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Hiding behind excuses

Monday, Dec 2, 2013

* You just gotta love stories like this

House members have been told that a one-day session is anticipated. Senators also could wrap things up on Tuesday, although they’ve been told the session could extend an extra day.

That schedule, though, is drawing complaints from some lawmakers that the pension reform bill is being rushed through the legislature before people have a chance to fully grasp all of its details, particularly those people who will be affected by the changes.

“That’s not enough time to digest it,” said Rep. Raymond Poe, R-Springfield. “You don’t give the people it affects enough time to do some research and crunch the numbers and see how it works. I think it puts everybody who’s affected by it at a serious disadvantage. Their people need a little time to digest this thing.”

Rep. Poe represents a kajillion state employees. There’s no way on God’s green Earth that he would be a “Yes” vote no matter how long they debated this bill.

Here’s a handy guide: Legislators who say they want to delay the vote are almost assuredly voting “No” anyway.

Look, there are very good reasons to have a full, open debate on this bill. But it’s so easy to use “debate” as an excuse, and far too easy for reporters to claim a legislative sentiment exists when everybody knows that the real reasons are quite different.

* Sen. Dillard may fall into that excuse category

Dillard wants two days of hearings before the Senate so all sides can have a say.

More

Like the unions, Dillard questioned the constitutionality of the plan, saying it lacked a “true bargain,” or give and take, with employees over the changing of their benefits. Supportive lawmakers say the agreement satisfies constitutional requirements of such give-and-take considerations, noting that employees actually would be required to contribute 1 percentage point less from their paychecks toward their retirements.

Man, wouldn’t it be something if a guy who voted for every union-opposed pension reform bill ends up voting against this one because of “constitutional questions”? He really wants that AFSCME endorsement, eh?

* And another gubernatorial hopeful is trying to stay a bit too quiet

Treasurer Dan Rutherford declined to comment on what’s viewed as one of the most pressing issues facing state government.

* From a Bill Brady statement

Senator Dillard voted for the major provisions of this agreement last spring. Treasurer Rutherford as a constitutional fiscal officer certainly understands the dire consequences on state finances of continuing down the current path. Why are they silent now?

This is a time for leadership and hard decisions, not a time to stand on the sidelines. Pension reform is an issue of fiscal responsibility and the future of Illinois

- Posted by Rich Miller        


29 Comments
  1. - Formerly Known As... - Monday, Dec 2, 13 @ 10:08 am:

    If proponents of this bill are confident in the contents of their plan, then they should welcome the chance to explain it in further detail with the public.

    After all, if it’s a sound solution for the good of the state…


  2. - Tsavo - Monday, Dec 2, 13 @ 10:13 am:

    Like the unions, Dillard questioned the constitutionality of the plan, saying it lacked a “true bargain,” or give and take, with employees over the changing of their benefits. Supportive lawmakers say the agreement satisfies constitutional requirements of such give-and-take considerations, noting that employees actually would be required to contribute 1 percentage point less from their paychecks toward their retirements.

    I am retired and no longer contribute to the pension fund. Where is the give and take for those already retired? Reducing the COLA on those already retired is all take.


  3. - Bogart - Monday, Dec 2, 13 @ 10:16 am:

    Dillard and Rutherford have just disqualified themselves in the race for Gov.


  4. - too obvious - Monday, Dec 2, 13 @ 10:16 am:

    Dillard has always been a spineless 2-timer on any big issue.

    But I’m actually just embarrassed for him now.


  5. - walkinfool - Monday, Dec 2, 13 @ 10:19 am:

    Such nonsense.

    Pretending not to know what’s going on, when variations of most of these ideas have been previously discussed every way possible, for two years now. The final packaging is new, but the elements are not. If you, as a Legislator, claim not to know what is being considered, then you are admitting you have been lazy, or don’t take your responsibilities seriously. It’s not that hard for you to get.

    Delay is just a tactic to try to change momentum, or to confuse everyone. Same goes for lobbyists and union bosses.


  6. - Whatever - Monday, Dec 2, 13 @ 10:20 am:

    Dillard hedging? Shocking.


