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Careful what you cheer

Friday, Jul 12, 2013

* My Sun-Times column

Pretty much everybody is cheering Gov. Pat Quinn for vetoing state legislators’ salaries out of the Illinois budget this week.

Quinn vetoed lawmaker salaries because, he said, he was tired of waiting year after year for legislators to pass a comprehensive pension reform plan.

Probably the only state politicians despised more than Quinn himself these days are legislators, so nobody is weeping for legislators’ personal financial troubles. Quinn, down in the polls and desperate for any kind of “win,” knows this is a sure-fire way to appeal to the populist disgust with the no-can-do General Assembly.

But man, is this ever a dangerous stunt.

Not even Rod Blagojevich at his most insane ever attempted this maneuver. Blagojevich fought the General Assembly tooth and nail, even at one point firing the wife of House Speaker Madigan’s chief of staff.

Blagojevich kept the General Assembly in overtime sessions month after month, fought court battles over his powers to force them to bend to his will, but never had the chutzpah to veto their salaries out of the budget.

That should tell you how extreme this ploy is.

And if this action isn’t eventually repudiated, either by the courts or by the General Assembly, it’ll probably happen again.

Here’s a plausible scenario:

The Illinois Legislature, particularly the House, is pretty divided over abortion rights. So what would happen if a staunchly pro-life governor decided to veto legislative pay until they approved an anti-abortion bill? Maybe the Legislature would override him, but maybe hardcore pro-life forces could stop a veto override motion from reaching the required three-fifths supermajority until a bill was passed.

If you’re pro-life, just reverse the scenario.

This is nothing short of legislative blackmail.

OK, you may be saying, isn’t pension reform a dire emergency worth the risk?

Well, after years of skyrocketing by about a billion dollars a year, state pension payments will rise by about $200 million next year and the year after next. That’s still a lot of money, but nothing like it has been.

Even so, the state can’t afford what it’s paying now, let alone lots more down the road.

So, you’d be right to ask, what if this veto is the only way Quinn could get the General Assembly to act?

For all practical purposes, any bill passed now won’t take effect until July 1 of next year.

So why all the rush to pass a bill that won’t take effect for almost a year? The New York bond rating agencies are screaming for action. And Illinois, with the worst credit rating in the nation, is at their mercy. Getting a law on the books will calm things down.

But there’s something else. Quinn’s budget director recently submitted a list of pension reform “scenarios” to the special legislative committee tasked with coming up with a solution. Nobody knows how much those ideas will save because the actuaries haven’t finished studying them.

It would be just plain stupid to pass a pension-reform bill before anybody even knew what it would save, but Quinn went ahead and vetoed legislator salaries even though his own new plan hadn’t even been vetted.

That’s a bit harsh.

Also, the committee has its own set of pension-reform scenarios which have been sent to the actuaries. Meanwhile, everybody has to wait around and nobody is getting paid.

How productive.

Everybody is falling for Quinn’s dangerous little stunt because it looks so deliciously justifiable. Careful what you wish for.

- Posted by Rich Miller        


73 Comments
  1. - I don't want to live in Teabagistan - Friday, Jul 12, 13 @ 9:48 am:

    I wish the GA would do their jobs. Ooops


  2. - Dan S. - Friday, Jul 12, 13 @ 9:48 am:

    Does this move violate the State constitution? Also what are the implications to Federal Labor laws? There are enough lawyers in the GA this could all land in Court, this is like rolling a snow ball down the hill, it’s gonna tear things up when it get’s to the bottom.


  3. - Yossarian Lives - Friday, Jul 12, 13 @ 9:54 am:

    Well put. Reading about the widespread approval of Quinn’s move made me wonder if our neglect of civics education is catching up with us. I worry about a state full of people who don’t understand that the legislators don’t work for the governor. Actually, they work for the voters, who every two or four years can decide to quit paying them - by voting them out of office and paying somebody else to do the job. Representative democracy 101. Sheesh.


  4. - PublicServant - Friday, Jul 12, 13 @ 9:55 am:

    SEIU ought to step in and pay legislative salaries. Henry, get on that bud. Just tell them “I will do this for you…But some day I will come to you for a favor, and when I do, you need to grant me that favor…”


  5. - Frenchie Mendoza - Friday, Jul 12, 13 @ 9:55 am:

    It pains me to say this, but this kind of “stunt governing” by the left is as shrill as the relentless media blitzing and contorting by the right.

