* This is from an op-ed for Progress Illinois written by Brooke Anderson, Governor Pat Quinn’s press secretary…
- AFSCME claims the governor wants to lay-off 4,000 employees. False. Every employee laid off as the result of a closure of a juvenile facility or prison is offered another job within their own agency or other state agencies. The governor believes it is NOT in the interest of taxpayers to keep empty or half-full, very expensive facilities that are no longer needed open at taxpayer expense.
- AFSCME claims the governor is “breaking union contracts and undermining collective bargaining. False. Governor Quinn believes in collective bargaining. AFSCME has enjoyed the best contract in the nation. Over the past eight years, AFSCME employees have received pay increases that equate to 45 percent. Illinois AFSCME members make, on average, 23 percent more than their peers in comparable states.
- AFSCME claims the governor wants to take away pensions from employees. False. Governor Quinn wants to preserve the pension system because the status quo is unsustainable. Illinois has the worst-funded pension system in the country. Governor Quinn has proposed a plan that repairs the pension system by giving existing employees a choice – they can either keep their pensionable Cost of Living Adjustment the way it is and not access the state’s excellent healthcare or they can access the healthcare and accept a reduction of COLA to lesser of 3% or ½ of CPI, simple interest. At a time when some states have frozen COLA’s and many employees have seen their retirements eliminated, the governor’s plan preserves the system and ensures employees have access to benefits.
- AFSCME claims the governor has doled out hundreds of millions in tax breaks to corporations and resisted closing loopholes for oil companies. False. Governor Quinn proposed and pursued legislation that closes the oil derrick loophole this year. In fact, the governor has long supported closing loopholes that are based on politics and not economics. In fact, Governor Quinn fought for and doubled the Earned Income Tax Credit, the best tool we have available to provide targeted tax relief to working families.
- AFSCME claims that the Governor refused to pay for pay raises that were promised: False. In fact, the governor included the raises in his proposed budget – the General Assembly took the raises out. To be clear, we cannot pay for raises if there is no money in the budget to pay for those raises.
However, AFSCME and the governor do agree on this - AFSCME refuses any change to the status quo. They would prefer no closures, no pension reform and no spending cuts. They’re fine with things just as they are.
I’m betting there will be an AFSCME response in my in-box in 5, 4, 3…