* I don’t think he answered the questions, but I’d bet money that his kinda-sorta non-answer will please some public employees…
When asked by members of the audience about his approach to fixing the looming pension crisis facing the state, [Treasurer Dan Rutherford] voiced his disdain for the inaction of others. He contends that even though Quinn raised income taxes in January 2011, he hasn’t used the added revenue toward pension funds.
“I don’t want it (continued income tax increases), but it may have to be on the table in part of a financial solution to the situation we are in,” admitted Rutherford. “I know that’s not a popular thing to say, but it is a realistic thing to say.”
Rutherford is against changing the state constitution to take away any pension funding, saying “pensions to teachers, university employees and state employees is a covenant. They deserve what they have coming.
“Everybody now has skin in the game, and we are all going to have to take a little of the hurt,” he added.
Rutherford attributed the pension problem to past governors who didn’t put enough aside for the pension fund, inflated portfolio rates set by the Retired Teachers Board, and people living longer.
“The pension system had to start selling its assets to make payments for retires,” said Rutherford. “That is a death spiral. We have to fairly and substantively address this.”
I’d sure like to hear how he intends to do all that. For now, though, he looks to have the best shot at convincing those Downstate and suburban public employee union members who also happen to be Republicans or lean that way (and there are lots of them) to get on board. But it’s early and we don’t really know what he’s talking about here other than his rhetoric is much softer than his opponents’.
* Meanwhile, Greg Hinz…
GOP gubernatorial hopeful Bruce Rauner quietly has moved his legal voting residence back to the suburbs from Chicago — a move that may help him politically but risks rekindling a flap about why he came to the city in the first place.
According to Cook County Clerk David Orr’s office, Mr. Rauner changed his voting residence April 30 from a downtown Chicago high-rise condominium at 340 E. Randolph St. to his former official residence: a home on Rosewood Avenue in Winnetka.
Mr. Rauner’s spokesman confirms the candidate did indeed go back to the ‘burbs.
“He just wanted to make everything consistent,” said the spokesman, Mike Schrimpf.
* In other news…
Today, we got notice that state Rep. JoAnn Osmond, an Antioch Republican who isn’t running for re-election in 2014, said she’s backing state Sen. Kirk Dillard of Hinsdale for governor.