    Legislators fleeing a state, governors cutting pay, even multihour filibusters. It’s interesting — and certainly sensational — but as a citizen who expects — and deserves — representation, I see this as political failure. Really — IMHO — bottom of the barrel stuff — and shameful.

    I also see this as an inability to compromise — which surprises me. There are a lot of smart people in the legislature — and surely they understand the (noble) necessity of compromise.


  6. - Small Town Liberal - Friday, Jul 12, 13 @ 9:56 am:

    I doubt as many would be cheering if this was done over a divisive social issue.

    Also, wasn’t Rod mainly at war with Madigan? As I recall he had several buddies in the GA.

    Quinn isn’t at war with individual leaders, he’s just sick of inaction. So are the taxpayers. I doubt the sky is going to come falling down over this, so if it gets them moving I’m all for it.


  7. - Mason born - Friday, Jul 12, 13 @ 9:57 am:

    Rich

    Loved the column. Thanks for pointing out the obvious circumstances that most fail to grasp.

    All of us want the GA to do their work as they are hired to do it. While it seems so great that the Gov. is “making” them do it do we really want the Gov. to be able to force the GA to do his bidding? Seems like the Tail wagging the dog? (I know usually the Gov. is an equal position to GA but with Quinn the Tail seems to fit better)


  8. - I don't want to live in Teabagistan - Friday, Jul 12, 13 @ 9:58 am:

    PublicServant: Henry is AFSCME not SEIU


  9. - Michelle Flaherty - Friday, Jul 12, 13 @ 9:58 am:

    No pay until Pat Quinn is made governor for life.
    Elections, we don’t need no stinking elections.
    If the courts disagree, Pat will just wipe out their pay until they agree with him.


  10. - Cassiopeia - Friday, Jul 12, 13 @ 9:59 am:

    Unfortunately Quinn doesn’t think long-term. He and his staff are concentrating solely on survival. He and his staff know they have no future in state government and politics when/if he is thrown out. They are desperate and it shows.

    I think this little positive bump will fade very quickly. It was a cheap stunt. Illinois needs an adult in charge and needs to get rid of the second rate Quinn appointees.


  11. - PublicServant - Friday, Jul 12, 13 @ 10:00 am:

    Oh, also Henry, while you’re at it, set Cross up with some complementary tee times at his favorite course. Same message.


  12. - retired and fed up - Friday, Jul 12, 13 @ 10:01 am:

    I think Federal labor laws would prohibit forcing someone to work for no pay.


  13. - Hank - Friday, Jul 12, 13 @ 10:01 am:

    Is this now officially a “look a kitty” moment?


  14. - Bill White - Friday, Jul 12, 13 @ 10:02 am:

    Yesterday @Norseman wrote this:

    === I’m of the opinion that the Supreme Court will have to find Quinn’s actions violate the IL Constitution - using similar logic to that used in Jorgensen. ===

    Or at least they “should” reach that conclusion, IMHO, while making a distinction between saying it was unconstitutional for Quinn to issue the line item veto and saying that Quinn’s line item veto cannot have the effect of law.

    If the courts were to rule consistent with Quinn v. Donnewald, they will tell the Treasurer to issue those checks, but they won’t say Quinn had no legal right to sign that veto.

    Quinn had every legal right to flip that switch, but that doesn’t mean the switch is connected to anything or that it was wise to flip that switch.

    As an aside, I find the image of Pat Quinn vigorously flipping light switches unattached to the wiring to be laugh out loud funny.

    = = =

    In light of the Jorgensen decision (as explained by Norseman yesterday) the answer is obvious (Quinn’s stunt should have no legal effect) however in light of some future case upholding SB1, the answer becomes less obvious.

    IMHO, as always


  15. - PublicServant - Friday, Jul 12, 13 @ 10:03 am:

    Henry is AFSCME. Oh, OK. Well if he’s short of cash, he can hit up SEIU.


  16. - Rich Miller - Friday, Jul 12, 13 @ 10:04 am:

    ===so if it gets them moving===

    They already were. That’s nothing but spin.


  17. - Angry Republican - Friday, Jul 12, 13 @ 10:05 am:

    Maybe the GA needs to get that Recall Quinn petition started.