  7. - wordslinger - Monday, Dec 2, 13 @ 10:23 am:

    I don’t agree with him on a lot of things, but Brady is showing that he has some guts. That’s admirable in a governor.


  8. - OneMan - Monday, Dec 2, 13 @ 10:23 am:

    I am not sure days of debate are needed but I think 24~36 hours with the bill text are not a bad idea…


  9. - Marty - Monday, Dec 2, 13 @ 10:32 am:

    I’m a state retiree(engineer) that does NOT need more time to digest this bill. It will create a huge pension benefit impairment for me that clearly violates the plain reading of the constitution’s pension protection clause. If a majority of our legislators believe this bill is constitutional, let’s get on with it and get to the courts.


  10. - Just Observing - Monday, Dec 2, 13 @ 10:32 am:

    Even if some people calling for a delay, in the name of transparency, are really just trying to obstruct the bill, the citizenry and interest groups deserve the opportunity to scrutinize the bill and for a period of debate to take place.


  11. - Bill White - Monday, Dec 2, 13 @ 10:33 am:

    Taken together, these two comments sum up where I stand on the “delay the vote” tactic:

    @walkinfool

    === Pretending not to know what’s going on, when variations of most of these ideas have been previously discussed every way possible, for two years now. The final packaging is new, but the elements are not. If you, as a Legislator, claim not to know what is being considered, then you are admitting you have been lazy, or don’t take your responsibilities seriously. It’s not that hard for you to get. ===

    and

    @OneMan

    === I am not sure days of debate are needed but I think 24~36 hours with the bill text are not a bad idea… ===

    Introduce the bill tomorrow and vote no later than Wednesday evening or Thursday.


  12. - Tom Joad - Monday, Dec 2, 13 @ 10:37 am:

    These three Senators had no trouble in the past in voting for a bill for Exelon when they put their bills through without a copy of the bill in committee. There was even less time to debate those bills since only drafts were shown to members before the vote.


  13. - Hit or Miss - Monday, Dec 2, 13 @ 10:37 am:

    I fully agree that a day or two more to fully look over the final bill is a good idea. Otherwise there is always the chance that something unexpected has been slipped in to bill.

    I think that the old proverb “Measure twice, and cut once.” applies in an important matter such as this.


  14. - Cornwall - Monday, Dec 2, 13 @ 10:40 am:

    Dillard is same guy who voted for Blagojevich’s pension skimming scheme in 2003.


  15. - Soccertease - Monday, Dec 2, 13 @ 10:40 am:

    There appears to be a lot more reasons to vote no than yes to the proposed bill. Glaring to me in the bill is the overreaction - going from 0% funding in some years to 100% actuarially-required funding is overkill.


  16. - RonOglesby - Monday, Dec 2, 13 @ 10:42 am:

    This:

    Here’s a handy guide: Legislators who say they want to delay the vote are almost assuredly voting “No” anyway.

    But, just because they will vote no anyway, doesn’t mean they are wrong… Any bill that has a huge financial impact (either way) or has any huge impact on the populace should ALWAYS be debated in the light of day and have a chance to be picked apart by the citizens and their reps.


  17. - Bill White - Monday, Dec 2, 13 @ 10:47 am:

    === Any bill that has a huge financial impact (either way) or has any huge impact on the populace should ALWAYS be debated in the light of day ===

    Wasn’t there a great deal of debate on the underlying principles this past June?

    If this bill is somewhere between SB1 and SB2404 (as it certainly appears to be) there already has been considerable debate and discussion.


  18. - flea - Monday, Dec 2, 13 @ 10:48 am:

    Rep. Poe wouldn’t be able to “digest” this proposal unless it was a fried chicken dinner. Please retire.


  19. - RNUG - Monday, Dec 2, 13 @ 10:50 am:

    Bill White @ 10:47 am:

    This bill is SB0001 wrapped up in some pretty ribbons and bows.


  20. - RNUG - Monday, Dec 2, 13 @ 10:52 am:

    As to delaying a vote for a day or two, here’s part of what I wrote very early this morning:

    Took close to 3 hours to wade through the draft just checking the changed portions and knowing what the previous proposed changes were. I can’t see a legislator who has not been paying attention to this issue being able to digest it quickly.


