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Full of sound and fury, signifying nothing

Tuesday, Sep 10, 2019

* The City Club hosted a pension discussion yesterday. The moderator and two of the three panelists are of the “Do something!” ilk who demand that legislators fix the pension mess, but don’t really have any ideas of their own beyond variations on the same failed strategies from the past. A new Tribune editorial today is a prime example of this. Lots of complaining about inaction, but no ideas.

Sen. Steans tried to inject a bit of reason and sanity, but nobody seemed to care much

State Sen. Heather Steans, D-Chicago, who joked about being the only lawmaker brave enough to sit on the panel and take the criticism, didn’t agree with the others that Springfield hasn’t tried to fix the issue. She said trying to change the state’s constitution would be a waste of effort because there are other constitutional protections, including the federal contracts clause, that would keep lawmakers from altering existing and retired worker pension arrangements.

“I’d much rather have our limited ability to focus on what we’re going to do here to be pragmatic, reasonable and something we actually hope to be able to achieve,” she said.

She also mentioned the federal Constitution’s “Takings Clause” as an impediment to cutting legally earned benefits.

* One Illinois

Steans offered a series of actual proposals, beginning with raising additional money for pensions, including through Gov. Pritzker’s “fair tax,” a graduated income tax, scheduled to go before voters to amend the state constitution with next year’s general election.

But she warned that “there will be a well-funded campaign against it,” no doubt to be led by the IPI, and other potential solutions had pitfalls as well.

She mentioned a “consideration model,” meant to give public workers a choice between pensions based on raises on the job or on cost-of-living increases after retiring, but not both.

Other attempts to alter benefits for public pensions have been rejected by the Illinois Supreme Court, and it’s not clear it would allow those benefits to be negotiated in any case. Msall bemoaned how the Supreme Court had simply struck down previous attempts to change pension benefits, while offering “nothing” in the way of guidance on how to proceed without reductions.

Regardless, Steans said, “I do believe we should have labor at the table working with us on this.”

The Supreme Court’s role does not include advising the legislature how to specifically write bills to avoid violating the state’s Constitution. Its role is to say “this is unconstitutional,” or “this is not unconstitutional.” Even so, the justices have been pretty darned clear on multiple occasions about what the Consitution says: Pension benefits are a contractual promise that cannot be undone.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

79 Comments »
  1. - Skeptic - Tuesday, Sep 10, 19 @ 10:49 am:

    “I do believe we should have labor at the table working with us on this.” Can I ask why? This isn’t a labor issue.


  2. - OutOfState - Tuesday, Sep 10, 19 @ 10:53 am:

    === Can I ask why? This isn’t a labor issue.===

    Uhhh I don’t know what is a labor issue if not pensions. Union members (i.e. employees) work for compensation, both immediate (paychecks, benefits) and deferred (pensions). If one part of that equation changes significantly, labor is sure as heck going to be involved.


  3. - Rich Miller - Tuesday, Sep 10, 19 @ 10:53 am:

    === Can I ask why? This isn’t a labor issue. ===

    LOL

    Not a labor issue? How do you figure that? They represent a whole lot of public employees.

    Also, try to pass something in this environment that the unions 100 percent oppose.


  4. - Chicagonk - Tuesday, Sep 10, 19 @ 10:54 am:

    Illinois should pay attention to what happens with the Arizona change. Obviously Arizona is a more conservative state with vastly less powerful public unions, but it is worth monitoring.

    Separately, Illinois could pass legislation allowing for municipal bankruptcies. Its not a panacea, but would allow municipalities like Harvey that have clearly tapped out local taxpayers a way forward.


  5. - Grandson of Man - Tuesday, Sep 10, 19 @ 10:56 am:

    “I’d much rather have our limited ability to focus on what we’re going to do here to be pragmatic, reasonable and something we actually hope to be able to achieve”

    Pension reform was done multiple times, by Steans herself and her colleagues. Thankfully this year Democrats became change people and put a much-needed reform on the ballot, the graduated income tax amendment.

