Capitol - Your Illinois News Radar

Latest Post | Last 10 Posts | Archives

Previous Post: Cullerton advances legislative scholarship ban
Next Post: Bloomberg’s fuzzy math

“Oscar Mike”

Posted in:

* The State Journal-Register pleaded today with four area Republican legislators who oppose the governor’s pension and Medicaid fixes, but won’t come up with alternative ideas of their own

But at this point — with the session set to end in four weeks — putting up opposition without offering alternatives is not an option. At least, it’s not an option if you want to be part of averting the greatest financial disaster in the state’s history. […]

Come on, guys. If all you’re willing to provide at this point is opposition, you’re relegating yourselves to the rearmost back benches of your chambers. This is the biggest game of your political careers. Are you really prepared to sit it out?

I totally agree.

And I’d say that very same thing to every member of the General Assembly. Usually, legislators prefer to avoid kicking up any dust. But as I’ve said before, this could be the most important legislative session of my lifetime.

Easy solutions just don’t exist any longer, so stop hoping that magic faeries will flutter down from the skies and make everything all better. They don’t exist. You wanted this job, so do it, already.

* Related and a roundup…

* More local lawmakers sound off on Quinn’s Medicaid, pension plans: McCann said he believes negotiations between the executive branch and its employees can work through the state’s pension problems if everyone is doing so in good faith. “If we are going to change the system in any way, shape or form, one thing we must do is make sure that it’s fair to everyone in the system,” McCann said. “It has to affect everyone equally. One group cannot get a sweetheart deal while another group doesn’t.” McCann said he has heard from his constituents, a number of whom are state workers, who have said that they believe they are working for an administration that doesn’t take agreements seriously. “I think we need to honor our obligations and negotiate with our employees in good faith,” McCann said.

* Editorial: Illinois’ ‘rendezvous wiith reality’ still a ways off: Mr. Quinn gets credit for an imperfect but politically courageous proposal. Lawmakers must swallow hard, refine the proposal on the revenue side and pass it.

* House Republicans protest Madigan rule: If I could speculate for a moment: Part of what seems to be going on is two of the House GOP’s new floor leaders – Bost and Rep. Dennis Reboletti, R-Elmhurst – are trying to fire up a caucus that has otherwise been in kind of a funk.

* Illinois Suspends Illinois Suspends Insurance Exchange Setup

* Zorn: Is Chicago really getting cheated?’ and other follow-up questions on teacher pensions

* Illinois Schools spent $48 million on taxi cabs

* Editorial: University of Illinois finance, judgment prompts questions

posted by Rich Miller
Wednesday, May 2, 12 @ 11:12 am


  1. –This is the biggest game of your political careers. Are you really prepared to sit it out?–

    That seems to have been the game plan for some time now.

    Comment by wordslinger Wednesday, May 2, 12 @ 11:21 am

  2. “Roger that.” “Oscar, willow, India, Lima, Lima, Yankee, hears you …”

    I doubt that the “leaders” in the GOP will respond in kind.

    They see this new map, … they see their caucuses, … they feel despir, which leads to freezing and inaction, and the rote responses of overused and unpreductive talking points, which then leads to nothing.

    My party, while looking for its “soul” had lost its way, its leadership, and its productivity.

    We have no answers, we have desire to find the answers, and no leaders to debate the real solutions.

    We must all call upon the Mushrooms to decide to get into the game, or be thrown in the Wok and become Stir Fry.

    “Oscar, Willow, India, Lima, Lima, Yankee … OUT”

    Comment by Oswego Willy Wednesday, May 2, 12 @ 11:35 am

  3. Rich, I hope it’s o.k. to post these links here, there are some good ideas being offered to fix the pension problem. The Institute of Government and Public Affairs has a proposal they presented that looks pretty sound to me, and doesn’t put all of the financial “hit” on any one group.

    Also, here’s a breakdown of the percentages each group would contribute (figured using SB512)

    Comment by Huggybunny Wednesday, May 2, 12 @ 11:38 am

  4. Agree with Rich. This may be the first time when we’ve had a real shot at reviving our state’s finances. It’s time to put-up or shut-up.

    Comment by silent majority Wednesday, May 2, 12 @ 11:39 am

  5. Expecting the minority to act responsibly? That’s not how politics works in this state.

    When they can no longer deny, delay and dissemble, our pols much prefer to excuse, finger-point, and blame. Heaven forbid they step up and take positions that mean political risk.

    Comment by reformer Wednesday, May 2, 12 @ 11:46 am

  6. The number of quotes a member of the GA has in the press is inversely proportional to the actual work they are doing to solve a given problem.

    More simply: Those members of the GA who are actually working on the problem do not spend much time talking to the media about it.

    Comment by Pot calling kettle Wednesday, May 2, 12 @ 12:10 pm

  7. Solutions. Raise the retirement age over time to 69. Cut the cost of living increases to a half of one percent UNTIL the pension funds are 80% funded. Increase employee contributions to 10%. Sell off some of the public universities. Put all future employees who make over 100K a year in a 401A system. Anyway, you have to start somewhere.

