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Pro-biz groups split on state budget

Thursday, Feb 7, 2019

* And neither one of them is in favor with the governing party

Two policy groups are putting forth solutions to solve the state’s money woes ahead of Gov. Pritzker’s first budget address.

Pritzker is due to present his budget on Feb. 20. He faces a $2.8 billion budget deficit, nearly $8 billion in backlogged bills and upward of $130 billion in underfunded pension and health care costs.

With more than a quarter of the state’s budget going to pension costs, the Illinois Policy Institute and the Civic Committee of the Commercial Club of Chicago’s proposals would address that burden in different ways.

In the policy institute’s proposal, state lawmakers would set in motion a change to the state constitution to allow for a restructuring of future pensions of current workers, consolidate school districts, switch out automatic pay raises for state workers with merit-based pay hikes, and other pro-growth reforms.

State workers would still be some of the best paid in the country after the proposed changes, IPI Research Director Adam Schuster said.

“Government worker health insurance and pension benefits are growing far faster than everything else in the budget,” he said. “Those are the cost drivers, so we should let the math speak for itself and tell us where we need to look for savings.”

In previous budget solution proposals, the Illinois Policy Institute has advocated for a reduction in the Local Government Distributive Fund. The measure was criticized for potentially pushing property taxes higher. Illinois has among the highest property taxes in the nation. Schuster said the new proposal doesn’t include that shift, but does include a proposed shift of future pension obligations to the local governments, something that was supported by former Gov. Bruce Rauner and House Speaker Michael Madigan alike.

In all, the policy institute predicts that its proposal would lead to a $2 billion budget surplus in five years. Schuster said that could either be invested in a rainy-day fund or given back to taxpayers in the form of a tax cut.

In contrast, the Civic Committee’s “2+2” pension funding proposal cuts $2 billion in costs and then raises personal and corporate income taxes to 6 percent and 8 percent, respectively. It also calls for taxing retirement income and expanding the sales tax to include some services. The Civic Committee predicts those changes would raise $6 billion.

“Illinois possesses great assets, including a diversified economy, an educated workforce, outstanding educational and research institutions, natural resources, and a great transportation infrastructure, but the uncertainty surrounding the fiscal health of our State has held Illinois back for too long,” said Kelly Welsh, president of the Civic Committee. “We are confident that implementation of the framework will build a foundation for growth and job creation.”

Taxing retirement income is seen as somewhat of a third rail of state taxation because retirees make up a large portion of the voting bloc. Even talk of treating pension and retirement dividends as income has resulted in resolutions opposing it.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

107 Comments »
  1. - Skeptic - Thursday, Feb 7, 19 @ 10:01 am:

    “and other pro-growth reforms.” So, basing State employee pay on merit leads to economic growth? That’s a bit of a stretch.


  2. - Juvenal - Thursday, Feb 7, 19 @ 10:08 am:

    Consolidating school districts is nibbling around the edges.

    The focus should be on consolidating counties.

    Combining the 16 Southernmost counties in Illinois would eliminate a lot more duplication, streamline regional government, and make it far easier to develop and implement a collaborative economic development plan.


  3. - City Guy - Thursday, Feb 7, 19 @ 10:09 am:

    I don’t know how the state determines compensation, but a suggestion is to conduct compensation studies to compare state employee salaries AND benefits to private sector and other public sector entities. If they are being paid too much - stop giving them pay raises or reduce the pay if egregious. But the flip side is increase the compensation if needed (this will help with recruitment and retention).

    I don’t pay attention to the details of pension reform, but I don’t remember hearing discussion about reducing salaries. I don’t see how the state constitution would guarantee employees with a certain level of salary. This won’t be politically popular, but neither is raising taxes.


  4. - Honeybear - Thursday, Feb 7, 19 @ 10:09 am:

    And both plans deliver
    devastating blows to labor.
    Public sector unions in particular
    Paging Laner Muchin

    The loyal public Servants of Illinois
    Always the scapegoat
    Always the sin eater.

    To continually attack your workforce
    Only weakens the ability to
    Execute and maintain
    Policy, statute and law.

    No successful business
    Except vulture capitalists
    Treat their workforce like this.


  5. - Nada - Thursday, Feb 7, 19 @ 10:10 am:

    Illinois policy institute is not a pro biz group. It’s a pro illinois policy institute group.


  6. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, Feb 7, 19 @ 10:15 am:

    ===In the policy institute’s proposal, state lawmakers would set in motion a change to the state constitution…===

    Even granting that this could be a possible avenue, this isn’t feasible until 2021 and after getting it passed by referendum.

    ===It also calls for taxing retirement income and expanding the sales tax to include some services.===

    The retirement income issue faces hurdles, policy and politically.

    Are there votes in both chambers?

    If not, why not?


  7. - Grandson of Man - Thursday, Feb 7, 19 @ 10:16 am:

    “So, basing State employee pay on merit leads to economic growth? That’s a bit of a stretch.”