  18. - Bill - Friday, Jul 12, 13 @ 10:06 am:

    Break down their salaries into hourly wages, then start paying them by those increments based upon the legislators punching time clocks.


  19. - dupage dan - Friday, Jul 12, 13 @ 10:08 am:

    === Everybody is falling for Quinn’s dangerous little stunt because it looks so deliciously justifiable. Careful what you wish for ===

    Who is this everyone you are talking about? If you mean the citizens, what do they have to be careful about? If this backfires, it does so only against the governor, or other pols. Not many folks in the boonies or cities give a hoot about them. Those learned folks here - especially you, Mr Miller, know darn well what is at risk. But to the average Joe and Jane Citizen from Effingham, this is the best thing since deep fried butter.

    If by everyone you mean those deep into the power structure of Chicago (uh, I mean Springfield), yes, they should be careful what they wish for. I imagine they are madly calculating the effects such a move is having or will have on the landscape come the next election. But is’s all about the strategy, not about the effect it will have on the citizens of the state - only on the potential power shifts.

    Quinn as a governor is a bumbler. Quinn as a campaigner should not be underestimated. Our very own Governor Clouseau.


  20. - Chris - Friday, Jul 12, 13 @ 10:08 am:

    “Not even Rod Blagojevich at his most insane ever attempted this maneuver.”

    Well, unlike PQ, Rod needed every penny to keep his lifestyle from completely collapsing. So he would have had to LIV just the legislatures pay, while continuing to draw his, which would have looked a whole lot worse than PQ’s stunt.


  21. - iThink - Friday, Jul 12, 13 @ 10:09 am:

    Maybe Quinn can argue the use of police powers?

    Anyway, Does anyone have info on these scenarios that Quinn and the gang are waiting on the actuarials for? Link?


  22. - RNUG - Friday, Jul 12, 13 @ 10:09 am:

    Rich, your column is spot on.


  23. - RNUG - Friday, Jul 12, 13 @ 10:18 am:

    Bill White @ 10:02am

    I agree. Your likely scenario of finding the line item veto legal but also finding it has no effect due to other law sounds exactly like a decision that would allow the IL SC to pretty much stay out of the fight.


  24. - kerfuffle - Friday, Jul 12, 13 @ 10:21 am:

    This was done pure and simply for political points with the electorate. Quinn sees himself (correctly) in a very tenuous position as far as his electability for another term. At this point and this kind of stunt can only help him at the polls. While it will hurt him with his ability to work with the GA down the road, he has to worry first about getting reelected and then work on mending political fences. Sill, as Rich so eloquently points out, this could set a very dangerous precedent.


  25. - Norseman - Friday, Jul 12, 13 @ 10:23 am:

    Once again we see that Rich gets it.


  26. - Biker - Friday, Jul 12, 13 @ 10:28 am:

    While the deficit on the pension liability is decreasing, which is great, the State credit rating is the metric that has been in freefall and we are staring at another downgrade this year. Two more downgrades from that and we are junk bond status. That would be catastrophic, and is indeed an emergency that needs to be dealt with as priority 1.


  27. - DeKalb Dragon - Friday, Jul 12, 13 @ 10:32 am:

    Rich, great column. Isn’t the main point of the constitutional prohibition of changes in legislative salary to prevent blackmail of the legislature?


  28. - ??? - Friday, Jul 12, 13 @ 10:34 am:

    So, if next spring, the General Assembly decides to reduce the Governor’s Office budget to, say, 1/10 of what it is now, then what? Can a Governor do an amendatory veto to ADD money back, or can he only reduce or eliminate. If he is able to add money back, and he chooses to do that if his own budget gets cut, then I suppose opponents could spin that as, “Hey, he felt everyone else should take a cut, but he feels he shouldn’t have to be spared.”

    Yes, I know there are a lot of “ifs” in that scenario, but I guess I’m just pointing out one possibility of how this current “brilliant” move of his to eliminate legislative pay may come back to bite him in the rear.


  29. - Overthinking - Friday, Jul 12, 13 @ 10:34 am:

    Did Quinn really veto the funding for his own salary?


  30. - RNUG - Friday, Jul 12, 13 @ 10:35 am:

    Biker @ 10:28am,

    And it could be easily fixed by stablizing the State revenue stream. The bond raters are looking at the upcoming revenue cliff when the temp income tax increase expires and seeing nothign but seas of red ink.