    Republicans are not change people. They don’t want to right-size the tax code so that the rest of us don’t keep carrying the wealthiest’s share of the state’s financial burdens. Some ILGOP and their supporters keep supporting the same old austerity while unfairly protecting the highest earners at all costs.


  6. - Honeybear - Tuesday, Sep 10, 19 @ 10:58 am:

    Oh the bleating
    of the privileged
    as they exercise their
    inherent traits
    of
    shirking responsibility
    and self centeredness


  7. - Oswego Willy - Tuesday, Sep 10, 19 @ 10:59 am:

    The pesky constitution can’t be talked out of what the ILSC has said it means when it comes to pensions.

    When you have @StatehouseChick and IPI thinking… they ain’t thinkin’, they’re wishin’.

    Some wish for unrealistic pension relief with unrealistic ways to achieve it… others wish for natural disasters.

    Both options aren’t worthy to be considered dorm room solutions.

    But, here we are.

    If “a” side will not recognize the realities of both the ILSC and the interpretation of the constitution, that side isn’t an honest partner to finding any solution.


  8. - Streamwood Retiree - Tuesday, Sep 10, 19 @ 10:59 am:

    One novel idea - quit trying to cheat your way out of your contractual obligations. Don’t spend the “Millionaire’s Tax” money on new programs. Use it to shore up the pension fund and any left over for the schools that the state is supposed to fund.
    Honestly, Democrats seem like welshers and republicans just want to push workers into the mud. A pox on both your houses.

    Note: re “retiree” in my handle. I’m a FEDERAL retiree. I have no dog in this fight except that promises were made in my name as a voter and now pols want to recant and besmirch the name of Illinois.


  9. - Shytown - Tuesday, Sep 10, 19 @ 11:01 am:

    Kudos to Steans for being a voice of reason. Changing existing pension obligations is never going to happen. Repeat: never going to happen. Focus on what can be changed and future pension obligations - and get it right this time around.


  10. - lakeside - Tuesday, Sep 10, 19 @ 11:05 am:

    I wonder how many times Heather Steans has been in a room full of people being like, “guys, I hear you, but here’s what we can do under the law. Do you want to talk about that?”

    It feels like… a large number of times.


  11. - Skeptic - Tuesday, Sep 10, 19 @ 11:05 am:

    I interpreted her remarks as the old “The Unions need to concede something on pensions” trope which of course is nonsense since it’s not a union benefit to negotiate.


  12. - Cornish - Tuesday, Sep 10, 19 @ 11:07 am:

    Thanks Shytown, the IL Supreme Court made it clear you can’t reduce pension benefits of current employees due to the state constitution. That clause should be changed going forward however, so the state doesn’t have this problem in the future.


  13. - Oswego Willy - Tuesday, Sep 10, 19 @ 11:08 am:

    ===That clause should be changed going forward however, so the state doesn’t have this problem in the future.===

    Explain Tier II.

    Thanks.


  14. - Cornish - Tuesday, Sep 10, 19 @ 11:10 am:

    Can a future governor and state legislature increase Tier 2 benefits?

    Thanks.


  15. - Three Dimensional Checkers - Tuesday, Sep 10, 19 @ 11:12 am:

    Politically, this issue has been destroying careers probably since 2014. It was a big reason why Quinn and Daniel Biss lost in their respective races. You could probably add Bill Daley to that list because he foolishly pushed a lot of his voters into Jeremiah Joyce Jr.’s waiting arms. I don’t see why any politician, especially a Democrat, would want anything to do with this issues at all.


  16. - Roman - Tuesday, Sep 10, 19 @ 11:12 am:

    Steans did what the other panel members only talk about — she took a politically risky vote to cut pension benefits. And guess what? It was declared unconstitutional by a unanimous Illinois Supreme Court.

    Since then, she’s worked in a reality-based world, searching for a place where what’s legal intersects with what’s politically possible. That’s a world in which the other panel members have never lived. They get to stomp their feet and throw recycled crap at the wall, hoping something sticks.

    People who actually solve problems, like Steans, don’t operate that way.