    Calling the former governor’s merit pay proposal garbage is too nice of a word to use. There was a possibility that if implemented, a large part of it would go only to a minimum of 25% of workers doing merit work. Rip off city.

    The elephant in the room, that the biz groups refuse to acknowledge, is the low state income tax rate paid by the wealthiest. Now is the best opportunity yet to do the difficult work and get ourselves a graduated state income tax. It’s a moral statement and a counter to the grossly immoral, who want to protect the richest even at the cost of a state fiscally collapsing.


  8. - lake county democrat - Thursday, Feb 7, 19 @ 10:26 am:

    Taxing retirement income is a way to make that Tribune op ed come to life, and one wonders how elastic CEO’s willingness to pay higher income taxes is when we’re talking about adding an extra 3% (and don’t forget the city and county governments are going to be raising property and sales taxes during this time as well). We really don’t know how the voters truly feel about these issues: oh, you can say “look how they voted in the last election” but in reality the pain of the pension crisis and other poor government decisions have been hidden, kicked down the road. Try doing these things and see how the voters react.

    As for the public workers, their benefits are protected by the Constitution - yes, rule of law above all else. Future jobs are not - the idea that tech disruption, for all its terrible side effects, has enabled businesses to output the same goods/services with far fewer people and at less costs, but the state can’t do the same, is…dubious. RNUG recently commented how there is always 3% or so of fat that can be cut - are we that certain there isn’t more?


  9. - wordslinger - Thursday, Feb 7, 19 @ 10:26 am:

    Looking at the IPI “plan” on their website, their pension proposal is clear as mud, given Supreme Court rulings.

    Might take more than three sentences to explain how you’re going to get around Supreme Court rulings and amend the Constitution to save $12.2 billion.


  10. - Anonymous - Thursday, Feb 7, 19 @ 10:30 am:

    For the love of God, go ahead and try the constitution change and change to current workers pensions so we can let the court slap it down and shot these people up once and for all.


  11. - wordslinger - Thursday, Feb 7, 19 @ 10:37 am:

    Have the civvies identified one member of the GA who would sponsor a bill taxing retirement income, much less vote for it?

    If not, the proposal really isn’t the part of any “solution.”


  12. - City Guy - Thursday, Feb 7, 19 @ 10:37 am:

    Honeybear, I respect government employees and do not intend to bash them. However, most well-run private and public sector entities do compensation studies on a regular basis. My sense is Illinois state worker compensation is out of whack because it has not been addressed in a rational manner. Historically, people in the trades are overpaid because the private sector trades have significantly less job stability and need more money for the bad times. Historically, administrative assistants and other line staff are over compensated due to regular raises. But the critical issue is my comments are just my observations, the state needs a real assessment based on facts.


  13. - Just Me 2 - Thursday, Feb 7, 19 @ 10:39 am:

    We should at least look into a better definition of what “retirement income” is. For example, you must be at least 60 years old for it to qualify.


  14. - Just A Dude - Thursday, Feb 7, 19 @ 10:40 am:

    Anon at 10:30. I don’t think they are ever going to shut up. In their minds anything but a progressive tax. If a progressive tax finally gets put in place it will be more
    reason to vilify government workers. With the IT consolidation, outsourcing and not replacing retirees, I don’t think you could cut the IT resources any further.


  15. - Honeybear - Thursday, Feb 7, 19 @ 10:44 am:

    Lake Co Democrat
    RNUG has not been in any state agency since before the Rauner years. With all due respect he is not able to make an assessment that 3% could be cut.
    Agencies are barely functioning husks
    Hollowed out as rich says
    Honestly at this point it’s like the final round of a
    Jenga stack
    You pull that 3%
    And it all crumbles.
    Go ahead
    Somebody look up the size of the workforce.
    Look at how many years of service
    Go ahead pull that last block
    Shout Jenga
    It’s all just a game to you.
    To me it’s
    My job
    My calling
    My families economic survival
    Go ahead
    Play Jenga with public Servants lives
    That what IPI and the Civies do


  16. - Anonymous - Thursday, Feb 7, 19 @ 10:45 am:

    ===its proposal would lead to a $2 billion budget surplus in five years. Schuster said that could either be invested in a rainy-day fund or given back to taxpayers in the form of a tax cut===

    Did they forget about their favorite bogeyman, the $130B or $270B of pension debt that needs to be paid? Or is their next plan to eliminate that as well?


  17. - Jibba - Thursday, Feb 7, 19 @ 10:49 am:

    LCD, the state already has the lowest per capita of state workers, far less than in the past. Those efficiencies have already been made, in spades.

    Not saying more efficiencies can’t happen, just saying that you are overlooking a dramatic increase already. In fact, like Honeybear, I agree that many agencies are understaffed to the point that they can no longer perform their basic functions. Look at Sterigenics and IEPA, for example. No experts to evaluate the situation and take action.


