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Rutherford rhetoric may be music to union ears

Tuesday, Sep 24, 2013

* 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.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

39 Comments
  1. - Red Ranger - Tuesday, Sep 24, 13 @ 2:39 pm:

    Give Rutherford credit for being the only GOP’er half-way honest about the extra 2% in the state personal income tax. I imagine the other 3 don’t have the courage to be that honest or say how they would make it up. I can only imagine the heat he’ll take for this honesty.


  2. - Formerly Known As... - Tuesday, Sep 24, 13 @ 2:39 pm:

    Wait a second…

    Logic, reason and patience being used by an Illinois politician?

    I don’t believe it.


  3. - Been There - Tuesday, Sep 24, 13 @ 2:42 pm:

    ===I’d sure like to hear how he intends to do all that===
    I agree what he said was pretty much fluff but this
    ===I don’t want it (continued income tax increases), but it may have to be on the table ====
    is something I didn’t think anyone in the GOP primary would say. Just saying it MAY have to be on the table is showing that he is looking at reality.


  4. - Chicago Publius - Tuesday, Sep 24, 13 @ 2:42 pm:

    If memory services, Raumer clouted his kid into a prestigious CPS school. If Lord Bruce has moved out of Chicago, then his kid can’t go to the CPS school. Is anyone going to ask Bruce what school his kid is now attending?


  5. - Rich Miller - Tuesday, Sep 24, 13 @ 2:43 pm:

    ===what school his kid is now attending? ===

    College.


  6. - Nearly Normal - Tuesday, Sep 24, 13 @ 2:45 pm:

    His daughter graduated last year from Peyton Prep so he does not need to declare the condo as his legal residence any more.

    Want to hear more details from Dan about how to fix the pension problem.


  7. - Formerly Known As... - Tuesday, Sep 24, 13 @ 2:49 pm:

    By the way, any progress on Squeezy’s pension plan yet? Still looking forward to more details on that one.


  8. - Oswego Willy - Tuesday, Sep 24, 13 @ 2:49 pm:

    FOR LEASE: Gold Coast Condo, 4 Bedrooms, 3 baths. Easy Access to the Loop, and within Distance to Payton Prep. Must Lease, have no need for residence. Call 312-555-4PPC


  9. - The Captain - Tuesday, Sep 24, 13 @ 2:53 pm:

    I find the progression of how the expiration of the temporary tax increase will play out to be very interesting. You’re starting to see some of the more pragmatic gubernatorial candidates who believe they could be Governor come Jan. 2015 realize that they will have a very hard time balancing the budget with $5 billion less in revenue, however at the end of the day they’ll still need the General Assembly to pass any extension of that temporary income tax increase and there’s no incentive for any individual legislator up for election to stick their neck out and support higher taxes with the small exception of some very safe and very poor districts. Rutherford’s position is probably the very adult and responsible position to take but if he faces the prospect of a General Assembly completely hostile to the idea and unwilling to vote for it he’s taking on all of the pain without any chance of the gain. I’m very interested to see this process play out.


  10. - Oswego Willy - Tuesday, Sep 24, 13 @ 2:58 pm:

    I guess you can make a pretty good case about Payton Prep Clouter Bruce Rauner “gaming” the system:

    Buying a condo, very, very, VERY specifically to aid the Clouting of Bruce Rauner’s DENIED New Trier Living Daughter to be a Chicago Resident long enough …

    Long enough …

    To DENY a worthy Chicago Child who was on the “wait list” to Payton Prep, and denying the opportunity for the WORTHY child to attend.

    So, Payton Prep Clouter Bruce Rauner can now leave his Chicago home when his DENIED Daughter who took a place from another CHILD, “lived” and go back to Winnetka, after “gaming” a system that Payton Prep Clouter Bruce Rauner … sees needs fixing.

    Shame on Payton Prep Clouter Bruce Rauner.

    How Bruce Rauner sleeps, saying all the Payton Prep Clouter says about Chicago Schools, and the Teachers, and dneying another CHILD an chance… is beyond me.

    Pathetic.


  11. - Grandson of Man - Tuesday, Sep 24, 13 @ 3:04 pm:

    Rutherford’s words are sweet to my eyes. A moderate Republican right now would be a breath of fresh air. He sounds quite reasonable and respectful to workers. He is considering putting revenue on the table as part of a fairer budget solution. Great stuff. Rauner supports weakening unions and insults them, and Rutherford’s indicating he wants to work with them.


  12. - Nearly Normal - Tuesday, Sep 24, 13 @ 3:19 pm:

    Could be Dan is considering a measure similar to SB2404–

    “Everybody now has skin in the game, and we are all going to have to take a little of the hurt,” he added.


  13. - anon - Tuesday, Sep 24, 13 @ 3:27 pm:

    Politicians routinely complain (and reporters reprint without question) that pension plans are strained by an increase in life expectancy. Is there any basis for this? Any facts to support the assertions that the actuaries were way off the mark in designing pension plans? It sounds suspiciously like an excuse to divert attention away from lack of funding and to justify making the employees pay more.