  17. - Oswego Willy - Tuesday, Sep 10, 19 @ 11:13 am:

    ===Can a future governor and state legislature increase Tier 2 benefits?===

    1) You can’t explain what Tier II is.

    2) You don’t like that Tier II exists as it ruins your point.

    3) I’ll make up a phony “oh yeah, well… you’ll see… some governor in the future…” to cover for #1 or #2

    You chose #3

    Good to know, lol


  18. - JS Mill - Tuesday, Sep 10, 19 @ 11:13 am:

    =Can a future governor and state legislature increase Tier 2 benefits?=

    Yes


  19. - Oswego Willy - Tuesday, Sep 10, 19 @ 11:15 am:

    Governors and legislators can do lots.

    Being worried about what they *can* do because you don’t like the constitution or how it’s interpreted isn’t an argument to finding any solution. It’s concerned trolling for its own sake.


  20. - Steve - Tuesday, Sep 10, 19 @ 11:15 am:

    It’s possible if things don’t improve for the pension funds that beneficiaries could become creditors of the state of Illinois.


  21. - Ducky LaMoore - Tuesday, Sep 10, 19 @ 11:16 am:

    ===Explain Tier II.===

    Exactly. Here is how tier 1 is calculated https://www.srs.illinois.gov/Tier1/retireben_sers1.htm#anchor 33

    Here is tier 2 https://www.srs.illinois.gov/Tier2/retireben_sers2.htm#anchor 33

    The benefit problem has been fixed to the extent of the law. Here’s an idea, find a way to fund the pensions. Or make a 401k style program. Just don’t forget you have to fund pensions for everyone hired before this.


  22. - Norseman - Tuesday, Sep 10, 19 @ 11:17 am:

    If we could only tax the hot air and wasted energy expended by the pension slashers, we could pay off the pension debt.


  23. - Ducky LaMoore - Tuesday, Sep 10, 19 @ 11:19 am:

    “Can a future governor and state legislature increase Tier 2 benefits?”

    The only way I can see it happening is in the event of runaway inflation where you have 10-15% inflation and pensioners are only getting a 3% COLA. Attempts to sweeten tier 2 would be politically untenable otherwise.


  24. - Moby - Tuesday, Sep 10, 19 @ 11:19 am:

    ===She mentioned a “consideration model,” meant to give public workers a choice between pensions based on raises on the job or on cost-of-living increases after retiring, but not both.===

    Not until the current contract is over, and a new one has to be negotiated in like 3.5 years.


  25. - DougChicago - Tuesday, Sep 10, 19 @ 11:19 am:

    Senator Steans speaks the truth.

    What I fear tho will give lie to all the posturing is that the progressive income tax will pass and then all of that money will go to new social service spending. Democrats and many Republicans simply cannot say no to spending. This extra money for pensions will dribble away to nothing.


  26. - Cornish - Tuesday, Sep 10, 19 @ 11:19 am:

    Exactly, JS Mills all it takes is a simple vote to make Tier II a similar disaster as Tier I for future generations. I care too much about my kids and their kids for that to happen.


  27. - Oswego Willy - Tuesday, Sep 10, 19 @ 11:21 am:

    ===it takes is a simple vote to make Tier II a similar disaster as Tier I for future generations.===

    … and yet, there is no bill or call to do that.

    Being a concerned troll isn’t finding a solution.


  28. - Cronish - Tuesday, Sep 10, 19 @ 11:22 am:

    Oswego, did I say there was a bill to do it? You may want to reread.


  29. - Oswego Willy - Tuesday, Sep 10, 19 @ 11:24 am:

    ===did I say there was a bill to do it? You may want to reread.===

    LOL

    I’m mocking that here;

    “Being a concerned troll isn’t finding a solution.”

    You have nothing but hand wringing and dorm room “maybe this” thinking.


  30. - City Zen - Tuesday, Sep 10, 19 @ 11:25 am:

    ==Explain Tier II==

    A separate tier of pension benefits that can be enhanced at any time.