  18. - Anonymous - Thursday, Feb 7, 19 @ 10:49 am:

    Anon @ 1045

    They only like to mention the pensions when it comes to raising taxes. When budget surpluses happen they are eager to slash revenue to generate more deficit.

    Grover Norquist. IPI and their ilk need to go away.


  19. - Pundent - Thursday, Feb 7, 19 @ 10:52 am:

    =However, most well-run private and public sector entities do compensation studies on a regular basis. My sense is Illinois state worker compensation is out of whack because it has not been addressed in a rational manner.=

    So you’re assuming that the state has no sense of what the compensation rates are in the private sector and is significantly overpaying. And you base that on what? Maybe you should base your assessment on what you “know” and not what you “sense”.


  20. - City Zen - Thursday, Feb 7, 19 @ 10:52 am:

    ==I don’t know how the state determines compensation, but a suggestion is to conduct compensation studies==

    AEI did this analysis a few years ago. Illinois is in the top tier.


  21. - Anonymous - Thursday, Feb 7, 19 @ 10:53 am:

    City Guy…the IPI will not like the results of a compensation study. These have been done at national scales, and typically show a mixed bag. Lower wage/lower skill workers are often overpaid relative to the private sector due to the cost of their benefits and union representation (think garbage collectors at state parks), and anyone needing a degree is severely underpaid (think professionals, professors, doctors, scientists, and lawyers).


  22. - Go Hard - Thursday, Feb 7, 19 @ 10:57 am:

    State pays workers so well that Janus went to work for the IPI. Hmmm


  23. - Anonymous - Thursday, Feb 7, 19 @ 10:58 am:

    CZ, that AEI study was debunked thoroughly here.


  24. - Arsenal - Thursday, Feb 7, 19 @ 11:06 am:

    I just don’t trust anything the IPI puts out to be done in good faith.


  25. - Anonymous - Thursday, Feb 7, 19 @ 11:10 am:

    Need three changes to constitution to address state budget problems: progressive income tax, tax all pensions, and end state worker’s protection on health care and COLA. Everyone shares in the “pain”.


  26. - Demoralized - Thursday, Feb 7, 19 @ 11:12 am:

    ==end state worker’s protection on health care and COLA==

    That only affects future workers. And they could do that right now without amending the Constitution for new workers. There’s nothing preventing them from eliminating the current pension system for new employees in favor of something like a 401 K


  27. - City Zen - Thursday, Feb 7, 19 @ 11:15 am:

    ==CZ, that AEI study was debunked thoroughly here.==

    Well, that settles it. Let me guess, a union-funded think tank had a different opinion?

    It was a national study. While you can debate the how and what of the analysis, Illinois was on the top end.


  28. - Occam - Thursday, Feb 7, 19 @ 11:21 am:

    “In previous budget solution proposals, the Illinois Policy Institute has advocated for a reduction in the Local Government Distributive Fund. The measure was criticized for potentially pushing property taxes higher. Illinois has among the highest property taxes in the nation. Schuster said the new proposal doesn’t include that shift, but does include a proposed shift of future pension obligations to the local governments, something that was supported by former Gov. Bruce Rauner and House Speaker Michael Madigan alike.”

    The biggest losers in a pension cost shift would be the school districts.

    So, in the last 24 hours the school districts have been hit with new costs coming from the $40k minimum teacher salary proposal, the new $15/hr minimum wage proposal, and the pension cost shift proposal.


  29. - Giroud - Thursday, Feb 7, 19 @ 11:28 am:

    My question is why does Illinois have some of the highest compensated state workers when the cost of living here is at the national average?


  30. - Demoralized - Thursday, Feb 7, 19 @ 11:31 am:

    Just read the IPI proposal. Their pension “reform” is basically the same proposal that was already struck down by the Supreme Court. Their proposal for state employees is basically the same proposal that Rauner made. Same healthcare cost increase. Same pay plan (merit pay, no automatic increases). And in addition they advocate for not paying back pay owed for steps which is something that has already been ordered.

    As per usual the IPI’s proposal isn’t a serious proposal. It’s in the mold of Rauner in that it is not a realistic proposal. Much of it would never happen and yet they waste time proposing it anyway.

    One of the IPI’s central missions seems to be to be an anti-state employee cheerleader. They consistently bash state employees and generally advocate sticking it to them because they are, as the IPI believes, overpaid and have it too good in terms of benefits.

    The IPI’s proposal should be put where it belongs - in the trash.


  31. - Demoralized - Thursday, Feb 7, 19 @ 11:32 am:

    == Illinois was on the top end.==

    So what?

    ==My question is why does Illinois have some of the highest compensated state workers when the cost of living here is at the national average?==

    Again, so what?


  32. - Giroud - Thursday, Feb 7, 19 @ 11:36 am:

    Demoralized, I can’t tell if you are being funny but why should Illinois overpay for government? Especially considering we can’t pay our current bills and have a huge pension problem.


