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Abudayyeh roasts Glennon idea

Tuesday, Sep 22, 2020

* Center Square article entitled “Pension reform advocates say eviction moratorium makes case for pension reform”

“The fantasy of a constitutional amendment to cut retirees’ benefits is just that, a fantasy,” [Gov. JB Pritzker] said in his budget address. “The idea that all of this can be fixed with a single silver bullet ignores the protracted legal battle that will ultimately run headlong into the Contracts Clause of the U.S. Constitution.”

As a part of the organization’s larger series examining Illinois’ financial problems, nonprofit fiscal watchdog Wirepoints said arguments about the feasibility of pension reform continue to be shot down, even by Pritzker’s own legal team.

“His own lawyers are arguing that there’s an exception right now that applies to the eviction moratorium,” Wirepoints Founder Mark Glennon said. “When the impairment of the contract is reasonably drafted, fair and properly done, then contracts can be impaired.”

He said Arizona, with a nearly identical pension protection clause in its guiding charter, hammered out an agreement with firefighters to remove some of the agreed-upon perks in their pension contracts that place undue stress on taxpayers and put public safety at risk. Arizona lawmakers enacted a law that did so in 2016. It was not challenged in the courts.

* Jordan Abudayyeh at the governor’s office…

Clearly there is no depth that is too low for the right wing ideologues who don’t seem to care about the litany of issues facing our state during these challenging times. They instead remain focused on perpetuating the myth that the state can just shirk its responsibilities to retirees who devoted their careers to public service and that will fix our state finances. The ideologues had four years under Governor Bruce Rauner to implement their scheme that would magically fix state finances and they failed to do so, leaving behind a hollowed out state government and a mountain of debt. We’ve seen what the carnival barkers believe state government should look like, and the people of Illinois have rejected their sham.

Jordan is back after taking a few days off. She seems to have fully recharged.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - All this - Tuesday, Sep 22, 20 @ 6:31 am:

    Wirepoints couldn’t argue themselves out of a paper bag.
    The Arizona law was different. Also Trump’s September 4th eviction moratorium doesn’t nullify any contracts between leasee and leaser.

  2. - Oswego Willy - Tuesday, Sep 22, 20 @ 7:18 am:

    That’s some tasty truth at the phonies of Wirepoints.

    How sad and pathetic of a political ideologue you must be as American deaths top 201,000 and your real concern to help Illinoisans during a global crisis is revisiting Bruce Rauner‘s, a failed governor, talking points that not only hollowed the state’s ability to function and fight the virus… because if you’re not trying to hurt those with a pension, you’re not callous or spiteful like Glennon.

    I mean, sincerely, how pathetic and soulless of an existence.

    Good on Jordan. That’s taking to the politically ignorant.

  3. - All this - Tuesday, Sep 22, 20 @ 7:30 am:

    What are they talking about? Eviction moratoriums don’t nullify anyone’s contract.

  4. - DuPage Saint - Tuesday, Sep 22, 20 @ 7:59 am:

    All This beat me to it. It is a moratorium. Rent is still due. So have a pension moratorium? How does that save money. Debt and obligation still there probably with interest?

  5. - Pundent - Tuesday, Sep 22, 20 @ 8:22 am:

    Glennon is speaking to the audience that already believes that Pritzker is acting like a king in managing the pandemic. Since they’re already detached from reality it’s quite easy for them to make the next leap that he would somehow abolish pensions through some EO. Glad to see Jordan confront the absurdity of it head on.

  6. - R2D3 - Tuesday, Sep 22, 20 @ 8:52 am:

    Here is the funny thing: the judge hearing the eviction case published an article at NIU a couple years ago. He said amending the constitution wouldn’t work, the police power doesn’t support a violation of pension promises, and the contracts clause doesn’t say what this guy is now claiming.

  7. - Grandson of Man - Tuesday, Sep 22, 20 @ 9:10 am:

    What is more certain than death and taxes is right wingers wanting to slash public employees. They will never let it go. These are the same people fighting against the graduated income tax.

    Slash middle class workers and have them carry the rich’s share of the state income tax burden. They’re not pulling themselves up by their bootstraps all the way. And they think they’re libertarians?

  8. - anotherretiree - Tuesday, Sep 22, 20 @ 9:13 am:

    This has been my fear..we will soon have 6 activist conservative SC judges..they will find a way to reduce pensions.

  9. - Oswego Willy - Tuesday, Sep 22, 20 @ 9:16 am:

    ===…we will soon have 6 activist conservative SC judges.===

    It’s the IL supremes you need to worry about.

  10. - Rasselas - Tuesday, Sep 22, 20 @ 9:24 am:

    Willy, if there were an Illinois constitutional amendment, the argument against it would be that it violated the contracts clause in the US constitution. That would be a federal law question for the US Supreme Court.

