Edgar to pension critics: Back off
Wednesday, Dec 5, 2012 - Posted by Rich Miller
* He certainly makes some good points…
Former Gov. Jim Edgar says the corporate titans who are pressing state officials to fix Illinois’ deep financial problems need to temper their criticism of the pensions received by government employees.
Edgar, a Republican who has served on some corporate boards, said he thinks some of the wealthy businessmen who have been pushing for a pension overhaul don’t understand that state workers don’t have the same types of compensation packages as those in private business.
“I think people in the private sector don’t understand there are some limitations in the public sector they didn’t have,” Edgar said. “I see what bonuses they get and things state employees don’t have.
“We never had profit-sharing. We never had stock options. We never had bonuses. All we really had was our retirement. They ought to be a little more understanding and not quite as harsh on state workers as they’ve been.”
Ditto for the Tribune editorial board, if you ask me, and nobody did.
* But as Doug Finke reminds us, Edgar was often in favor of increasing retirement benefits…
When a governor leaves office, he is required to submit a report to the General Assembly on the state’s condition and make any recommendations he deems advisable.
Some, like former Gov. JIM EDGAR, fulfill this requirement by preparing a book recapping their terms. Edgar called his book “Meeting the Challenge” which recounted his 1991-1999 term as governor.
On page 29, Edgar summarized what happened with state employees. While Edgar reduced the number of employees, the book noted that “a concerted effort was made to improve state employee benefits and make a career in government service more attractive.”
“The governor approved the most significant increase in pension benefits for state workers in a quarter century,” it went on. “As a result, Illinois moved from next to last among states in pension benefits to near the national average.”
The book also noted Edgar agreed to other improvements, like adding vision and dental coverage and long-term care insurance.