* I asked Bruce Rauner’s campaign spokesman just what the possible GOP gubernatorial candidate meant yesterday when he issued this press release…
Yesterday, Governor Pat Quinn announced his support for a guarantee of pension payments to be added to the overall pension reform bills. Bruce Rauner released the following statement:
“After years of continued mismanagement, Governor Quinn continues to reveal his true colors: a lackey to the government union bosses.
“Governor Quinn’s giveaway to government unions will only make our pension crisis worse. Because of years of bad deals and poor decisions in Springfield, we have $100 billion in unfunded pension liabilities.
“It’s clear that career politicians in Springfield don’t have the backbone to stand up to the union bosses they depend on for re-election and are willing to sacrifice Illinois taxpayers for their own political needs.”
* The reply…
It’s a bad idea for today’s governor and legislature to hold future governors and legislatures responsible for pension payments that ramp up without bold reforms.
* Then again, Rauner won’t say what “bold reforms” he wants. Daily Herald…
(W)e asked spokesman Chip Englander what [pension reform] plan Rauner does back. Perhaps one from state Rep. Tom Morrison, a Palatine Republican, that does not include the guarantee Quinn backs?
Englander took a broad swipe at the efforts at the Capitol. Then he said Rauner isn’t officially running yet, so he doesn’t have a plan yet.
“Springfield politicians don’t have the nerve, backbone, or fortitude to do what needs to be done. It’s going to take more than introducing a bill and leaving it up to legislators and bureaucrats. A governor who’s willing to put solving a major problem over their desire to be re-elected, be bold and facts-based, engage and educate the public, and charge forward is the likely prescription. None — I repeat — none of that exists in Springfield today. Should Bruce run for governor he’ll have a plan. But the right first step is listening and learning and that’s what he’s doing now. “
Um, yesterday’s press release didn’t sound like he was “learning.” It sounded like he was “teaching,” without saying much at all except that guaranteeing state payments is the worst idea ever.
* A longtime reader/subscriber mused yesterday in an e-mail about what he thinks is going on. He noted that the Chicago Tribune editorial board agrees with Rauner that pension benefits should not be guaranteed…
I think the Trib was singing Dan Biss’ glory because they thought his pension plan would pave the way for the tax hike going away.
But if you ask him, he will tell you the savings are not enough. His savings make the payments manageable going forward while diminishing the pain in the rest of the budget.
My guess is the Tribsters only recently learned that, at which point they were like, waiiiiittttt a minute. So the tax hike doesn’t go away with this?
Hmmmm … well what if we told lawmakers they shouldn’t be bound by those onerous pension payments?
I think they want to be able to say in a year or so that enough progress has been made that the mistake of a tax increase should roll back and they’re even willing to redo the ramp to make it happen.
I think Bruce is hopping on board in an effort to disrupt an actual solution and try to guarantee this continues until 2014 gov race.
Meanwhile, Bill Brady is smiling. He’ll campaign across downstate that the pension payments must be made and he’s the one willing to be honest with the hard working teachers and state workers.
* There are more nefarious theories out there. For instance, this one is from comments yesterday…
Rauner is parroting the Tillman/Proft talking points verbatim. Their attacks on the Nekritz-Biss-Cross bill were nearly entirely based on their opposition to requiring the state to make payments into the pension systems.
Why? Because they want the ability to not make pension payments in order to extract huge concessions from the unions. In short, they want to bust the unions by withholding the pension payments.
* And then there was this comment…
Business groups already condemned the guaranty provisions, which are patently absurd. They would delegate to courts the right to seize state cash in “reasonable” amounts, would be litigated forever if they aren’t voided for vagueness on their face. Skipping payments to the system has already been upheld as constitutional. Funding should be redirected to a sensible alternative system.
That last sentence “Funding should be redirected to a sensible alternative system” is the most interesting. This may very well have something to do with crashing the system and creating something new.