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Cullerton issues statement on pension reform

Friday, May 31, 2013

* From Senate President John Cullerton…

When I became Senate President I took an oath to uphold the constitution and I made a promise to make the Senate an open chamber where member legislation gets a fair hearing. Anyone following the issue of pension reform can confirm that I have honored those commitments this session.

I personally have worked to craft reform proposals that might satisfy the constitution and while achieving considerable savings. To date the Senate has worked to pass five different pieces of legislation designed to reform our systems within the confines of the constitution. Not one of these plans was brought to the House floor for a vote.

My preference for adhering to the plain language of the constitution hasn’t prevented me from working with other leaders who interpret the pension clause differently. That’s been evidenced by the fact that I refused to block votes on opposing pension plans.

I crafted a compromise plan that would have made unilateral cuts the law while including a default constitutional savings plan. I then voted for a second plan and sponsored a third plan to impose unilateral cuts pension benefits.

As Senate President, I could have buried those proposals to satisfy my personal political philosophy. That is not why I am Senate President and that is not how I lead.

The Senate has spoken repeatedly and consistently on pension reform. Still, this issue is not resolved. I am committed to staying at the table until a comprehensive solution is passed into law. I invite Governor Quinn, Speaker Madigan and all leaders of the General Assembly to continue with me.

Emphasis added for obvious reasons. But notice that there was no demand that Speaker Madigan call the Senate’s pension bill for a vote.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

92 Comments
  1. - Norseman - Friday, May 31, 13 @ 6:46 pm:

    I am kind of surprised that the Senate didn’t put 2404 on one of the piecemeal bills.


  2. - Farker - Friday, May 31, 13 @ 6:47 pm:

    Anyone who thinks Cullerton hasn’t been the only adult in this debate for the last several years needs to their head examined. The oh so powerful speaker looks like a petulant child on this matter and his pension “expert” Nekritz ought to lose her job after her performance this session. Simply disgraceful.


  3. - Formerly Known As... - Friday, May 31, 13 @ 6:47 pm:

    === But notice that there was no demand that Speaker Madigan call the Senate’s pension bill for a vote. ===

    And there was no need to.

    Leadership speaks for itself.


  4. - Anonymous - Friday, May 31, 13 @ 6:47 pm:

    No demand for the Speaker to call 2404. That, to me, is leadership. Classy and possibly effective. SB1697 hasn’t been called yet has it?


  5. - mythoughtis - Friday, May 31, 13 @ 6:48 pm:

    I’ve been very impressed with his leadership. Wish every single one of the legislature acted this way.


  6. - Anonymous - Friday, May 31, 13 @ 6:48 pm:

    I meant SB1687


  7. - Oswego Willy - Friday, May 31, 13 @ 6:50 pm:

    “What does this mean?

    It means that President Cullerton, is one cool customer…”


  8. - anon - Friday, May 31, 13 @ 6:51 pm:

    “Adherence to the plain language of the constitution.” Maybe Cullerton should be spending his time with a dictionary instead of issuing self-serving press releases.


  9. - cod - Friday, May 31, 13 @ 6:52 pm:

    Bravo, Cullerton.

    Why Madigan insists on a plan that clearly violates the State Constitution is baffling. The only rational explanation for that bizzare path is that he well knows his bill will fail the court scrutiny, and is simply trying to please his big business constituents.


  10. - Anonymous - Friday, May 31, 13 @ 6:55 pm:

    Winning!


  11. - kimocat - Friday, May 31, 13 @ 6:56 pm:

    cod — maybe Madigan just decided he needed a bigger crisis to get his way.


  12. - Jack - Friday, May 31, 13 @ 6:59 pm:

    Mr. Cullerton continues to impress me as Senate President.


  13. - WOW - Friday, May 31, 13 @ 7:00 pm:

    It’s a game to try to squeeze more out of the unions. Part of the “hard ball” negotiations Madigan is playing with the unions. He is also using the pay raise bill for leverage against the union. Remember last year when Henry Bayer bad mouthed Madigan? Madigan is a genius at politics and bargaining. Madigan is the bad cop and Cullerton is the good cop in this scenario.


