, they’re not even enough to offset this year’s increase in how much Illinois has to set aside each year for pensions, the federation says.
The report is here.
* Watchdog group says state must address pensions
* Ex-U of I President Hogan tops highest-paid list
* Infographic: Is Your State’s Highest-Paid Employee A Coach? (Probably)