  31. - Jibba - Tuesday, Sep 10, 19 @ 11:25 am:

    ==It’s possible if things don’t improve for the pension funds that beneficiaries could become creditors of the state of Illinois.===

    If the pension funds run dry but the ILSC has already said that the state must continue to pay the pensions, taxes will go up to pay them as an annual cost. If the pension funds accept state assets as payments into the funds via agreement or some currently unavailable bankruptcy option, the state (or local government) will have to rent those assets, and taxes will go up. There is a common denominator here. Why not just pay the ramp now when that is the cheapest option?


  32. - Ducky LaMoore - Tuesday, Sep 10, 19 @ 11:26 am:

    @Cornish

    So let’s all freak out about things that are legally possible but will never happen.


  33. - City Zen - Tuesday, Sep 10, 19 @ 11:28 am:

    ==If the pension funds run dry but the ILSC has already said that the state must continue to pay the pensions, taxes will go up to pay them as an annual cost.==

    And those multi-year pay freezes won’t be fun either.


  34. - Oswego Willy - Tuesday, Sep 10, 19 @ 11:28 am:

    ===that can be enhanced at any time.===

    “can be”

    All this concern about what could happen, none addressing what may need to occur to fix pensions.


  35. - Cornish - Tuesday, Sep 10, 19 @ 11:32 am:

    Ducky, you think a future state government won’t increase Tier II benefits? When we know how to protect against that major potential problem, we should act. Why would you want to risk the future of Illinois kids?


  36. - Jibba - Tuesday, Sep 10, 19 @ 11:36 am:

    ==And those multi-year pay freezes won’t be fun either.===

    True, but at least that would be constitutional, as opposed to all other ideas here, including the consideration model.

    No one ever promised a state employee a job or a specific salary (both of which affect the pension payment), so you can freeze or even cut salary and staff, but good luck getting good help under those circumstances.


  37. - Grandson of Man - Tuesday, Sep 10, 19 @ 11:37 am:

    “I care too much about my kids and their kids for that to happen.”

    Teach them that we have to finally raise taxes on those making the most money instead of further cutting those who don’t.


  38. - Oswego Willy - Tuesday, Sep 10, 19 @ 11:39 am:

    ===I guess people should not get vaccines. One may not get measles without a vaccine.===

    If you’re going to argue like a child, this might be too deep of water for you.

    If you’re thinking you “need” to stop it;

    Get 71, get 36… or get enough signatures and how the language passes muster… oh, you can’t diminish what is already earned.

    “I guess people should not get vaccines. One may not get measles without a vaccine.”

    Your hot pocket is burning in the dorm microwave.


  39. - Oswego Willy - Tuesday, Sep 10, 19 @ 11:42 am:

    ===I care too much about my kids and their kids for that to happen.===

    Now we’re at the…

    “Think about the children”

    … trolling?

    This ain’t Facebook.


  40. - JIbba - Tuesday, Sep 10, 19 @ 11:44 am:

    ==When we know how to protect against that major potential problem, we should act. Why would you want to risk the future of Illinois kids?===

    The biggest cause of the pension disaster was the state underpaying their share. If you want to prevent a future disaster, it would be more effective to require the state to put in its full share every year. After all, shorting pensions is much easier than raising benefits. It gets suggested every single year.


  41. - Skeptic - Tuesday, Sep 10, 19 @ 11:46 am:

    “Your hot pocket is burning in the dorm microwave.” Restaurant quality, except in a dormitory kitchen.


  42. - Michelle Flaherty - Tuesday, Sep 10, 19 @ 11:53 am:

    Here’s a question: What is this amendment going to say?

    On one hand, I’ve seen people advocating for simply eliminating the existing pension clause in the IL Constitution that serves as an iron-clad guarantee.

    OK, but if you strike that guarantee, it merely means pension benefits would be at the routine whim of governors and lawmakers. You wanna go that route? Think about it.

    Or are we talking about changing the constitution to specifically spell out in the constitution a reduced level of retirement benefits?
    Good luck with that.