  11. - Oswego Willy - Tuesday, Sep 22, 20 @ 9:26 am:

    === if there were an Illinois constitutional amendment===

    Find me 71 and 36 to get it on a ballot first.


    Be well.

  12. - walker - Tuesday, Sep 22, 20 @ 9:31 am:

    Attack unions, attack pensions, and attack taxes on the wealthy, using any arguments or claims. That’s their job, their entire job.

  13. - BC - Tuesday, Sep 22, 20 @ 9:38 am:

    It all comes down to the US Constitution’s contracts clause and two subsequent Supreme Court cases. The constitution says no state legislature can pass a law that impairs the obligation of contracts.

    During the depression, the Minnesota state legislature passed a law that effectively put a moratorium on foreclosures in order to keep people in their homes. It was challenged under the contracts clause, but the law was upheld by the US Supreme Court because the statute was designed to address an emergency and was temporary and its scope.

    The other landmark case came out of New Jersey in the 1970’s, when the state legislature there passed a law diverting tax dollars from a bond issuance for the port authority to cover other state spending during a budget crunch. The bond holders sued claiming a contracts clause violation and the case went to the US Supreme Court, where the bond holders won.

    It would seem JB’s moratorium would fall well within the precedent of the Minnesota case, while the New Jersey case would serve as an impediment to Illinois trying to blow off its pension obligations.

  14. - Anonymous - Tuesday, Sep 22, 20 @ 9:54 am:

    What part of “shall not be diminished or impaired” does the opposition not understand? The Illinois Supreme Court even tried explaining it to them without success.

  15. - Lucky Pierre - Tuesday, Sep 22, 20 @ 10:11 am:

    JB Pritzker proposed shorting the pensions by 1 billion a year which would clearly make the situation even worse.

    Hard to see how the pension debacle will not be an emergency in the coming years if Democrats continue to not fund the promises to their union supporters.

  16. - Mark Glennon - Tuesday, Sep 22, 20 @ 10:33 am:

    Commenters, I suggest you read the full report or at least the executive summary thereof, because it is very different from what some of you are saying. Link is here:

  17. - Froganon - Tuesday, Sep 22, 20 @ 10:39 am:

    We already did a moratorium on pension payments and all of Illinois other bills. It did not go well.

  18. - Jibba - Tuesday, Sep 22, 20 @ 10:41 am:

    BC, the impact of Minnesota case was temporary. The impact of pension theft is permanent. Glennon and his ilk are just looking for any type of excuse to aid the rich at the expense of the powerless, the law be darned.

  19. - City Zen - Tuesday, Sep 22, 20 @ 10:42 am:

    ==Rent is still due.==

    Is it?

  20. - Chicago Cynic - Tuesday, Sep 22, 20 @ 10:50 am:

    I continue to be amazed that anyone with half a brain cell takes Mark Glennon and the Wirepoints gang remotely seriously. Their “analysis” is always phony and disingenuous leaving the discerning reader with one of two conclusions. They don’t know they’re lying to their readers or they do. There is no third option.

  21. - Mr. Green Genes - Tuesday, Sep 22, 20 @ 11:50 am:

    “ Is it?”
    You know how contracts work?

  22. - Chicago 20 - Tuesday, Sep 22, 20 @ 12:04 pm:

    Who keeps giving Glennon the soap boxes to stand on?

  23. - Flying Elvis'-Utah Chapter - Tuesday, Sep 22, 20 @ 12:16 pm:

    Glennon, citing your own story as a reference is bush league. It would take me a month to explain bush league to you.

    Now, go give Greg Bishop his belly rub so he can “report” this “story”.

  24. - JS Mill - Tuesday, Sep 22, 20 @ 12:37 pm:

    =Hard to see how the pension debacle will not be an emergency in the coming years if Democrats continue to not fund the promises to their union supporters.=

    So you can’t see? Makes sense to me.

    It isn’t an emergency. Pensions are funded at about the same percentage of obligations they have been for the last 50 years. The needle has barely moved. And in the last century there were many periods of GOP rule. Same outcome. You didn’t know that because you are hard of seeing.

  25. - Jibba - Tuesday, Sep 22, 20 @ 1:04 pm:

    Dear Mr. Glennon: I read parts of your report. Fool me once, shame on you. I’ll never get those 20 minutes back.

    I’ll give you two reasons you’re wrong. One, it is morally wrong to shaft hard-working people of their deferred compensation. It is also morally wrong to place the burden of unmet payments on a couple hundred thousand retirees when the burden is rightfully spread across 12M people who have equal responsibility for paying all state debts. Two, there is no financial emergency of any kind. The annual cost of state pensions is about $12B, which is somewhere near about 2% of your income tax. That is payable by a state as rich as ours. Your bankruptcy fever dreams are just that.