  33. - Honeybear - Thursday, Feb 7, 19 @ 11:36 am:

    As I remember it was a peer reviewed academic study that debunked as opposed the Koch funded study you are advocating. That being said I must admit I can’t seem to find it. Just being honest. But I think it’s out of Bob Bruno’s shop. Sure he is labor friendly but academics are peer reviewed as opposed to the unaccountable Unreviewed studies out of Koch funded shops. Look I get it. Numbers are a dark art of deception these days. That’s why it’s important to know your source. And yes I’m fuzzy on that myself but my point is I trust independent academics more than Koch funded ones.


  34. - VanillaMan - Thursday, Feb 7, 19 @ 11:40 am:

    This will be resolved by 2050 when the last Tier One state employees dies. Don’t rewrite our constitution over this.


  35. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, Feb 7, 19 @ 11:40 am:

    ===I can’t tell if you are being funny but why should Illinois overpay for government?===

    Which are overpaid.

    Be very specific.

    Also, if you want to include doctors, and those post graduate employees, also list what the market pays those in that industry.

    ===Especially considering we can’t pay our current bills and have a huge pension problem.===

    It was governors and general assemblies not paying into or skipping entirely payments.

    Keep up.


  36. - Demoralized - Thursday, Feb 7, 19 @ 11:45 am:

    ==why should Illinois overpay for government==

    I’m talking about salaries. I get tired of the complaining about what other people make. If someone doesn’t like their lot in life then get a different job. Just stop whining about what other people get. It’s childish.


  37. - Not a Billionaire - Thursday, Feb 7, 19 @ 11:46 am:

    Ford sees Chicago as it’s future 500 new jobs a billion dollar investment.
    Just announced. These groups need to pond sand.


  38. - RNUG - Thursday, Feb 7, 19 @ 11:51 am:

    == I don’t see how the state constitution would guarantee employees with a certain level of salary. ==

    It doesn’t.

    But if the employee is 6 years or less from retirement, it will not reduce the pension or future pension liability for SERS employees. For Tier 1, their pension is based on the highest 48 consecutive months during the previous 10 years.

    It would have a more immediate effect on Tier 2 because that is averaged over 96 months. But not necessarily a bigger effect since the benefits are less.


  39. - Skeptic - Thursday, Feb 7, 19 @ 11:52 am:

    ==Let me guess, a union-funded think tank had a different opinion? ==

    AEI.Org
    We are committed to making the [..] case for expanding freedom, increasing individual opportunity, and strengthening the free enterprise system [..]

    Yeah, so hardly “fair and balanced” either.


  40. - City Zen - Thursday, Feb 7, 19 @ 11:56 am:

    ==Yeah, so hardly “fair and balanced” either.==

    It was a national comparative study.


  41. - Chicagoan - Thursday, Feb 7, 19 @ 12:02 pm:

    ==Have the civvies identified one member of the GA who would sponsor a bill taxing retirement income, much less vote for it?==

    I’ve seen Sen. Hutchinson say it should be on the table.


  42. - Rich Miller - Thursday, Feb 7, 19 @ 12:03 pm:

    Chicagoan, that doesn’t mean she’d sponsor the bill. Even Toi has her limits /s


  43. - Skeptic - Thursday, Feb 7, 19 @ 12:04 pm:

    “It was a national comparative study.” And…? A pro-business organization is going to publish a pro-business report. Illinois is near they top using *their* pro-business criteria. That’s all that says.


  44. - Anonymous - Thursday, Feb 7, 19 @ 12:05 pm:

    VanillaMan, what’s to stop a GA and Governor from overpromising public employee benefits again in the future?

    That’s the reason to amend the Constitution. So this can never happen again.


  45. - Giroud - Thursday, Feb 7, 19 @ 12:06 pm:

    Demoralized, last I checked salaries are a big component of the cost of government. To ignore that cost item would be rather odd.


  46. - Ole' Nelson - Thursday, Feb 7, 19 @ 12:26 pm:

    “This will be resolved by 2050 when the last Tier One state employees dies.”

    I agree with your basic premise, but think your math may be off by a couple of decades.


  47. - Anotheretiree - Thursday, Feb 7, 19 @ 12:29 pm:

    ==This will be resolved by 2050 when the last Tier One state employees dies…Heh VM…I’m hoping to make it to 100..so please make that 2056


  48. - lake county democrat - Thursday, Feb 7, 19 @ 12:34 pm:

    Honeybear:

    Thanks for the response - note that I call for independent study (let “all sides” agree on who does it, “the rules” etc.) as a first step. At the same time, there is some precedence for RNUG’s contention: the federal budget sequestration. There was pain but nothing remotely like the doomsday scenarios the Democrats were painting, and a couple of years later they and Obama were basking in the deficit cutting results. Nothing should be off the table.


  49. - City Zen - Thursday, Feb 7, 19 @ 12:45 pm:

    ==I get tired of the complaining about what other people make.==

    You might say we’re “compelled” to ask the tough questions.