  43. - Moe Berg - Tuesday, Sep 10, 19 @ 11:55 am:

    While it’s to be expected from the Trib, I really detest Crain’s editorial board’s similar bleating about amending the constitution as a way out of the problem.

    Hard to see it as anything other than intellectually dishonest pandering to an under-informed business readership. It’s not constructive.


  44. - JS Mill - Tuesday, Sep 10, 19 @ 11:58 am:

    =And those multi-year pay freezes won’t be fun either.=

    We have already gone through multi-year pay freezes in education.

    = Why would you want to risk the future of Illinois kids?=

    So you oppose investing in kids?

    That is what a teacher’s salary and benefits actually is, and investment in kids.

    Not surprised that you and others don’t understand that.


  45. - anon - Tuesday, Sep 10, 19 @ 11:59 am:

    The Supreme Court has addressed the “consideration” argument and has indicated that the constitution only allows for “additional” benefits based on consideration and not for cuts based on consideration. Forgoing a pay raise to preserve a COLA is not an additional benefit. The Court’s discussion is in a footnote in the Heaton opinion. Copied here: 12Additional benefits may always be added, of course (see Kraus v. Board of Trustees of the Police
    Pension Fund, 72 Ill. App. 3d at 849), and the State may require additional employee contributions or
    other consideration in exchange (see Gualano v. City of Des Plaines, 139 Ill. App. 3d 456, 459 (1985)).
    However, once the additional benefits are in place and the employee continues to work, remains a
    member of a covered retirement system, and complies with any qualifications imposed when the
    additional benefits were first offered, the additional benefits cannot be unilaterally diminished or
    eliminated. See, e.g., Taft v. Board of Trustees of the Police Pension Fund, 133 Ill. App. 3d 566, 572
    (1985); Carr v. Board of Trustees of the Police Pension Fund, 158 Ill. App. 3d 7, 9-10 (1987); cf.
    Kuhlmann v. Board of Trustees of the Police Pension Fund, 106 Ill. App. 3d 603, 609 (1982) (member
    not eligible for increase in benefits where he had ceased contributing to the pension fund prior to the
    change in the law).


  46. - City Zen - Tuesday, Sep 10, 19 @ 12:08 pm:

    ==So you oppose investing in kids?==

    Won’t someone please think of the children?

    I’ve got property tax bills and data from the US govt that shows me Illinois invests quite heavily in kids today.


  47. - Oswego Willy - Tuesday, Sep 10, 19 @ 12:16 pm:

    - Michelle Flaherty -

    Agreed. And to your point;

    Can it get 71 and 36? Guessing it won’t, can the language of these petitions pass muster AND be effective to intent too?

    (Tips cap to - Skeptic -)


  48. - SSL - Tuesday, Sep 10, 19 @ 12:18 pm:

    The State of Illinois, and many municipalities within the state, have let down the public employees and taxpayers relative to public pensions.

    Residents have a choice to make. As the Clash used to say, do I stay or do I go. That’s pretty much it. The state will never have enough revenue to provide good services and fulfill pension obligations. The court has been pretty clear on the fact that pensions must be paid, so services will suffer.

    It’s a big world out there. Don’t limit yourself to thinking you must stay here.


  49. - the old man - Tuesday, Sep 10, 19 @ 12:20 pm:

    Be careful what you wish for Heather as far as guidance from the Supreme Court. They might well be for Fair Maps which would destroy your party”s death hold on the legislative process. Best if you elected house and senate members used some common sense in writing legislation. If you folks do not have the ability to read and understand the Illinois Constitution, then hire some bright staffers who will serve you and we taxpayers well.


  50. - Tim - Tuesday, Sep 10, 19 @ 12:23 pm:

    Lots of ways to fix this just not enough courage to do so. Can’t change the benefits because if a poorly worded state constitution? Fine. No rule that says you can’t tax the benefit at the same rate as the COLA and lockbox the funds back to the pensions. Additionally, if this has to be funder, salaries do not. They have to be negotiated. Deduct the amount that goes into funding pensions from the pools of monies that fund salaries and other benefits and if labor doesn’t like it too bad.