  14. - Madison - Friday, May 31, 13 @ 7:04 pm:

    I have to give him credit for playing a hand that could not be a winner to a draw! Really…a contest against his own base played to a draw that “Speaker Nekritz” got the Queen of Spades. You might even say Cullerton slipped it to her.
    Republicans don’t have the votes, but they surely have the last laugh today…


  15. - danray - Friday, May 31, 13 @ 7:04 pm:

    The Senate President just gained a fan.

    This is what a leader does. It’s in the “Leadership Playbook.” (yo, MJM…it’s available on Amazon.)


  16. - Mama - Friday, May 31, 13 @ 7:05 pm:

    What happens next if they do not pass a pension bill tonight? Madigan, please call SB2404 for a vote.


  17. - Common Man - Friday, May 31, 13 @ 7:07 pm:

    Cullerton showed class. From where they are tonight the Legislators may not be aware of the anger I’ve heard tonight on the streets. I don’t think this is going to be “that’s just Illinois politics”. Mr. Madigan has acted like a King tonight and you know how we feel about Kings. He may have written his own epitaph and lost his daughter the Governorship.


  18. - The - Friday, May 31, 13 @ 7:09 pm:

    Time for Madigan to man up and call SB2404


  19. - kd - Friday, May 31, 13 @ 7:13 pm:

    true leadership by senator
    Speaker should accepts defeat stop playing politics and call Senate bill for vote..


  20. - Lincoln Lad - Friday, May 31, 13 @ 7:18 pm:

    Well said! And I believe it’s sincere too.


  21. - Makandadawg - Friday, May 31, 13 @ 7:21 pm:

    Be careful how high you elevate any politician. This pension discussion is not about Cullerton or Madigan or even Ty Fahner. It needs to be about the people that are the members in each of the five pension plans. It is their hard earned money.


  22. - PublicServant - Friday, May 31, 13 @ 7:23 pm:

    Any word from Madigan on his plans regarding pensions now that John has schooled him?


  23. - Wensicia - Friday, May 31, 13 @ 7:25 pm:

    If pension reform doesn’t move forward, I think Madigan takes a big hit.
    Good statement by Cullerton.


  24. - Mr. Grsassroots - Friday, May 31, 13 @ 7:26 pm:

    This gets passed at the deadline. After all, Madigan has been here over forty years. Could be good very well be good cop, bad cop.


  25. - Billy boy - Friday, May 31, 13 @ 7:31 pm:

    And in the legislature they are asking for another two year pension holiday for CPS! Are just plain crazy. These pension holidays got us into this mess.


  26. - Billy boy - Friday, May 31, 13 @ 7:35 pm:

    Glad Senate President is standing firm against Madigan. I think he’s going to lose it for Lisa. I cannot support her if he is still around. No matter how good she would be compared to any of the front runners.


  27. - Dude Abides - Friday, May 31, 13 @ 7:39 pm:

    Cullerton continues to act in a classy and nonconfrontational manner despite the fact that none of his bills have even been called for a vote in the House.
    @wow, MJM isn’t the bad cop in this, he is just acting bad period. A year ago I wouldn’t have dreamed that the Union would make the concessions that they agreed to. They agreed to these concessions during meetings with Cullerton, not MJM. Remember that Cullerton achieved these concessions after MJM stated that he “was done talking to the Union”. Cullerton has proven to be much more effective in achieving some results in resolving this problem than MJM. I don’t think that the Union will give up any more than they already have. I don’t know why Cullerton would allow any more votes on House bills until he is given at least one vote in the House on his bill. If Cullerton would modify his bill to extract more from retirees and workers what likely will happen will be that the deal is off and the Union will go to court. Ultimately if we don’t get a bill passed the blame will land at the feet of MJM. I’m always puzzled when people use the term genius to describe MJM. If managing to remain Speaker for almost 30 years makes one a genius then he deserves those accolades. However for almost 30 years no legislation has passed the House unless it has had his blessing. More than any other individual in the state he is responsible for our financial situation. A genius…really?


  28. - Billy boy - Friday, May 31, 13 @ 7:40 pm:

    XCPS pension holiday failed. good!


  29. - Ready To Get Out - Friday, May 31, 13 @ 7:42 pm:

    No pension reform this session, house adjourned.


  30. - PublicServant - Friday, May 31, 13 @ 7:49 pm:

    Lisa is going to have a tough time overcoming the sins of her father. I can’t see voting for her or governor squeezy.