    Right now, the State is very slowly digging it’s way out of the hole they created. If the State made the temporary tax increase permanent, they would stop the bleeding for a while. If the State actually raised taxes to the level needed to support all services and make the pension payments on an actuarial based schedule, you would see overnight upgrades.


  31. - Bill White - Friday, Jul 12, 13 @ 10:35 am:

    @Biker

    An acknowledgement that Illinois is a low tax state - at least among all the urban states - would be the most effective way to stabilize IL bond ratings.

    Not that the current bond rating system is all that credible to begin with - google “LIBOR rate scandal” for details.


  32. - Belle - Friday, Jul 12, 13 @ 10:35 am:

    Rich is totally correct but everybody hates a legislator.
    Whether it flies legally or not, he’s acting like the old Pat Quinn…the one that wanted to take the power away from ComEd, People’s Gas, etc–he’s comfortable proposing goofy but popular ideas.


  33. - Arthur Andersen - Friday, Jul 12, 13 @ 10:35 am:

    -Federal Labor Laws would prohibit someone forcing someone from working for no pay-
    Maybe, maybe not-I don’t know.

    What I do know is that the Federal Tax Code clearly prohibits an employer, public or private, from collecting (or increasing) an employee pension contribution for which no concurrent (or increased) benefit is received. (IRC Sec 408)

    As with the matters noted in Rich’s column, no one seems to be overly concerned with this fatal flaw in the Uni Prez’ proposal, among other pension bills.

    This is no time to be in a hurry, especially to placate an armchair quarterback like Papa Squeezy.


  34. - CircularFiringSquad - Friday, Jul 12, 13 @ 10:37 am:

    PQ is continuing his back patting tour up and down the radio dial and the talk show babblers are generally forgetting to ask:

    1. PQ what are the details of YOUR plan?

    Of course, the answer is that he has been for SB1, SB1 as amended, but he has not offered a sentence fragment of an idea that could be labelled the PQ Plan.

    2. Have you persuaded a single legislator to vote for your plan or change their “no” vote to support either SB 1 or SB2404?.

    Again the answer is nope

    That lack of influence or persuasive power is PQ trait honed over about 40 years.

    The real troubling aspect is that this will become a new play going forward


  35. - Jaded - Friday, Jul 12, 13 @ 10:38 am:

    We all know that Quinn didn’t do this in the name of pension reform. He did this in the name of re-election. He is going after the only entity that is less poplular than him in this state…the GA.

    Whether he would have vetoed their salaries or not Quinn knew that the GA would likely be back before Labor Day to take a pension vote (right around the state fair sounds about right), but now he can say he forced them back to Springfield. Is is a dangerous, bad, precedent, yep, but since when did any career politician fighting for re-election care about that? Quinn is just doing what he’s done for 40 years, grandstanding and posing for the cameras; and the media eats it up. Who’s fault is that…Pat Quinn’s or the people who put him in the position to make these decisions?

    You put a fox in the henhouse, and he is going to eat your chickens. You put a populist gadfly in the Governor’s mansion, and he is going to be a populist gadfly.


  36. - Overthinking - Friday, Jul 12, 13 @ 10:40 am:

    And here’s a question. To fix this, the GA is either going to have to override the veto or pass a supplemental. How does Quinn plan to get Republicans to vote for either of those? Or does he expect Dems in competitive districts to fall on their swords to fix this?


  37. - RonOglesby - Friday, Jul 12, 13 @ 10:41 am:

    SQUIRREL!


  38. - concern1 - Friday, Jul 12, 13 @ 10:41 am:

    If this political stunt of quinns is found unconstitutional and what he tried to do to the conceal carry bill and his lack of leadership I say enough is enough…somebody please start the impeachment process because he has abused his powers as governor and its time to send him packing, but I realize this won’t happen!!!!


  39. - wordslinger - Friday, Jul 12, 13 @ 10:41 am:

    It’s been sad to see Quinn give in to his worst demagogic instincts to play to the mob. He’s resisted the urge at times while in office, but he went all in on this one.

    The good ones who get the Big Chair realize sometimes they have to be the only grown-up in the room and take the slings and arrows of the ignorami without complaint.

    His actions did nothing to advance the ball or even inform anyone as to the issue. It was pure selfish politics.

    If ever there was an issue that required some sobriety and leadership from a governor, it’s pensions.