    Comment by Steve Bartin Wednesday, May 2, 12 @ 12:13 pm

  8. two thoughts on this one, one idealistic one realistic.

    Realistic, I get where the GOP is coming from, you don’t need us down here, you generally don’t listen to us down here and you just got done drawing a map to completely jerk us over. Now, when things are tough you want our help, not because you really need us to do what you want, but to provide you with political cover. Yeah to some extent it is like not getting invited to the party but getting invited to help clean up. You know you have the majority to do what you want so why don’t you just man up and do it.


    Man up and get in the damn game. If they can’t get their business together to make something happen you have to make the effort to do so. Step up and do something. Don’t just be the party of being the other party.

    Comment by OneMan Wednesday, May 2, 12 @ 12:40 pm

  9. Both GOP cauci should be throwing out idea after idea after idea after idea. Let Madigan & Cullerton continue to shoot them down; not hear them in committee; not call them on the floor; deride their ideas and GOP voters as “out of touch”. Without something to rally to, the IL GOP continues to muddle along and accept the status quo - as long as their seats are safe, all is well.

    On the other hand, and to paraphrase, to expect the majority to act responsibly is not how its played in Illinois. The Dems have had complete control since 2003. But they didn’t see any problems-they expanded eligibility, they increased spending, they kicked the can down the road, out of town and over the horizon. Now that we’ve reached the horizon, everyone wants the GOP to jump into the sandbox and to equate fault between the parties? Please.

    Comment by SangamoGOP Wednesday, May 2, 12 @ 12:54 pm

  10. Sangamo -
    So which is it? Is the GOP complicit through inaction or absolved through minority status.

    In answer to your question: Yes. That is exactly what I expect. If the situation is as bad as you paint it for the Democratic party, then the GOP should have ascended years ago. But that hasn’t happened, and you already explained why it hasn’t happened. While Democrats have been in control the GOP hasn’t lifted a finger to change the course, which make them complicit. I don’t recall the Democratic Party being responsible for passing laws, the General Assembly as a whole is.

    Comment by Colossus Wednesday, May 2, 12 @ 1:17 pm

  11. Here is the REALITY ….

    Not every member of the General Assembly reads every bill, every time.

    EVERY member of the General Assmebly reads, studies, ponders, suggests … about the NEW Map every 10 years.

    Moral of the story …

    “We” care about us, then we will care about you.

    If being seen as an obstructionist helps your run, as opposed to being part of the solution, which could hurt ALL who vote for that solution, … well …

    Many are choosing the “what are the talking points?” - or stay silent re-election strategy.

    That IS the choice some have made so far.

    In the long run, its going to hurt their re-election … and it will hurt the state. It already has.

    “We” care about us, before we care about you.

    Step up and be heard, be part of the solution, and do what the voters elected you to do. It will give my party a “soul” …and something to be “for” … for a change.

    Comment by Oswego Willy Wednesday, May 2, 12 @ 1:28 pm

  12. OneMan has got it right. BUT, if I were the GOP I would establish a task force to issue a set of proposals, both “Democrat” and “Republican” ideas and issue a white paper. Put all the ideas in one place. Then select the best ideas and create a platform. Lead.

    Comment by Cincinnatus Wednesday, May 2, 12 @ 1:30 pm

  13. It’s one thing to put up, but another thing is to actually vote for something. The republicans in Illinois have been using the old national GOP Party playbook for a while. Don’t see any of the Illinois reps audibling this session.

    Comment by One to the Dome Wednesday, May 2, 12 @ 1:46 pm

  14. Suggestion: Change the retirement age to 65 but offer a 5 year buy-out to those who are within 5 years of retirement and on the current system (tier 1). Offer a 5 year buy and bank to all other employees who are not within 5 years of retirement. Allowing employees to bank the 5 years will put money into the system and still require those to retire at a reasonable age of 65 at a higher rate.

    Comment by AThought Wednesday, May 2, 12 @ 1:48 pm

  15. It’s been and still is just mindless partisanship now. The GOP doesn’t want solutions while a Democrat occupies the Governors office. They want inaction that they can take to the voters in 2014. It’s all about control of patronage.

    Comment by Rudy Wednesday, May 2, 12 @ 1:50 pm

  16. None of you have it right. The solution to the pension system cannot ride on the backs of the state employees alone. Each employee paid into the system like they were supposed to. They paid all their insurance preiums like they were supposed to. They took pay cuts and furlough days like they were supposed to. The politicians running this state created this mess and need to find a solution that will work for everyone in this state. Politicians also need to be included in these changes and not excluded like they always are. Too many state programs were created for political gain and the state could not afford them. Cuts need to be made everywhere and funds need to be reappropriated to help balance this financial discrase.

    Comment by AnotherThought Wednesday, May 2, 12 @ 2:03 pm

  17. .