  31. - RNUG Fan - Friday, May 31, 13 @ 7:59 pm:

    How about Kwame Rauol Public Servant. He defended the constitution did the CC deal
    I wont vote for either of them Its is so bad what is the difference between them and Rauner? Madigan stiffed in a move of plain spite the state AFSME workers


  32. - DoubleD - Friday, May 31, 13 @ 8:00 pm:

    King Lear…er MJM …maybe doesn’t realize it is time to pass the torch. He is as responsible as anyone for the financial fiasco that is Illinois. It is time for him to step aside. But then again how many kings really care about the peasants when their belly is full.


  33. - biased observer - Friday, May 31, 13 @ 8:00 pm:

    no pension reform in house. illinois is hosed. for those expecting pensions who think they dodged a bullet, think again. this is terrible news for pensioners and the pressure for significant reform will only be ratcheted up as the rest of the state gets crushed.


  34. - walkinfool - Friday, May 31, 13 @ 8:00 pm:

    Granted he is a gentleman, but Cullerton’s pension reform wouldn’t fix the pension problems. And he passed it on a strict Party vote.

    Woo Hoo! What a Leader!


  35. - Nice kid - Friday, May 31, 13 @ 8:00 pm:

    Call the question, Mr. speaker.


  36. - Mama - Friday, May 31, 13 @ 8:01 pm:

    Regarding pensions: What should we expect to happen in Oct?


  37. - Billy boy - Friday, May 31, 13 @ 8:02 pm:

    We live to fight another day!


  38. - ZC - Friday, May 31, 13 @ 8:03 pm:

    Folks who really think this whole debate is going to really resonate even in a primary electorate, outside the Springfield cloister, to the extent it will cause some kind of genuine backlash against Lisa Madigan, may be inhaling too many state Capitol fumes right now…


  39. - nw illinois democrat - Friday, May 31, 13 @ 8:09 pm:

    No spin and spin and spin by the senate dem writers can cover up the fact that the so-called senate president has failed the citizens of illinois, plain and simple. He has failed on the number one issue facing all of Illinois and whether this state will be the laughing stock around the nation. He has failed to give his caucus the backbone they need to do the right thing. He has failed to stand up to interest group politics. He has failed young people throughout the state. He has failed miserably and I, as a Democrat downstate, hope he suffers politically.


  40. - Roadiepig - Friday, May 31, 13 @ 8:10 pm:

    PublicServant- You may be right about Lisa, but only if enough people figure out what her father has done over the past 30 years, and how he refused to let an of Cullerton’s pension bills even be voted on this session. Problem is many people have paper like the Trib to tell them that Madigan is a saint on this pension issue and that Cullerton is a stooge for the unions. Propaganda trumps reality…


  41. - PublicServant - Friday, May 31, 13 @ 8:20 pm:

    Roadie, nothing that a concerted TV ad buy can’t overcome.


  42. - RNUG - Friday, May 31, 13 @ 8:21 pm:

    Well, I see my afternoon was better spent with the oldest grandson at the State Museum. Seemed to have missed seeing the black clouds and smoke over the Capitol.

    Got it mostly right on no substantial pension changes; blew it on gay marriage … I really expected that to squeak through.

    For what it is worth, seeing the museum through the eyes of an interested 4 year old reminded me of how good a job some sections of State government can do with limited resources.


  43. - PublicServant - Friday, May 31, 13 @ 8:22 pm:

    Rich, has anyone interviewed Madigan tonight? Can you at least post a picture of him pouting with his bag of marbles and heading back to Chicago?


  44. - Earl Shumaker - Friday, May 31, 13 @ 8:22 pm:

    I think Madigan could learn a lot from Cullerton when it comes to leadership. He could also could learn a lot from Cullerton when it comes to a democratic, legislative process


  45. - Louis Howe - Friday, May 31, 13 @ 8:23 pm:

    What about separation of powers? Sen. President Cullerton is confused. He’s a legislator not a judge.


  46. - Soccertease - Friday, May 31, 13 @ 8:29 pm:

    Cullerton’s plan is unconstitutional too so it won’t make any difference. To me, leadership is introducing and pushing a constitutional bill that tackles the problem head on (yeh, it might mean dedicating taxes or even pension bonds). Taxpayers won’t be happy, bond rating agencies will be happy and it’s the right thing to do rather than prolonging the problem.