    The Big Number hysteria around the issue is beyond reason. You make your contributions, you get some historic growth and it’s the same “crisis” that you’ve had for the last 50 years without ever having missed a payment.

    It’s a helluva a thing to see a Democrat cheered for his efforts to break faith with and screw working stiffs out of their retirement, but if you live long enough I guess you’ll see everything.


  40. - Mason born - Friday, Jul 12, 13 @ 10:48 am:

    I wonder. I remember reading somewhere that a study was done that we all hate the GA or Congress (depending on State or Fed issue) however most of us seem to think that “our” legislator is the good guy and it is everyone else that is the problem. At some point does Quinn have the risk of turning us all off for blaming our legislator?


  41. - Anonymous - Friday, Jul 12, 13 @ 10:49 am:

    Re two questions above. No, the amendatory veto cannot be used to add money. And the main point of the prohibition on changing salaries was probably to prevent legislators from giving themselves pay raises, not to prevent them from cutting their salaries.


  42. - Mason born - Friday, Jul 12, 13 @ 10:49 am:

    concern

    I don’t think being incompetent is an impeachable offense. Should be but i don’t think it is.

    Ron

    “I hate Squirrels”


  43. - wordslinger - Friday, Jul 12, 13 @ 10:50 am:

    AA, please stop trying to inject knowledge or reason into the discussion.

    You’re out of your element Donnie!


  44. - DuPage Dave - Friday, Jul 12, 13 @ 10:51 am:

    I was never a Quinn supported but was willing to credit him with being a decent guy in over his head. But after this stunt, no more of that.

    Rich is right that a similar my-way-or-the-highway move on a social issue would receive a much different public reception. But the public approval is not what matters here.

    The GA was doing its job. Each house had passed a pension bill and a committee was working on a compromise. To say that they were doing nothing is simply untrue and irrational.

    Whether this move is unconstitutional will be decided by a court, but it is clearly against the spirit of separation of powers. As noted above, the legislators do not work for the governor, they are not state employees, they are elected officials.

    The idea that Quinn or any other governor can withhold pay from legislators whose action or inaction ticks him off is preposterous. While the mechanics of the budget say that the governor has to sign off on the bill approving pay for the legislators, it should be a given that separation of powers requires him to sign it.

    I breathed a sigh of relief when Quinn was sworn in after Blago’s impeachment, and hoped for the best from him. He’s been an overall disappointment but until now I thought he was a bumbler with good intentions.

    Now I see that he is a fool, drunk with power. Anybody running against him next time will be an improvement. Anybody.


  45. - walkinfool - Friday, Jul 12, 13 @ 10:52 am:

    Watch this move spread to other states, with some very activist governors we all could name: Scott, Kasich, Walker, Brewer, etc.


  46. - downstate hack - Friday, Jul 12, 13 @ 10:53 am:

    Rich,

    Great Column. While the legislators are not blameless and should have acted sooner, Quinn has no clue.


  47. - Hmmmmmmm.... - Friday, Jul 12, 13 @ 10:54 am:

    Does anyone else think that the Gov and the Speaker may be working together to pressure the Senate Prez to come off of his position regarding consideration? While Quinn takes the heat for the man behind the curtain.


  48. - A guy... - Friday, Jul 12, 13 @ 10:54 am:

    This is the nuclear option no doubt. It does appear to have gotten the attention of the people it needed to. We’ll know before long if it spawned a solution. I hope it never comes to this again, but it sure seems better than seeing every pension fund go bust affecting far more than 177 legislators and a group, people far less equipped to handle it. Your point is well made Rich and time will tell if this was the answer or not. Nobody should be spiking the ball when it’s over.


  49. - dupage dan - Friday, Jul 12, 13 @ 10:55 am:

    AA - right on!


  50. - wordslinger - Friday, Jul 12, 13 @ 10:59 am:

    –it sure seems better than seeing every pension fund go bust affecting far more than 177 legislators and a group, people far less equipped to handle it.–

    If the GA continues to make reasonable contributions as they have in recent years, when are the pension funds “going bust?”


  51. - Rod - Friday, Jul 12, 13 @ 11:02 am:

    Rich your column is very consistent with many of the comments on this blog and I agree with it. As I have posted before and as “Yossarian Lives” has posted above the mass of the public apparently has forgotten their basic civics learned or apparently not learned in high school in relation to the reason for separation of powers.