  51. - Oswego Willy - Tuesday, Sep 10, 19 @ 12:23 pm:

    ===They might well be for Fair Maps which would destroy your party”s death hold on the legislative process.===

    … and yet, when the Dems lost the House map in the 90s, the GOP held a House majority for 2 of the 10 years.


  52. - Oswego Willy - Tuesday, Sep 10, 19 @ 12:26 pm:

    ===No rule that says you can’t tax the benefit at the same rate as the COLA===

    Does Illinois tax pensions? Retirement income?

    I’m confused, I’m reading, but your heavy mouth breathing gets in the way.

    ===too bad.===

    (Sigh)


  53. - Dan Johnson - Tuesday, Sep 10, 19 @ 12:33 pm:

    We should tax pension income.


  54. - Steve Polite - Tuesday, Sep 10, 19 @ 12:38 pm:

    @Cornish You’re missing the point OW & others have made regarding Tier 2 benefits. The GA can reduce future benefits constitutionally for new hires anytime.


  55. - Oswego Willy - Tuesday, Sep 10, 19 @ 12:39 pm:

    ===We should tax pension income.===

    Not choosing a side to that argument, but is there enough political will to make this a possibility?

    Is this a doable solution, also doable to its conclusion?


  56. - Rich Miller - Tuesday, Sep 10, 19 @ 12:40 pm:

    ===No rule that says you can’t tax the benefit at the same rate as the COLA===

    Likely an equal protection argument if you only tax public retirement income.


  57. - Looking down the road - Tuesday, Sep 10, 19 @ 12:40 pm:

    SSL:

    == do I stay or do I go==

    You nailed it.


  58. - how come - Tuesday, Sep 10, 19 @ 12:43 pm:

    How come taxing a pension income isn’t also a “taking” or “reduction” in contracted benefits?


  59. - Ducky LaMoore - Tuesday, Sep 10, 19 @ 12:47 pm:

    I’m so sick of all the Illinois haters that always threaten to leave but just stay here b****ing senselessly on and on. Please go, our hearts will go on.


  60. - Oswego Willy - Tuesday, Sep 10, 19 @ 12:48 pm:

    ===Likely an equal protection argument if you only tax public retirement income.===

    Begs the question if you want to go down the road of taxing retirement income, is there enough support to do so?

    This should be a rhetorical question….


  61. - City Zen - Tuesday, Sep 10, 19 @ 1:05 pm:

    ==I’m so sick of all the Illinois haters that always threaten to leave ==

    Just yesterday, RNUG threatened to leave if the state taxed retirement income:

    https://capitolfax.com/2019/09/09/our-sorry-state-53/#comments


  62. - A Jack - Tuesday, Sep 10, 19 @ 1:05 pm:

    It’s unlikely that you could tax public pensions without also taxing Social Security, private, federal or military pensions. With the baby boomers reaching retirement age, that is a large block of voters you would aggravate.


  63. - Oswego Willy - Tuesday, Sep 10, 19 @ 1:06 pm:

    ===Just yesterday, RNUG threatened to leave if the state taxed retirement income:===

    I’d also bet, and we’d have to ask, that - RNUG - understands the political will is not there.


  64. - Telly - Tuesday, Sep 10, 19 @ 1:32 pm:

    == Be careful what you wish for Heather as far as guidance from the Supreme Court. They might well be for Fair Maps ==

    She’s a chief co-sponsor of the Fair Maps Amendment, so I think she would be good with that.


  65. - JS Mill - Tuesday, Sep 10, 19 @ 2:02 pm:

    =I’ve got property tax bills and data from the US govt that shows me Illinois invests quite heavily in kids today.=

    And yet some don’t want to invest.


  66. - Anotherretiree - Tuesday, Sep 10, 19 @ 2:15 pm:

    I won’t leave if they tax pensions.Will only leave if Il. splits and I have to follow the current ILSC.