  47. - biased observer - Friday, May 31, 13 @ 8:29 pm:

    cullerton no different than madigan. they have both failed this state.


  48. - Earl Shumaker - Friday, May 31, 13 @ 8:30 pm:

    Madigan and Nekritz should lose their “leadership” positions


  49. - Cook County Commoner - Friday, May 31, 13 @ 8:35 pm:

    Well, I guess we just wait for another Moody’s downgrade. And aren’t some new GAAP requirements soon to kick in which will require the pension plans to lower expected returns and increase the deficiencies?
    Nice job.


  50. - mcinchicago - Friday, May 31, 13 @ 8:36 pm:

    nw illinois democrat- how did the senate pres fail the people? he got the bill passed out of the senate and negotiated to try and get it called in the house… how is this on him and not on madigan?


  51. - Anonymous - Friday, May 31, 13 @ 8:40 pm:

    Not only did the speaker fail to call a vote on a pension plan that would have passed, but the house also voted to let CPS take a pension holiday. Meanwhile, many african-american state reps don’t believe in equal rights for some people. Holy cow I am so ashamed to live in IL. Kudos to you Mr. Cullerton. Shame on you, Mr. Madigan.


  52. - biased observer - Friday, May 31, 13 @ 8:41 pm:

    mcinchicago

    cullertons bill did not really solve thebfiscal problem. it satisfied unions but thats about it.


  53. - Smitty Irving - Friday, May 31, 13 @ 8:46 pm:

    Based upon the “1 day pension bill” it seems Speaker Madigan’s actions related to pensions are more to keep the Wall Street monster at bay so Illinois can issue the next set of capital bonds than anything else.


  54. - Calhoun Native - Friday, May 31, 13 @ 8:47 pm:

    “No spin and spin and spin by the senate dem writers can cover up the fact that the so-called senate president has failed the citizens of illinois, plain and simple.”

    Really nw? Cullerton’s plan was what you hope every legislator do. He listened to all sides and crafted a bill that was the best compromise plan that had a chance to pass constitutional muster.

    You prefer the petulance of Madigan over that???


  55. - RNUG - Friday, May 31, 13 @ 8:51 pm:

    If you believe Martire’s analysis about the structural revenue problems here in Illinois, both Madigan’s and Cullerton’s bill are nothing more than 1 to 3 year stop gap measures IF they pass constitutional muster. Both bills do nothing to solve the real problem of inadequate revenue.

    IMO … Better to do nothing than solve the wrong problem …


  56. - Jimbo - Friday, May 31, 13 @ 9:04 pm:

    OW @ 6:50 that was epic


  57. - Michelle Flaherty - Friday, May 31, 13 @ 9:05 pm:

    In 2009, the senate passed a tax modernization plan that raised the income tax, provided property tax relief and expanded the sales tax to the service economy to reflect our economy. (Sorta Martire-lite)

    The House refused to call it for a vote.


  58. - Jimbo - Friday, May 31, 13 @ 9:10 pm:

    Now we wait Mr. Ryan.


  59. - Anon - Friday, May 31, 13 @ 9:14 pm:

    House pension failure opens the door to a more sane and sensible plan to save thepension systems, the CTBA/Martire 50 year flat funding, like a mortgage refi gets us to 90% with fewer benefit cuts and less pressure on state revenues. Sb1 is nothing more than disaster capitalism shock doctrine as detailed by Maliki Klein, using economic crisis for a rapid fire corporate reengineering of the social safety net. Thank you we are one coalition and president cullerton for blocking the civic comm and chi tribune.


  60. - Anon - Friday, May 31, 13 @ 9:16 pm:

    That is Naomi Klein


  61. - Mark Doyle - Friday, May 31, 13 @ 9:18 pm:

    Shame on Michael Madigan. He has failed Illinois and failed to follow the Constitution and the moral obligation to the citizens of this state. I am so disappointed. He has behaved shamefully.