    ==This will be resolved by 2050 when the last Tier One state employees dies.==

    Tier 2 will have been enhanced 15 times by then.


  50. - Anonymous - Thursday, Feb 7, 19 @ 12:45 pm:

    Osewego Willy - I will give you one example. I did a google search and Indeed and Payscale.com indicate that the average salary for an Administrative Assistant in Chicago is $40,000 per year. I went to the CMS web site and the range (not average) is $36,000 to $84,000 for administrative assistants with the state.

    Additionally, based on my knowledge the state gives more holidays than the private sector and the benefit package tends to be better. The salary I cited was for Chicago while the state’s range covers Springfield and other places with a lower cost of living.

    That was quick on-the-fly analysis. But it reinforces what I have heard from friends and family who work(ed) for the state. They have all complained about having people in clerk like roles being overpaid. (The flip side is they complain that many professionals are underpaid.)

    If the State is significantly raises taxes, it should be able to objectively state that the total compensation packages (not just salaries) are in alignment with the market.


  51. - Anotherretiree - Thursday, Feb 7, 19 @ 12:45 pm:

    I’m curious if the claims that Illinois has the highest paid workforce, have been adjusted to today and the effects of Rauners 4 year freeze.


  52. - thechampaignlife - Thursday, Feb 7, 19 @ 12:49 pm:

    ===2050 when the last Tier One state employees dies===

    I hope the Tier One employees born in 1988 know they will not live beyond age 62.


  53. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, Feb 7, 19 @ 12:54 pm:

    ===based on my knowledge the state gives more holidays than the private sector and the benefit package tends to be better.===

    Perk of the job. All other jobs have perks too, some that state employees can’t or won’t get.

    ===They have all complained about having people in clerk like roles being overpaid. (The flip side is they complain that many professionals are underpaid.)===

    Service time factored in?

    In *any* industry, find me an employee that feels they make *exacly* their worth, no more or less, or colleagues that are paid their exact worth.

    ===If the State is significantly raises taxes, it should be able to objectively state that the total compensation packages (not just salaries) are in alignment with the market.===

    When all “administrate assistants” everywhere make that exact amount of market…

    Its not you, but there are those who complain state workers make too much then won’t take those same jobs “because”


  54. - A Jack - Thursday, Feb 7, 19 @ 1:24 pm:

    2050 is when the last Tier One members will retire. However the baby boomers, who are a solid chunk of Tier One, will be reaching retirement age within the next four years. By 2050 the Tier One active employee membership will have dwindled significantly.


  55. - Anonymous - Thursday, Feb 7, 19 @ 1:24 pm:

    VanillaMan, Tier II started January of 2011. Any employees who started in December of 2010 would be Tier I and if they were fresh out of college, 2050 is a bit young for them.

    RNUG - In SURS Tier I is the best 4 consecutive years no matter when they occurred, not just last 10.


  56. - Not a Billionaire - Thursday, Feb 7, 19 @ 1:31 pm:

    My wife just turned 50 Dont kill her at 80.


  57. - wordslinger - Thursday, Feb 7, 19 @ 1:34 pm:

    –However the baby boomers, who are a solid chunk of Tier One, will be reaching retirement age within the next four years.–

    Baby Boomers are defined as those born between 1946 and 1964. The retirement wave has begun, contributing to the continued shrinking of the labor participation rate nationwide.


  58. - Honeybear - Thursday, Feb 7, 19 @ 1:36 pm:

    Giroud
    I am so sorry.
    I was addressing you and put your name in as mine.
    My bad
    At 12:48
    That’s me Honeybear


  59. - Honeybear - Thursday, Feb 7, 19 @ 1:48 pm:

    Stuntman. The person works for a nationwide dollar store.
    I get it though.
    This is a big step.
    But I can tell you
    The Dollar store CAN pay the wage.
    My customer
    Can’t make 59% more
    At some point
    A living wage
    Without this legislation
    Managers at the same store
    Come to DHS for benefits as well
    I think the one I saw about 2 weeks ago
    Was at 13 an hour
    For a manager


  60. - Skeptic - Thursday, Feb 7, 19 @ 2:14 pm:

    “All other jobs have perks too, some that state employees can’t or won’t get.” Year-end bonuses, profit sharing, stock options and work-from-home spring quickly to mind.


  61. - Nonbeleiver - Thursday, Feb 7, 19 @ 2:43 pm:

    Interesting that the Medicaid budget is never mentioned. And over the dceades it has been the real cost driver in the state budget even though it is partially funded by the FEDS.

    It was $1 billion in 1970, $10.4 billion in 2000, $13.5 Billion in 2012 and $19.6 billion in 2016.
    Astronomical increases yet no where on the radar screen by anybody.

    Time to examine what is given but not required by federal law and for that matter in working with the new administration on requirements that could be changed.