  67. - Sue - Tuesday, Sep 10, 19 @ 2:17 pm:

    Jibba- in addition to the lack of funding- the other equally big reason our pension systems are in such a mess ids that for 40 plus years up until recently, the legislature at the urging of public sector unions routinely enhanced the benefits payable and/or shortened the vesting periods employees needed for maximum benefits- Had the Legislature under Thompson not enacted the annual 3 percent compounding raise, we would be in a far different universe in terms of funding


  68. - TinyDancer(FKASue) - Tuesday, Sep 10, 19 @ 2:32 pm:

    = Can’t change the benefits because if a poorly worded state constitution?=

    The only poorly worded part is the part they left out that mandates the actual funding of the pensions……which is the foundational source of the entire problem.


  69. - CapnCrunch - Tuesday, Sep 10, 19 @ 2:34 pm:

    The new gang in town has passed constitutional amendment legislation to fix the pension mess. They are not changing the language in Article XIII, Section 5. Instead they are changing the language in Article IX, Section 3. They’re just not calling it pension reform.


  70. - Six Degrees of Separation - Tuesday, Sep 10, 19 @ 2:35 pm:

    One possible constitutional change that Cornish is getting at, and would not violate the US contracts clause, is that future pension enhancements would not be an enforceable contract after the amendment’s passage. In other words, the base Tier I and Tier II current and future benefits in effect today would be constitutionally guaranteed, but enhancements wouldn’t. Probably wouldn’t give the state much relief overall, but would give the state flexibility in reducing additional enhancements. I’d guess any substantial pension enhancements are politically dead for the foreseeable future, anyway.


  71. - JS Mill - Tuesday, Sep 10, 19 @ 2:49 pm:

    =the legislature at the urging of public sector unions routinely enhanced the benefits payable and/or shortened the vesting periods employees needed for maximum benefits- Had the Legislature under Thompson not enacted the annual 3 percent compounding raise, we would be in a far different universe in terms of funding=

    It is always laughable when people opine such nonsense when there is research available.

    Eric Madair did the most exhaustive research on this topic to date. The AAI, per Madair (who did his research post 2009) found that the AAI is responsible for 3%-4% of the unfunded liability.

    Without the AAI we would be in almost the exact same spot.


  72. - Pundent - Tuesday, Sep 10, 19 @ 4:57 pm:

    =Without the AAI we would be in almost the exact same spot.=

    Yes, but then we’d need to find another scapegoat so let’s not let facts get in the way of an otherwise effective rant.


  73. - Da Big Bad Wolf - Wednesday, Sep 11, 19 @ 7:32 am:

    ==and if labor doesn’t like it too bad.==

    And if the state of Illinois can’t find anyone willing to work for it that’s also bad.


  74. - Rich Miller - Wednesday, Sep 11, 19 @ 7:37 am:

    ===and if labor doesn’t like it too bad===

    Genius. How do you propose to pass that bill with super majority Democratic chambers?

    Wake up, Dorothy. You’re not in Oz anymore.


  75. - TinyDancer(FKASue) - Wednesday, Sep 11, 19 @ 9:55 am:

    =And if the state of Illinois can’t find anyone willing to work for it that’s also bad.=

    See: Teacher Shortage


  76. - Phil King - Wednesday, Sep 11, 19 @ 11:28 am:

    No one cared what Steans said because she’s the only one who didn’t say anything. The other panelists and the moderator were talking solutions and all she wanted to do was gaslight and pretend like there wasn’t a problem. Or worse, pretend like the legislature had already attempted to fix it.


  77. - Rich Miller - Wednesday, Sep 11, 19 @ 11:33 am:

    ===The other panelists and the moderator were talking solutions===

    LOLOLOL

    It’s too early in the day to be that drunk, dude.


  78. - Phil King - Wednesday, Sep 11, 19 @ 11:36 am:

    What time did you originally write this post?

    Just wondering what time you think it’s acceptable to get hammered, because your nonsense can’t have come from a sober mind.


  79. - Rich Miller - Wednesday, Sep 11, 19 @ 11:38 am:

    Phil, go back to doing whatever you do in DC.


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