  21. - facts are stubborn things - Monday, Dec 2, 13 @ 11:04 am:

    =Supportive lawmakers say the agreement satisfies constitutional requirements of such give-and-take considerations, noting that employees actually would be required to contribute 1 percentage point less from their paychecks toward their retirements=

    What is the consideration for a retiree with a pension of say $65,000. It is simply a huge diminishment of hundereds of thousands of dollars over a 30 year period. Folks with “larger pensions” earned those by becoming quaified, educated etc. for hose higher paying posiitons. How on God’s green earth is ok to take so much away from that group. I know, that is where the money is and it is a calculated political move in hopes of dividing and conqering. Not much pitty out there for a person with a $65,000 pension.

    Don’t pay into the system and them steal from those who have paid in the most and who have earned the most. See you in court!


  22. - facts are stubborn things - Monday, Dec 2, 13 @ 11:10 am:

    @RNUG - Monday, Dec 2, 13 @ 10:50 am:

    =This bill is SB0001 wrapped up in some pretty ribbons and bows.=

    Totaly agree. Some compromise? I must say it was a very carefully crafted. A bill crafted to get the votes needed to pass? It did end any COLA freeze on those already retired. It did put in provisions to stay much better up with inflation for those whos pensions are at the threshold figures ie. $1000 times years of service. For those who have pensions much larger then this basic threshold it is one huge diminshment of pensions at the toon of hundereds of thousands of dollars over the next 25 to 30 years. Depends of course on exact amount of pension and the inflation assumptions you use, but even at inflation rates at the 3% range it still represents thousand and thousands of pension loss. I would like to understand what consideration is being given to those wiht “larger pensions”? For those folks it is a loose loose with zero consideration.

    Is the bill going to be written with the COLA as a severable component?


  23. - Bill White - Monday, Dec 2, 13 @ 11:42 am:

    @RNUG

    === I can’t see a legislator who has not been paying attention to this issue being able to digest it quickly. ===

    Heh!

    If this SB1 “with ribbons and bows” then the courts may well strike it down. But probably not until after November 2014.


  24. - Soon to be ripped off again - Monday, Dec 2, 13 @ 12:31 pm:

    Agree with Facts. The higher earnings were based on self-improvement, effort and work! Somehow our pensions have been portrayed as “freebies” courtesy of taxpayers (a group to which we belong) rather than earned benefits. Almost seems as if people think that if you are a public servant you need to work for free and be grateful for that job.


  25. - dave - Monday, Dec 2, 13 @ 1:46 pm:

    ** I can’t see a legislator who has not been paying attention to this issue being able to digest it quickly.**

    Of course, I can’t see many legislators even trying to read or digest it, which is why the argument of this being rushed is just silly.

    Legislators, with a handful of exceptions, are going to read their staff analysis of the bill. Very few will read the entire bill, whether or not it is voted on tomorrow or voted on in a week.


  26. - Anonymous - Monday, Dec 2, 13 @ 2:24 pm:

    Did anybody see this tweet by Pat Brady? Who is he shilling for?

    @pat_brady: Desperate Rutherford campaign throws perfect panderball announcing no pension reform because of his “constitutional concerns”


  27. - Commonsense - Monday, Dec 2, 13 @ 3:15 pm:

    “I am retired and no longer contribute to the pension fund. Where is the give and take for those already retired? Reducing the COLA on those already retired is all take.”

    Stop trying to make sense! Many in the GA, Madigan/Cross et al don’t care!

    But what I find most interesting is that I am not seeing legislators who are opposed to note this little detail. And even more interesting the unions don’t make comment upon it either.

    If I am wrong and it is being brought to public attention, please comment.


  28. - Formerly Known As... - Monday, Dec 2, 13 @ 4:06 pm:

    @Anonymous 2:24 - “shilling” for Rauner, based on his recent comments and tweets praising Rauner and only Rauner.


  29. - RNUG - Monday, Dec 2, 13 @ 10:46 pm:

    dave - Monday, Dec 2, 13 @ 1:46 pm:

    Unless they buy into whatever is handed to them by party leadership as “analysis”, it’s going to take the aides a day or so to be fully up to speed and get their recommendations down in writing.


Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.


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