  14. - RNUG - Tuesday, Sep 24, 13 @ 3:38 pm:

    Weeks ago I said Rutherford was the one adult in the race … and he’s proving it by being realistic and (more or less) honest about the temporary income tax and the pension funding.


  15. - woodchuck - Tuesday, Sep 24, 13 @ 3:46 pm:

    Good strategy. Get several common sense, reality-based approaches/positions staked out, pick up some important swing voters (and GOTV volunteers)without going negative on the other candidates. If he can keep that up, watch the newspaper endorsements start filtering out in February in time for a last round of TV and radio ads touting the endorsements.


  16. - Bill - Tuesday, Sep 24, 13 @ 3:49 pm:

    I’m seriously considering crossing over to vote for Rutherford in the primary. However, I need my garbage picked up and my street plowed so I’ll probably back out. If he wins, he’s got my vote in the general.


  17. - Norseman - Tuesday, Sep 24, 13 @ 4:11 pm:

    === 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. ===

    My wife and I recall a harsher tone from him during an earlier discussion of pension reduction. (I’m going to do some Google searches to see what he’s said in the past.) He will have to provide a little more information to me about his policy/plan before I fall for the typical pandering tactic used by politicians.

    Until Rutherford convinces me that he’ll protect my rights, I’m still backing Oswego Willy for Gov.


  18. - AFSCME Steward - Tuesday, Sep 24, 13 @ 4:12 pm:

    I’ll bet it’s not Chicago State.

    ===what school his kid is now attending? ===

    College.”


  19. - UIC guy - Tuesday, Sep 24, 13 @ 4:13 pm:

    Rutherford does sound sane and sensible (does that mean he can’t win the primary?). But how does the idea that paying the pensions is a ‘covenant’ —a sacred promise— fit with the idea that ‘we are all going to have to take a little of the hurt’?


  20. - Tom Joad - Tuesday, Sep 24, 13 @ 4:17 pm:

    I thought Rutherford’s position on the pension bills was “litigate it.” Is this a major change or not?


  21. - woodchuck - Tuesday, Sep 24, 13 @ 4:19 pm:

    It will be interesting to see if Rauner’s move out of the City gives Rutherford and Dillard a few more precincts of votes.


  22. - Oswego Willy - Tuesday, Sep 24, 13 @ 4:21 pm:

    - Norseman -,

    It’s you and me, Bud.

    To the Post,

    Rutherford is going about the correct tact to address the issue, and leave wiggle room for Moderates and Union workers vested to give Rutherford a “look/see” in the Primary.

    I like it, but the rub is pretty simple, is Rutherford going to play “Chicken” with Rauner, and counter, “Bruce, you don’t like my plan, so how is your plan going to work for Illinois?”

    I would use this vague decree to smoke more out of Rauner, make my “rhetoric” look like “something” compared to Rauner’s nothing.

    Fire up “Rauner 2″ and get - Bill - ready for our fly-around.


  23. - Robert the Bruce - Tuesday, Sep 24, 13 @ 4:39 pm:

    ==FOR LEASE: Gold Coast Condo, 4 Bedrooms, 3 baths. Easy Access to the Loop, and within Distance to Payton Prep. Must Lease, have no need for residence. Call 312-555-4PPC==

    Must also be willing to store some of owner’s personal belongings and must have no intention of running for public office.


  24. - Grandson of Man - Tuesday, Sep 24, 13 @ 4:42 pm:

    Speaking of public pensions, here is a poll released by the IEA today, showing strong support for public pensions. I’m sorry I don’t have the internals of this poll, but I thought I would share it anyway.

    http://www.ieanea.org/2013/09/24/survey-shows-voters-support-pensions/


  25. - Robert the Bruce - Tuesday, Sep 24, 13 @ 4:51 pm:

    While Dillard sprints to the right, Rutherford is staying as a moderate, true to himself.

    I’m just not sure that it’ll fly in a republican primary. I wonder what percentage of Republican primary voters agree with his positions?


  26. - Bulldog58 - Tuesday, Sep 24, 13 @ 5:00 pm:

    The unions have been burned way too often by Illinois Democrats over the past dozen or so years that Dan Rutherford may get a lot more crossover union votes than one would think. Gov. Quinn has all but killed his support. Even if the Unions back him the union members may not.


  27. - Chris - Tuesday, Sep 24, 13 @ 6:00 pm:

    “FOR LEASE: Gold Coast Condo, 4 Bedrooms, 3 baths. Easy Access to the Loop, and within Distance to Payton Prep. Must Lease, have no need for residence. Call 312-555-4PPC”

    Cute, but Randolph Street isn’t in, or even particularly near (in a city sense), the Gold Coast.

    Nor is it especially close to Payton–altho the 340 Randolph to Payton distance is almost identical to the Rosewood to New Trier East distance, at 2.1 miles


  28. - Rolo Tomassi II - Tuesday, Sep 24, 13 @ 6:02 pm:

    Rutherford will beat Quinn—–IF he can make it to the big dance.