  62. - A Jack - Thursday, Feb 7, 19 @ 2:55 pm:

    Here are some numbers I ran against one of the big three retirement systems. Currently Tier One is 60% of all members. However 40% of those Tier One members are baby boomers and will reach the Tier One retirement age within the next few years. Not all of them will retire, but probably most will. So by 2024 you will begin to see Tier 2 outnumbering Tier 1.


  63. - Demoralized - Thursday, Feb 7, 19 @ 2:59 pm:

    Great idea Nonbeliever. Let’s cut medical benefits. What could possibly go wrong?


  64. - Demoralized - Thursday, Feb 7, 19 @ 3:00 pm:

    ==You might say we’re “compelled” to ask the tough questions.==

    Or compelled to just whine about what other people make. I think that’s the more likely scenario.


  65. - Honeybear - Thursday, Feb 7, 19 @ 3:09 pm:

    Nonbeliever- not true. It’s totally being factored in. Especially in this minimum wage push. You have to understand that Medicaid eligibility is based on income. This 15$ minimum wage will do a lot to lower the Medicaid roles. And that’s a good thing. 97% of the customers I see want to be self sufficient. So no Medicaid is absolutely a factor and it’s not being ignored. The split with the feds is 50/50 btw.


  66. - Giroud - Thursday, Feb 7, 19 @ 3:14 pm:

    Demoralized, you’re surprised that many people care about the cost of their government? Illinois should not be at the top of list in state worker costs when we live in a state with an average cost of living comparatively.


  67. - Demoralized - Thursday, Feb 7, 19 @ 3:16 pm:

    ==Illinois should not be at the top of list in state worker costs==

    Says who? You? Again with the complaining about what other people make.

    ==when we live in a state with an average cost of living comparatively.==

    So what? So how about you tell us what salary state employees should make and then get back to us since you seem to think they make too much. Put out a number.

    This obsession with what someone else makes is just plain sad.


  68. - Nonbeleiver - Thursday, Feb 7, 19 @ 3:20 pm:

    @Honeybear,

    If and when there is a $15 an hour minimum wage we can come back and discuss your point in a rational manner and see how the ‘numbers’ play out.

    Until then, it is still interesting that even these business groups, who certainly don’t want a $15 an hour wage, won’t mention a huge cost factor in the state budget.


  69. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, Feb 7, 19 @ 3:21 pm:

    - Giroud -

    Illinois has the fewest per capital state employees in America.

    https://tinyurl.com/y9cj3xd9

    In Illinois, we’re doing more… with less.


  70. - Demoralized - Thursday, Feb 7, 19 @ 3:21 pm:

    Nonbeliever:

    If I could expound on what I said. Cutting Medicaid will increase costs in the end. You would be shifting some care to more expensive hospital care. If a person has no options for certain things they are going to go to an emergency room. Emergency rooms are expensive. And those hospitals won’t be reimbursed by the person seeking care. It’s cheaper in a lot of cases to provide care through Medicaid reimbursements.


  71. - Anonymous - Thursday, Feb 7, 19 @ 3:39 pm:

    “I will give you one example. I did a google search and Indeed and Payscale.com indicate that the average salary for an Administrative Assistant in Chicago is $40,000 per year. I went to the CMS web site and the range (not average) is $36,000 to $84,000 for administrative assistants with the state.”
    The problem with this comparison is CMS has changed the job duties of hundreds of jobs over the years but never changed the job titles. An Administrative Assistants duties for the State May not even remotely resemble an Administrative Assistant in the private sector.


  72. - City Guy - Thursday, Feb 7, 19 @ 3:44 pm:

    Demoralized - The issue you seem to be missing is we don’t have an “obsession with what someone else makes.” We just want our tax dollars managed well which includes making sure salaries/compensation are appropriate. This is basic Government Budgeting and Management 101. But unfortunately, the State of Illinois has been failing at Budget 101 for a couple of decades.

    The issue is not simple - I can guarantee some state employees are overpaid and others are underpaid. But we don’t know until there is a compensation study or more transparency on the comp studies conducted by the state.


  73. - Giroud - Thursday, Feb 7, 19 @ 3:48 pm:

    Oswego Willy, that’s what makes this even more frustrating. Our cost of government should be smaller than it is with a comparatively smaller workforce.


  74. - Demoralized - Thursday, Feb 7, 19 @ 3:51 pm:

    == should be smaller than it is with a comparatively smaller workforce==

    So you want a smaller workforce and you want them paid less. Again, what should that “less” be since you seem to object to what they make now?


  75. - Demoralized - Thursday, Feb 7, 19 @ 3:52 pm:

    ==making sure salaries/compensation are appropriate==

    Who decides what is appropriate?


  76. - Anonymous - Thursday, Feb 7, 19 @ 3:53 pm:

    Demoralized, I don’t understand why anyone would would want to pay more for something than others do. I have no issue with fair pay and benefits, but Illinois has a cost of living that is literally the average for the country, why would we pay more than other state taxpayers for government services?