    Because there are many lobbyists and others seriously involved with the legislative process who post on this blog there is some real concern expressed here about the bigger implications by posters that cross party lines and our political differences. Thanks Rich for your article which supports the basic values of our Republic that so many have given their lives to protect.


  52. - Bill White - Friday, Jul 12, 13 @ 11:03 am:

    I believe Pat Quinn knows perfectly well that his little stunt cannot withstand constitutional scrutiny. And, that is his point.

    Hopefully, Raoul and Cullerton will stand firm in opposing SB1 and take the position that loyalty to the IL Constitution trumps even their own paychecks.


  53. - Oswego Willy - Friday, Jul 12, 13 @ 11:07 am:

    Rich,

    Spot. On.

    Nothing more needs to be said.

    - AA -,

    Thanks for covering my learning for today, great stuff! Make sure you sign my “Audit” sheet.


  54. - Calhoun Native - Friday, Jul 12, 13 @ 11:17 am:

    SB2404 may have passed the House, but The Speaker refused to call it. The fact that no pension bill passed lays squarely at the feet of The Speaker and his awful behavior in insisting that SB1 was the only option he would consider.

    Now Quinn wants us to think it’s all of these rank and file legislator’s fault instead of the petulant Speaker of the House.

    What happens this time if The Speaker doesn’t like the solution? Quinn just doesn’t understand the bully mentality.


  55. - Downstater - Friday, Jul 12, 13 @ 11:29 am:

    I agree that this a danger precedent that may come back to haunt future governors and general assemblies. This the bitter and unfortunate fruit of one party rule. If one look at the state’s economic and fiscal performance since Blagojevich entered the governorship, one can say little positive about Illinois. What’s more, This is little evidence to support the idea that any public concern not touching Chicago or Cook County are given to be of much importance amongst our state’s political leadership.


  56. - dupage dan - Friday, Jul 12, 13 @ 11:32 am:

    So, Mr Calhoun Native, are you suggesting that PQ should have just cut MJM’s pay? :-)


  57. - Soccermom - Friday, Jul 12, 13 @ 11:35 am:

    Dear Hmmmm…..

    Yup. That’s the ticket. This is a conspiracy between the Governor and the Speaker. Yup. No question.


  58. - Calhoun Native - Friday, Jul 12, 13 @ 11:49 am:

    @ dupage dan 11:32

    No, but that would be delicious to watch.


  59. - Former Merit Comp Slave - Friday, Jul 12, 13 @ 11:49 am:

    You hit the nail on the head! I hope people take heed


  60. - Ghost - Friday, Jul 12, 13 @ 11:55 am:

    Everyone is missing the ciritical point here! DD…where do we get this fried butter you speak of!

    The constitutional provision about diminshing slaraies was wirtten to prevent this very kind of actions. To summarize and generalize a lot of US history, our forefathers were real nasty folks who came from a nasty politcial system in england. They feared your political opponents/government oing nasty things like taking your land or removing your pay becuase you opposed a more powerful person. So they came up with all of these protections to prohibit those in power from creating laws to wipe out opponents.

    Basically Quinn just engaged in the type of persecuting action on opponents which led many to flee the Enlgish system and set up the Government we have today.


  61. - wordslinger - Friday, Jul 12, 13 @ 11:57 am:

    –If one look at the state’s economic and fiscal performance since Blagojevich entered the governorship, one can say little positive about Illinois.–

    No Blago fan here, but in a global economy do you really believe any governor has much influence?

    Is Blago responsible for CATs record profits? Did Blago cause the housing bubble?


  62. - a commenter - Friday, Jul 12, 13 @ 12:03 pm:

    For the life of me I don’t understand why they refer to the problem as “Pension Reform”. A more appropriate name for it would be “Thievery Revisited”


  63. - Michelle Flaherty - Friday, Jul 12, 13 @ 12:34 pm:

    And with the rise of King Quinn to the throne the realm of Middle-Illinois entered into the Fourth Age of the Time of Soyboy


  64. - dupage dan - Friday, Jul 12, 13 @ 12:36 pm:

    Ghost - fried butter is a staple at many state fairs. Illinois should consider it - The hated cheese heads have cornered the market, it seems. Iowa also serves it but their guernseys ain’t got nothin on good ole Wisconsin dairy products!