  26. - Da Big Bad Wolf - Tuesday, Sep 22, 20 @ 1:25 pm:

    Agree with Jibba and JS Mill. The Blaisdell Standards don’t apply because it’s not an emergency. Everyone isn’t going to retire tomorrow night.

  27. - JoanP - Tuesday, Sep 22, 20 @ 1:58 pm:

    @City Zen -

    Yes, rent is still due. The governor’s order does not relieve tenants of the obligation to pay rent. It just prevents them from being evicted at this time for failure to pay. They still owe the payments.

  28. - Demoralized - Tuesday, Sep 22, 20 @ 2:14 pm:

    ==because it is very different==

    It’s not any different from what you’ve been harping on for years, which is your desire to cheat people out of their pensions. That’s your ultimate goal. To cut pensions. It’s disgraceful.

  29. - City Zen - Tuesday, Sep 22, 20 @ 2:18 pm:

    ==They still owe the payments==

    So rental income cannot be diminished but can be impaired under an eviction ban? So landlords will be made whole? Does the state guarantee that?

    ==citing your own story as a reference is bush league==

    It’s the subject of this blog post.

  30. - Oswego Willy - Tuesday, Sep 22, 20 @ 2:20 pm:

    - Mark Glennon -


    Your idea(s) are not only half-baked, they aren’t politically possible to the honesty of process.

    Then being wholly dishonest to comparing a constitutional guarantee… and the rent predicament that a global crisis created, its embarrassing that your grifting relies on wealthy donor folks looking to hurt others, and your continued looking for ways to justify “their” anger.

  31. - Pundent - Tuesday, Sep 22, 20 @ 2:23 pm:

    Landlords have an enforceable contract which would allow them to obtain a judgement. Nobody is preventing that. And many commercial tenants aren’t paying rent right now either. And the cops won’t be evicting them either.

  32. - Flying Elvis'-Utah Chapter - Tuesday, Sep 22, 20 @ 2:26 pm:

    City Zen-

    Yeah, I know it’s the subject. However, Glennon comments on it like the story itself is a citation to why the story holds water.

    Slick, you’re not near as clever as you think.

  33. - Mr. Green Genes - Tuesday, Sep 22, 20 @ 2:31 pm:

    “So rental income cannot be diminished but can be impaired under an eviction ban? So landlords will be made whole? Does the state guarantee that?”

    The landlord can go to court, he can garnish wages. An eviction doesn’t provide the landlord with lost money. It makes the unit available again. The court order of garnishment can provide the lost money.

  34. - Big Ern McCracken - Tuesday, Sep 22, 20 @ 7:52 pm:

    Jibba, I agree that the pension benefit should not be impaired or diminished. A deal’s a deal. However, the budget share is 20%.


  35. - I am Batman - Tuesday, Sep 22, 20 @ 9:39 pm:

    The idea of whether the State has violated the Contracts Claise by effectively voiding it’s OWN obligations is a COMPLETELY different analysis compared to whether it violates someone else’s rights under the pension clause. It’s apples and sweet potatoes.

  36. - I am Batman - Tuesday, Sep 22, 20 @ 9:42 pm:

    And, the financial “emergency” here is self-created. Comparing it to a pandemic is just plain idiotic.

  37. - Reasonable Person Standard - Wednesday, Sep 23, 20 @ 8:25 am:

    One sign of weak arguments is when they consist primarily of ad hominem attacks, as in the case of the Governor’s office response and some of the comments. It seems that many of the readers of Capitol Fax are public employees, eager to protect their pensions. Understandable. Any of us would do the same thing. Whether the arguments against a constitutional amendment reigning in unaffordable pension benefits are valid is quite another matter.

  38. - Jibba - Wednesday, Sep 23, 20 @ 8:37 am:

    Thanks for the link, Big Ern, but I did it differently. I went to the annual reports for each system and found out how much they paid to members in the most recent year (2019) and added it up. It was 11.6B, so that is how much you would need that year to pay benefits if you were not prepaying pensions. Clearly a more expensive way to go, which is why we want to prepay.

  39. - Da Big Bad Wolf - Wednesday, Sep 23, 20 @ 12:57 pm:

    === Whether the arguments against a constitutional amendment reigning in unaffordable pension benefits are valid is quite another matter.===
    It’s not valid. The State Constitution is subordinated to the US Constitution.
    US Constitution Article 10 Clause 1
    “No State shall enter into any Treaty, Alliance, or Confederation; grant Letters of Marque and Reprisal; coin Money; emit Bills of Credit; make any Thing but gold and silver Coin a Tender in Payment of Debts; pass any Bill of Attainder, ex post facto Law, or Law impairing the Obligation of Contracts, or grant any Title of Nobility.“

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