* Gov. Rauner appeared before the Northwest Herald’s editorial board the other day and was asked how shifting the state’s pension burden to school districts over four years will affect property taxes in a place like McHenry County. His response…
“I believe it’ll help bring them down.”
I kid you not. Go watch the video.
* The governor’s explanation…
We’re not only shifting pension responsibilities to where the decisions are made on what the pension costs will be in terms of deciding who gets what salaries, when they retire, what their terms are. We need to align responsibility for decision-making with responsibility for paying.
And other states have done this as well. Maryland Democrats did exactly the same thing. The Democrats in Maryland, a few years ago. If you look at the states that have deep financial trouble, and unfunded pensions and pension problems, the top twelve, I think states that have the biggest problems, they all have the state pick up pension payments, even though the decisions and responsibility for who’s getting the pensions and how they’re structured is done at the local level.
There’s a disconnect. If we align the interests, there will be economic incentive to keep the pension costs reasonable.
* He said that needed to be combined with “tools to local school districts and local governments to bring their costs down.” Those “tools” included more education funding, plus…
Local control of bargaining. Local control of bidding and contracting. Local control of consolidation. Local control of shared services. Local control of property tax levy. We will bring down our property tax burden and we’ll align our interests and get more money for our schools and it’ll be a win on every level. That’s how we’re gonna do it.
I agree that, over time, the state’s pension costs should be shifted to school districts for all the reasons the governor mentioned.
But doing it so quickly will definitely put pressure on property taxes. Also, his budget proposal doesn’t give K-12 schools much more money, he’s not gonna get that local control of collective bargaining.
It’s all a fantasy.
* Even the Belleville News-Democrat, which has been more supportive of Gov. Rauner than even the Chicago Tribune, has turned a big thumbs down on the cost-shift with an editorial entitled “Rauner’s budget plan makes property taxpayers cringe”…
Gov. Bruce Rauner is asking Illinois to do as he says, not practice what candidate Rauner preaches.
He delivered a budget address Wednesday that would do things very differently than what he advocates as the Illinois ideal. The biggest concern for most of Illinois is what would happen to property taxes.