  62. - fake county chairman - Friday, May 31, 13 @ 9:21 pm:

    maybe it will take a promise of endorsement from the union and a campaign donation above the table and below to lisa to make mjm happy


  63. - RNUG - Friday, May 31, 13 @ 9:22 pm:

    Michelle Flaherty @ 9:05 pm:

    You make a good point; I had forgotten about that one.


  64. - Pacman - Friday, May 31, 13 @ 9:24 pm:

    Failure to take action will create a self fulfilling prophecy for the use of police powers.


  65. - Burning Down da House - Friday, May 31, 13 @ 9:34 pm:

    Boy, you can sure tell who the union sympathizers are on this blog. Cullerton’s their hero.


  66. - Anonymous - Friday, May 31, 13 @ 9:35 pm:

    Cook County Commoner - “Well, I guess we just wait for another Moody’s downgrade. And aren’t some new GAAP requirements soon to kick in which will require the pension plans to lower expected returns and increase the deficiencies?”

    I think GAAP and actuaries have a broad range of investment assumptions but I do think that the actuary firms and CPA firms are taking a closer look at the assumptions because of low interest rates and economic problems.
    Nice job.


  67. - Jimbo - Friday, May 31, 13 @ 9:40 pm:

    I can tell who Ty’s sympathizers are too lol


  68. - Dude Abides - Friday, May 31, 13 @ 9:43 pm:

    Kudos to Michelle for bringing that up, just illustrates another missed opportunity for MJM to fix this state. Changing the state income tax so that it’s progressive (lower incomes pay lower rate), and reamortize the pension ramp are just two things that could be done. Eliminate pet projects,($500 million in this budget alone) go thru the budget line by line and eliminate spending on non essential items. The Union has already agreed to make higher contributions and the Health Care savings alone would amount to $26 billion in savings alone. MJM couldn’t get his way so he took his ball and went home.
    Also agree that Kwame Raoul is one who impressed me with his work during this session. God Bless all the members who displayed the integrity to own up to their oath of office. The rest are morally corrupt.


  69. - Dinosaur - Friday, May 31, 13 @ 9:45 pm:

    In the spirit of full disclosure, I am a retired teacher.
    Why can’t certain items be passed that do not impair or diminish pension benefits? 1)gradually raising the retirement age to 67. 2) Making all state workers(at least the retired ones) pay premiums for their health care. Raise them 10% a year if necessary. By raising the retirement age, the state will eventually not have to be in the insurance business. 3) Current workers kick in 2% more from their checks. As I recall, when I began teaching, I paid 8%. By the time I retired, I was paying over 10%. As far as I can see, none of these impair or diminish anybody’s pension amount. Thoughts?


  70. - Cook County Commoner - Friday, May 31, 13 @ 10:24 pm:

    To Dinosaur @ 9:45pm

    The heart of the pensions appears to be early retirement, compared to private sector employees, and the 3% COLAs. Take a retiree at 62, he or she would have a reasonable life expectancy well into the 80s. The pension will about double once. Say this pensioner reaches into the 90s or 100s, which is becoming more likely, the doubled pension will almost double again. Factor in likely slow growth in the private sector into the foreseeable future and an aging population (which for the most part has no retirement security in the private sector) and the demand for government services will increase. So we have an incresing demand for gov services, a diminishing capacity in the private sector to pay for same and a balloning reallocation of resources to government retirees, many of whom will take their pensions out of state so we don’t even benefit from the spending.
    It’s a house of cards.


  71. - Rudy - Friday, May 31, 13 @ 10:41 pm:

    By not calling 2404 Madigan bought time to try to peel off the requisite number of Senators by threatening their self-interest, then retrying SB1 in the veto session.


  72. - wordslinger - Friday, May 31, 13 @ 10:45 pm:

    I don’t get the Good Cop/Bad Cop conspiracy theories. To what end? What’s the benefit?

    The question now is whether Quinn calls them into special session so the GA can wear the jacket if there’s a downgrade blamed on inaction.


  73. - RNUG aka Retired Non-Union Guy - Friday, May 31, 13 @ 10:47 pm:

    Word,

    local Spfld news reported Quinn is calling a Special Session next week.


  74. - Mouthy - Friday, May 31, 13 @ 10:49 pm:

    Good show. Knew it wouldn’t be called. A bunch of you know numbers much better than you know people.