  77. - RNUG - Thursday, Feb 7, 19 @ 3:55 pm:

    == RNUG - In SURS Tier I is the best 4 consecutive years no matter when they occurred, not just last 10. ==

    Anonymous, you might want to go to the SERS website and read their Tier 1 handbook. … I did before posting just to make sure I had the facts correct.


  78. - Demoralized - Thursday, Feb 7, 19 @ 3:56 pm:

    ==I have no issue with fair pay and benefits==

    You are defining “fair” as what someone makes in another state. Perhaps they don’t make enough?

    Here we go again with the “we’ve got to be the same as other states” argument.


  79. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, Feb 7, 19 @ 3:58 pm:

    ===that’s what makes this even more frustrating. Our cost of government should be smaller than it is with a comparatively smaller workforce.===

    Yeah, your ignorance is showing.

    Fewer workers, but you still need doctors, MBAs, those with higher education with fewer on the lower scale…

    I’ll make you the same deal I make everyone who complains about state workers pay;

    Whatever percentage you think it needs to be lowered, yuh send me that same percentage of your income.

    10%? Fine. I’ll take 10% of your income, as I don’t think you should be at your current income, without any real justification.

    Yeah, it sounds silly. Makes you think how silly you sound.


  80. - Giroud - Thursday, Feb 7, 19 @ 4:04 pm:

    The good news Oswego Willy, is that you can choose not to buy from company, thus not paying me anything. You likely already contribute nothing to my income.


  81. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, Feb 7, 19 @ 4:06 pm:

    ===The good news is that you can choose not to buy from company, thus not paying me anything. You likely already contribute nothing to my income.===

    No.

    You tell me how much less state workers should make, I’ll take that percentage from you.

    That’s what I said, not your ridiculousness.


  82. - Giroud - Thursday, Feb 7, 19 @ 4:11 pm:

    No what?

    In regards to state worker Costa, I don’t know. I haven’t studied it in detail. I never claimed otherwise. My point is that Illinois with an average cost of living compared to the rest of the the country should not be at the top of states with the most expensive public employees.


  83. - Demoralized - Thursday, Feb 7, 19 @ 4:21 pm:

    ==should not be at the top of states==

    Again, what should they make? You must have an idea of what the average salary should be since you continue to insist they are overpaid.

    I don’t know when we reached the point of striving for average. You’ve got real high standards there don’t you.


  84. - Demoralized - Thursday, Feb 7, 19 @ 4:23 pm:

    ==You likely already contribute nothing to my income.==

    Doesn’t matter. What do you make. Perhaps we believe it’s too much as well. Why shouldn’t we sit in judgment of you since you seem to want to dictate the salaries of others. I guess you aren’t all that comfortable with someone telling you what you should make now are you?


  85. - Giroud - Thursday, Feb 7, 19 @ 4:27 pm:

    Of course it matters Demoralized. You have no say in my pay unless you employ me.


  86. - Anonymous - Thursday, Feb 7, 19 @ 4:29 pm:

    Illinois State workers should have wages and benefits in line with the national average of state workers doing similar work as a starting point.


  87. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, Feb 7, 19 @ 4:30 pm:

    ===I don’t know. I haven’t studied it in detail. I never claimed otherwise.===

    Then maybe read up, and speak from knowledge, not ignorance.


  88. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, Feb 7, 19 @ 4:30 pm:

    ===Of course it matters Demoralized. You have no say in my pay unless you employ me.===

    State workers work for Illinois, not “you”

    You are an IPI talking point.


  89. - Giroud - Thursday, Feb 7, 19 @ 4:31 pm:

    This may surprise you, but I get paid less than my peers in New York City. We do the same exact job.


  90. - Demoralized - Thursday, Feb 7, 19 @ 4:31 pm:

    ==You have no say in my pay unless you employ me.==

    You don’t employ state workers. What’s the difference. You think you should be able to set their salaries. So, put your money where your mouth is. What do you do. What do you make. Then we can make a determination whether we think it’s “fair” or not.

    I simply find it distasteful that some whine about what others make.

    And again, you still refuse to say what you think they should make. Give us a number. You obviously have something in mind.

    Put up or shut up.


  91. - Giroud - Thursday, Feb 7, 19 @ 4:32 pm:

    State workers work for the citizens of Illinois.


  92. - City Zen - Thursday, Feb 7, 19 @ 4:32 pm:

    ==Illinois has the fewest per capital state employees in America==

    I looked into this and found most high population/GDP states such as Illinois rank near the bottom. CA, FL, TX, NY all rank in the bottom 10. OH, WI, PA are also in the lower half. Coincidentally, most of these states fall in to that top tier for worker pay that I mentioned earlier.

    Could we do better? Absolutely. Are we an outlier? Not as much as you think. But folks here tend to blow this issue out of proportion (queue HoneyBear’s wrath).