  65. - Charlatan Heston - Friday, Jul 12, 13 @ 12:50 pm:

    It is a stunt. I think less and less of Quinn every day.


  66. - 47th Ward - Friday, Jul 12, 13 @ 1:00 pm:

    ===fried butter is a staple at many state fairs.===

    Sponsored by the America Academy of Cardiac Surgeons. Angioplasty sold separately.

    Now I’m hungry.


  67. - Ghost - Friday, Jul 12, 13 @ 1:42 pm:

    Good thing the fair is around the corner…time for a fried butter hunt…. this is like when we first discovered you can chill beer!


  68. - A guy... - Friday, Jul 12, 13 @ 2:11 pm:

    W slinger. A few months back the ED of the IEA said 2029 was the year of reckoning. Other funds would have different dates. C’mon man, they gotta fix this. Even your premise “As long as they keep…” is on shaky ground. That’s a big part of how we got here. They didn’t. Not a big MJM fan at all, but he’s reached the same conclusion every financial analyst worth his salt has; gotta pull all 3 levers as equally as possible. Raise the retirement age, raise the contributions, lower the benefits. All very carefully. Can’t choose 1 or 2 of the 3. Certainly add the caveat that the State can’t miss future payments by judicial order. The alternative is catastrophic. If you gotta feel the drops to know it’s raining, it’s not gonna be an easy discussion. This is not directed toward you slinger, but the many who just think we can do nothing. Hard to believe there’s anyone out there who still thinks that, but posts tell me that there are.


  69. - iThink - Friday, Jul 12, 13 @ 4:00 pm:

    A guy..

    You missed the 4th lever, levy taxes to actually meet your contractual and constitutional obligation. Ooops!


  70. - Norseman - Friday, Jul 12, 13 @ 4:06 pm:

    Guy,

    This is not about saving the Pension system, this is about freeing up more money for other state programs. Constitutionally, the state is on the hook to pay the pensions. The issue is that the debt service created by the State’s chronic underpayment to the systems has now become extremely costly. It has been made more so by the misguided “ramp” attempt to “fix” the problem. So if you want to harm public workers and retirees to free up money for other state programs, then that’s your right. Just don’t try to convince us that this is to help the public workers and retirees.

    P.S. Etymology of “Guy” = “fellow,” 1847, originally American English; earlier (1836) “grotesquely or poorly dressed person,” originally (1806) “effigy of Guy Fawkes,” leader of the Gunpowder Plot to blow up British king and Parliament (Nov. 5, 1605), paraded through the streets by children on the anniversary of the conspiracy.


  71. - Anon. - Friday, Jul 12, 13 @ 4:32 pm:

    AA — IRC Section 408 is individual retirement accounts. I know better than to try figuring out the IRC on retirement plans or ERISSA without a guide, 2 translators, and plenty of aspirin, so could you give the correct statute?


  72. - A guy... - Friday, Jul 12, 13 @ 4:32 pm:

    Norse, you are correct, but not completely correct. The obligation is growing far faster than the funds to sustain it. This would be the case even if the irresponsible State Legislature did do what they were supposed to. The crisis would be less dire, buy a little more time and solutions might be less drastic. I don’t (directly) have a dog in the fight, you clearly must. I get it. I feel most sorry for the retirees who made very modest salaries compared to the active members. Their pensions were already based on much smaller numbers. And Norse, your PS was a clever touch. I am a taxpayer and a voter. That wasn’t a great maneuver to win me over to your views on this. It’s become an institutional habit y’all might consider breaking soon. As Maximus was advised “win the crowd”. And to iThink; do think. People are still struggling in this state, levying more taxes isn’t the answer. By the way, they already pulled that lever. Win the crowd fellas! PS Norse, don’t offer me the Etymology for “fellas”.


  73. - wordslinger - Friday, Jul 12, 13 @ 4:38 pm:

    –The hated cheese heads have cornered the market, it seems–

    No one hates the Cheeseheads, just the Packers. As well they should.

    At the state fairgrounds in Milwaukee, they have a permanent, brick building devoted to making cream puffs. They milk the cows and bake the pastry on one end, and on the other end comes the cream puff.

    The last time I was there, I saw a morbidly obese woman riding a rascal with a creampuff, a brat, and a Leinie, smoking a cigarette, at 10 a.m.

    Honey, I know you’re not going to live long, but you are living well!


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