    Comment by . Wednesday, May 2, 12 @ 2:04 pm

  18. RE: 48 Milion spent on taxicabs….for sure spent on personalized transportation of Special Ed. students. Like the occupational therapists, physical therapists, psychologists, social workers, registered nurses who now HAVE to be on the school payroll to deal with these students. Didn’t have them in my day. Heard that something like 40% of a school’s budget pays for the 5-7% Special Ed. population. Public doesn’t know about THAT. FUlly 1/3 of staff is devoted to this population. Classroom teachers, teaching the masses are few.

    Comment by allen Wednesday, May 2, 12 @ 2:05 pm

  19. People, more likely these options are unconstitional…

    Raising the retirement age;
    Increased contributions;
    Converting to 401k style.

    These options are probably constitional…

    Dropping or reducing the COLA;
    Dropping the healthcare premium subsidy;
    Dropping retirees entirely healthcare;
    Subjecting pensions to income taxes;
    Lowering the “ramp up”;
    Offering employees a buyout option (if they’ve paid into social security).

    Comment by Choice? Wednesday, May 2, 12 @ 2:16 pm

  20. Fun to read all this speculation about what privates should do to the publics. Every citizen in this state got benefits they shouldn’t have had courtesy of funds not applied to public pension funds. In my opinion, public workers shouldn’t have to pay a dime or make any sacrifices…….everyone ELSE should! No one robbed them!

    Comment by Yet Another Thought Wednesday, May 2, 12 @ 2:28 pm

  21. Every penny of the money taken from retirees in SB 1313 better go to the unfunded pension liability. It should be in addiontion to the statutorily mandate pension contribution. And there needs to be an audit trail.

    Comment by Choice? Wednesday, May 2, 12 @ 3:27 pm

  22. ==Every penny of the money taken from retirees in SB 1313 better go to the unfunded pension liability. It should be in addiontion to the statutorily mandate pension contribution. And there needs to be an audit trail.==

    Why? 1313 has NOTHING to do with pension benefits.

    Comment by Frank Wednesday, May 2, 12 @ 4:24 pm

  23. Choice? I don’t believe dropping or reducing the COLA is constitutional.

    Comment by Raising Kane Wednesday, May 2, 12 @ 4:31 pm

  24. Taxing the pension certainly is constitutional and upping the employee contribution to pay for healthcare probably would be. If the increase is for Healthcare not the pesnion….but Quinns method of negotiating well….

    Comment by western illinois Wednesday, May 2, 12 @ 4:44 pm

  25. Raising Kane. Check Colorado and Minnasota with regards to COLAs being reduced. Both states have similar language to Illinois with regards to pensions being a contractual relationship.

    Comment by Choice? Wednesday, May 2, 12 @ 4:57 pm

  26. Instead of speculating about the legality of pension reform actions, pass a bill and let the court remove all doubts.

    Comment by capncrunch Wednesday, May 2, 12 @ 5:02 pm

  27. ===Instead of speculating about the legality of pension reform actions, pass a bill and let the court remove all doubts.===

    So … work on a bill, try to get enough votes to get it passed, and get the governor to sign it, THEN worry about the constutionality …Lee A. Daniels tried that …how did that work out for the HGOP?

    You don’t want to see how the “suasage” is made, but you want to make sure it won’t get you sick, or in this case, won’t fail in the courts.

    Comment by Oswego Willy Wednesday, May 2, 12 @ 5:35 pm

  28. Oswego Willy

    You answered my question..some pols don’t want it on their record that they tried to do something. They are are more worried about getting re-elected. Isn’t that one reason we are where we are? By the way, my wife was born and raised in Oswego. Nice town.

    Comment by capncrunch Wednesday, May 2, 12 @ 7:33 pm

  29. - capncrunch -,

    Yeah, keeping their job sometimes gets in the way of doing their job.

    Have you guys been out here lately? I have been out here over a decade and the changes in just that amount of time out here have been crazy.

    Maybe if the GA GOP would work just as hard on alternatives and solutions, they would not be in half the pickles they always seem to find themselves in.

    Comment by Oswego Willy Wednesday, May 2, 12 @ 7:45 pm

  30. AnotherThought should change his/her handle to SameOldRant.

    Comment by Original Rambler Wednesday, May 2, 12 @ 8:11 pm

  31. My guess is a lot of talk. No major pension bill gets passes this session. Everything is done in lame duck just like the income tax increase.

    Comment by Choice? Wednesday, May 2, 12 @ 9:02 pm

  32. Choice? @ 4:57 pm:

    New York court decisions, which the IL clause is based on (and referenced in the IL Judge’s COLA decision) and the discussions of the 1970 Con-Con, clearly state the COLA is covered. Courts tend to go with the intent of the writer(s) of the legilation, and the Con-Con drafters were crystal clear about the COLA, both at the time and in subsequent testimony during court challenges. You can find all the Con-Con minutes and later testimony online.

    Comment by Retired Non-Union Guy Wednesday, May 2, 12 @ 10:59 pm

Add a comment

Sorry, comments are closed at this time.

Previous Post: Cullerton advances legislative scholarship ban
Next Post: Bloomberg’s fuzzy math

Last 10 posts:

more Posts (Archives)

WordPress Mobile Edition available at

powered by WordPress.