  93. - Demoralized - Thursday, Feb 7, 19 @ 4:33 pm:

    ==but I get paid less than my peers in New York City==

    And that stinks


  94. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, Feb 7, 19 @ 4:33 pm:

    ===Illinois State workers should have wages and benefits in line with the national average of state workers doing similar work as a starting point.===

    Again, per capita workers, you want averages, but you haven’t studied what that all means…

    Yikes.


  95. - City Zen - Thursday, Feb 7, 19 @ 4:34 pm:

    ==I simply find it distasteful that some whine about what others make.==

    I think his argument is compelling (note hidden reference).


  96. - Demoralized - Thursday, Feb 7, 19 @ 4:34 pm:

    ==State workers work for the citizens of Illinois.==

    They work for an employer like anyone else. They don’t personally work for you.


  97. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, Feb 7, 19 @ 4:35 pm:

    ===State workers work for the citizens of Illinois.===

    State workers are also citizens.

    We’ve gone over this 1000 of time here.


  98. - Giroud - Thursday, Feb 7, 19 @ 4:35 pm:

    Citizens of Illinois contribute to state worker pay and benefits. You almost certainly contribute nothing to my pay.

    And it doesn’t stink that I get paid less than a New York county worker. I could move there and get paid more. My choice. Not worth it to me for many reasons.


  99. - Demoralized - Thursday, Feb 7, 19 @ 4:36 pm:

    Still no numbers. Only complaints that they make “too much.”

    Tell us oh wise one what those numbers should be.


  100. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, Feb 7, 19 @ 4:44 pm:

    ===My choice. Not worth it to me for many reasons.===

    Then stop beefing, you made a choice. Others chose to work for the state, and working for the state intails just that. You are not in the HR department, heck, you have no idea what it all means… remember?

    ===I don’t know. I haven’t studied it in detail. I never claimed otherwise.===

    This place ain’t Facebook or other places that allow drivel ton fester as a “fact” when it’s jealous opinion but you “choose” whatever.


  101. - City Guy - Thursday, Feb 7, 19 @ 5:29 pm:

    As background, a compensation study is not going to come up with a specific number, for instance it won’t say an Administrative Assistant with 5 years experience should make $38,500. It will provide a range, 50% of AAs with 5 years experience make between $34,000 and $41,000. (fyi- made up numbers)

    It is then up to the entity to decide if the salaries are reasonable. If it is too high,typically an entity just holds back increases in salary until it is within a reasonable range - they don’t cut salaries. If it is too low, they look at their budget and figure out what they can afford. They should also look at where they are having high turnover because that is an indication that the compensation should be increased.

    A quick analogy is it is like body weight. It is best done on a regular basis where some minor adjustments in diet can be made. Likewise, the majority of people are going to fall into the normal range where no change is needed. But if someone is at one edge of the spectrum and seriously underweight or overweight, corrective action is needed.

    A good comp study will provide facts. There still will be different interpretation of those facts but it provides something concrete rather than a bunch of drivel.

    I think it is important too have objective information. Currently the dialogue is too much right wingers saying government workers make too much and government employees saying they don’t make enough. Based on my experience, it is going to be a mixture of both.


  102. - wordslinger - Thursday, Feb 7, 19 @ 6:39 pm:

    –I looked into this and found most high population/GDP states such as Illinois rank near the bottom.–

    High population/high GDP? Has someone informed the troncs of this new discovery?


  103. - Grandson of Man - Thursday, Feb 7, 19 @ 6:53 pm:

    Since we’re talking IPI here, anyone who never criticized the previous governor for his income skyrocketing to $279 million in 2015 and 2016 while paying a low state income tax has zero room to criticize the pay and benefits of state workers.

    State workers are taxed at the same state rate as someone who is thousands of times wealthier than they are. That’s ridiculous.


  104. - City Zen - Thursday, Feb 7, 19 @ 9:33 pm:

    ==Has someone informed the troncs of this new discovery?==

    They’re locked in the soundproof chamber next to AFSCME.


  105. - ajjacksson - Thursday, Feb 7, 19 @ 10:59 pm:

    I’m not convinced that Illinois has an “average” cost of living among the 50 states, particularly in Chicagoland. State workers and teachers need to be part of our communities. Do we really want teachers and State workers commuting a couple hours to work because they can’t afford to live in the community they work in?


  106. - Covert - Friday, Feb 8, 19 @ 5:03 am:

    The IL Lottery outsourced its “management” to Camelot, a British outfit which in turn exports profits to the Canada (Ontario’s Teachers Pension Fund Billions in 10 years). I guess IL does not have capable executives (LOL) that can eliminate the ‘middle man” and keep profits in our State. Privatizers: Please stop talking out of both sides of your mouth.


  107. - Retired state worker - Friday, Feb 8, 19 @ 9:00 am:

    A good start would be to sell the bonds for the pension buyout. What is the hold up on doing this.


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