  75. - nw illinois democrat - Friday, May 31, 13 @ 10:51 pm:

    Man, you all around the brass rail have been drinking the brass kool aid … the issue, for someone who works in NW Illinois, is that the IL General Assembly has failed to tackle by far the number one issue facing the state: pension reform. Speaker Madigan put forward the only truly significant bill. It was shot down by those with no backbone. It was shot down by pathetic and hypocritical Republicans. It was shot down by Senate Democrats who showed no backbone. Illinois, as result, suffers. Our image. Our prestige. Our business climate. Ironically, the very pension system the unions want to protect is now endangered due to this catastrophe of weak leadership in Springfield.

    Democrats, you have opened the door to a GOP landslide in 2014.


  76. - Former Program Specialist - Friday, May 31, 13 @ 10:55 pm:

    Thank you, Springfield establishment, for your utter lack of leadership. Maybe you haven’t noticed that states like Texas have passed Illinois by under your leadership. Can’t wait to vote against all of you.


  77. - wordslinger - Friday, May 31, 13 @ 10:59 pm:

    –local Spfld news reported Quinn is calling a Special Session next week. –

    Makes sense. He can’t make them do anything, but he can make them take the heat for a while.

    Quinn will sign anything to “do something” at this point.


  78. - nw illinois democrat - Friday, May 31, 13 @ 11:12 pm:

    Earth to Springfield: you all high five each other about solving conceal and carry rules, but don’t solve the number one problem plaguing Illinois government: pension reform. Classic Springfield these days, driven by special interests. Focus all attention on conceal and carry and blocking ammunition clips, but don’t solve pension reform. Republicans are to blame here, yes, but the majority party will suffer dramatic losses in 2014 — and will deserve to. As a democrat, that doesn’t make me happy to say that. Term limits have never looked better! But, for now, go out and drink yourself silly Springfield. Party it up. Democrats in the Senate,shame on you!


  79. - Mouthy - Friday, May 31, 13 @ 11:15 pm:

    “Quinn will sign anything to “do something” at this point.” That’s always been his position. I like the brass rail reference. 3rd floor, of course. Special session is just leaders per SJ-R.


  80. - Anonymous - Friday, May 31, 13 @ 11:20 pm:

    The Cullerton bill can transform a 50 percent pension liability coverage to a 90 percent. It is not perfect. But why has there beeen no push to get the House to vote on the Cullerton bill.


  81. - Shemp - Saturday, Jun 1, 13 @ 3:16 am:

    I still can’t believe I am supporting a Madigan move, but the Senate bill was just a Band-aid that was not going to solve the State’s problem. At least the House bill had a shot of fixing the budgetary side of the pension problem. If the House had passed the Senate bill, it was just kicking the can a bit further down the road for the next generation to fix. It would be nice to see the generation that created the problem attempt to really fix it rather than sticking it to us younger folks. But of course, it’s much easier for the 50, 60 and 70 somethings to stick it to the rest of us. What else is new? I really do feel like a masochist for trying to help make my small part of the State better rather than moving on to another state for better opportunities. It’s very sad that I sincerely feel that way for staying here and passing opportunities in other states where I could potentially have a brighter future. As much as I would like to promote my area of the State, I feel as a parent that when my own youngster becomes of age, I would want to see her get the heck out of this place. That really depresses me.


  82. - The - Saturday, Jun 1, 13 @ 5:50 am:

    Seriously - @Shemp — we are not “sticking” it to you….we paid into the fund, the state borrowed MY money and didn’t repay it nor did they make their annual payments — they took “holidays” from paying it……….what would happen if you didn’t pay a loan or make a payment for goods or services — yes - you would lose what you didn’t pay for you would be taken to court, etc……….don’t you get it…….we worked and paid into our retirement and the state didn’t…….we earned our retirement. Taking it away from those that have already retired is just plain WRONG AND UNCONSTITUTIONAL! We didn’t cause the mess - our legislators did…..but now they want us to fix it on our backs. NO!


  83. - Juvenal - Saturday, Jun 1, 13 @ 7:49 am:

    @walkinfool-

    You need to check your eye glass prescription.

    sB 2404 passed with a supermajority that included several Republicans.