  29. - poolguy87 - Tuesday, Sep 24, 13 @ 6:30 pm:

    BullDog58, if Rutherford’s comments hold up i’m sure many downstate union voters would support him. but over past dozen years the public unions have seen their salaries increase with 2 now 3 contracts, and all with a Dem Governor. and Brady and Rauner have taken their jabs at public unions too.


  30. - reformer - Tuesday, Sep 24, 13 @ 6:43 pm:

    Rutherford is the only Republican gubernatorial candidate willing to tell the truth about state finances and about the right to earned pensions. Just like he was the only one willing to support civil unions. It’s hard to believe the other 3 (BR wants a referendum) still oppose even civil unions as the public gets more comfortable with marriage equality.


  31. - low level - Tuesday, Sep 24, 13 @ 7:28 pm:

    I can’t help but wonder if they lived at the condo or in the “real” home. If they did live in the condo the parties must have been
    something.

    And, oh yeah, Rauner is the clown that wants to privatize everything? But he “moved” to Chicago to take advantage of a CPS school. So much for the awful Chicago no one wants to live in! Yes, to the Republicans to whom purity is everything; to whom hatred of all things Chicago is an article of faith…Mr. Rauner is gonna have some explaining to do.


  32. - low level - Tuesday, Sep 24, 13 @ 7:34 pm:

    I gotta say - Rutherford is definitely giving me some reason to look at voting for him in a general. The thought of 4 more Quinn years, ugh, may just be enough to split for Gov.


  33. - pensioner - Tuesday, Sep 24, 13 @ 8:07 pm:

    Died in the wool Dem here; and I am listening. Those state employee votes are NOT going to Quinn.


  34. - Top of the State - Tuesday, Sep 24, 13 @ 9:14 pm:

    Rutherford (on the pension issue) hopes that it is addressed before his term as “Governor”. He has a better chance among the GOP of getting over a 20% Cook County vote against Quinn, which is a Jim Thompson prescription for a win in 2014.


  35. - Just The Way It Is One - Tuesday, Sep 24, 13 @ 11:00 pm:

    So the Treasurer is apparently now clearly open to making the Income Tax Increase PERmanent and suggesting it go toward Pensions only? What about all of Illinois’ other substantial outstanding bills and debts–just wondering how he proposes to fund those significant priorities at the same time?!


  36. - Will win - Wednesday, Sep 25, 13 @ 5:37 am:

    “Rutherford will beat Quinn—–IF he can make it to the big dance.”

    Rutherford will win the primary because republican’s really want someone who can beat Quinn in the “big dance”.


  37. - low level - Wednesday, Sep 25, 13 @ 6:13 am:

    I’m not sure about Dan winning the primary. So many want to take it to the unions, they think the way to victory is total adherence to “conservative principles”

    Rutherford’s tone on this issue is very refreshing coming from that side.


  38. - AFSCME Steward - Wednesday, Sep 25, 13 @ 7:03 am:

    Poolguy

    FYI

    The political party affiliation of the Governor has not been a factor in union raises. In fact there have been larger raises when the GOP was in power than have occurred recently. Union workers are fed up with the slimy dealings of Quinn. Promising something & then reneging after the election. Many workers still haven’t received any of the back pay due from the past 2 years. Many others are still owed over 1/2 of what was owed from FY12. I know quite a few union people that are seriously looking for an alternative to the Dems. Suprisingly, even some of the socialist leaning activists I know are looking for a GOP candidate. If AFSCME backs Rutherford, he wins. There are way more union votes in Illinois than right wing extremists. Additionally, as the economy slowly improves, people are paying less attention to the Tea Party demogogues that were attractive a couple of years ago. I would not be suprised to see a large crossover vote in Cook County, where currently it does not appear there will be any seriously heated primary contests.

    “BullDog58, if Rutherford’s comments hold up i’m sure many downstate union voters would support him. but over past dozen years the public unions have seen their salaries increase with 2 now 3 contracts, and all with a Dem Governor. and Brady and Rauner have taken their jabs at public unions too.”


  39. - facts are stubborn things - Wednesday, Sep 25, 13 @ 11:22 am:

    Leaks from the pension committe indicate they are are sticking with a COLA tied to 1/2 the rate of inflation but with a floor and a cap. Currently they are looking at a 1% to 1.35% floor (compounded) and a 4% to 6% Cap. I don’t know the story behind the ranges and I understand if you are older then 45 years you will have a 1 year freeze on COLA and if younger then 30 years a 5 year freeze when retiring. I asssume the COLA freeze will be on some kind of sliding scale depending on age. I don’t know if those already retired are going to be incuded in the 1 year freeze or not. This is all leak/rumor for now and I beleive the committe is discribing their current position as on the “1 yuard line”. Seems like at this point the Senate side is insisting on at least a legal rational other then the “police powers” theory. Of course we all know that in football you don’t always cross the finish line just becaue you are on the 1 yuard line. :)


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