  84. - Mr. Keynes - Saturday, Jun 1, 13 @ 8:46 am:

    The number 1 problem facing this state is a structural tax deficit. Government, for 7 decades, made up for that deficit by borrowing from the pensions in lieu of increasing tax revenues or decreasing spending this running up the debt we see today. In spite of the fact that the problem we face today was caused by “pension holidays” we see yet another tone deaf attempt by government, in this case CPS, to take another pension “holiday”. Even if sb1 was passed and found to be constitutional by some miracle, we haven’t solved the structural deficit problem…aka the real problem. Where will the money come from to fill that deficit in the future? Address the real problem and stop trying to renege on what any other person would do. Man up, pay your bills and reform the structurally deficient and regressive tax code that is the real problem that this state faces.


  85. - Anonymous - Saturday, Jun 1, 13 @ 9:19 am:

    I was hoping to opine a bit since I’ve seen the folks here do a much better with facts and figures that I can. After following the SJ-R and this blog, I believe the folks that dislike state employees will never accept anything that favors them regardless of legality, constitutionality, etc.


  86. - angelo mysterioso - Saturday, Jun 1, 13 @ 9:20 am:

    oops, rich, i didn’t give a nic on the last post…sorry…you can delete it


  87. - angelo mysterioso - Saturday, Jun 1, 13 @ 9:27 am:

    To the state workers:
    Don’t be defensive…you’ve worked for what you’re pension should be by law, contract, and constitution. You are not a monk. i.e. You have not taken an oath of poverty. Most of all…you do not work for Enron!


  88. - jake - Saturday, Jun 1, 13 @ 10:48 am:

    Agree with RNUG from last night and with Ralph Martire’s analysis (which is supported by real numbers and honest analysis). The pension benefits are not the problem. The problems are structural flaws in our tax system (flat income tas and narrow base for sales tax that excludes services) and stupid plan for paying down the pension debt which should be reamortized by use of pension bonds. Hopefully we are near the end of the process of fighting about all the bad ideas that won’t work, and can focus on the ideas that will actually solve the problem.


  89. - jake - Saturday, Jun 1, 13 @ 10:52 am:

    Adding a shout-out to Mr. Keynes from this morning. Right on, man! After a couple of years of talking about tax structure on this blog, am starting to feel a little less lonely!


  90. - RNUG - Saturday, Jun 1, 13 @ 11:32 am:

    One more (slightly tongue in cheek) thought on the income tax …

    If the State has to stick with a flat tax, just jack the rate way, way up (15%, 25% ?)and exempt the first $100K of income.

    You will lose campaign donations but should gain votes … then we’ll find out which is more important to the politician.


  91. - jake - Saturday, Jun 1, 13 @ 1:11 pm:

    RNUG–

    You might be on to something. I would have to run the numbers better, but based on the current income distribution of incomes in illinois, about 80% of Illlinois incomes are $95,000 or less. Suppose your exempt the first $95,000 but tax the increment above that at 15%. Everybody up to $127,000, or about 90% of all Illinoisans, would pay less than the flat 5%. But because the top incomes make so much money, this would actually bring in a few billion more than the flat 5%. Would the top incomes go elsewhere? The fact is that they are almost all in and around Chicago, and the few other places in the nation that have that very high level of income opportunity afforded by Chicago are also in very high tax, high cost of living environments (New York, Los Angeles). They are not going anywhere based on a few per cent increase in personal income tax. Especially because state income tax payments are deductible from Federal taxable income. So the actual increase in their total tax liability (Federal plus state) will be way less than the increase they pay to the state.


  92. - diver down - Saturday, Jun 1, 13 @ 5:35 pm:

    As a teacher and IEA/TRS member, I have been back and forth on my feelings for Mike Madigan. Last year I felt like he saved our pensions with no vote on pension reform at the session’s end. This year I was livid when he bashed unions, passed SB1 and wouldn’t call SB2404. Today, I’m happy as a clam as my pension is still fully in-tact and I’m (probably) at least one year away from any reform to what I’ve earned.

    Do I think something needs to happen with pensions? Yes I do…in order to save its long-term health. However, if the markets stay away from another 2008/1929 and the state fully funds its pension obligation every year (stop laughing), then perhaps Mike Madigan is saying by his actions that SB2404 is draconian also.

    Has MJM played me???? Am I only playing checkers???


Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.


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