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Cross: Quinn won’t pull the trigger

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* The Republicans appear to be calculating that Gov. Quinn won’t pull the trigger on massive budget cuts…

House Republican leader Tom Cross said he doesn’t know if Quinn can “pull the trigger” on deep human services budget cuts.

“I think he’s too good a human being, too compassionate a human being to harm the social service agencies,” Cross said.

The Republicans, as you already know, want either a “month to month” budget that would drag this thing through the summer and into the fall, or a “six month budget” using available funds. The governor has rejected the second idea, but I don’t believe he’s been asked about a one-month continuing appropriation. And Mother Tribune hates the idea of putting off a budget resolution for six months…

Some of those lawmakers think they’ve found a way to finesse their dilemma: They might vote for a big tax increase — but only after they learn whether they’ll have serious primary election opponents next year. Think of this as calculated cowardice.

* As I told subscribers last week, this pension note idea is under serious consideration…

Watch for a new pension proposal that could help buy some time for the state to recover from the economic slump and free up about $2 billion during the next cash-strapped year.

Gov. Pat Quinn’s administration could propose issuing pension obligation notes, which differ from pension obligation bonds. A note is a form of short-term borrowing that would have to be repaid within five years. The state does short-term borrowing all the time. The notes could carry a lower interest rate than pension obligation bonds, which are repaid over much longer periods of time. […]

One of the largest pressure points on the state budget for the next fiscal year is the contribution to the public employee pension system. Illinois is supposed to pay about $4 billion. Quinn proposed skipping next year’s payment to free up about $2 billion to help fill what his office estimates will be an $11.6 billion deficit. The legislature rejected the idea of skipping the payment; however, the Democratic-approved budget only authorized $1.5 billion for the state’s contribution into the pension system. If enacted, money would have to be skimmed from other state programs to cover the full $4 billion payment, which is required by law. […]

With the $1.5 billion already approved, one idea would be to issue about $2.2 billion in pension notes. That would get the state to about $3.7 billion, leaving only about $300 million that the state needed to find to get all the way up to $4 billion.

* State Sen. Chris Lauzen (R-Aurora) has his own budget solution

Call President Obama and ask him to give the state carte blanche to use the federal stimulus money as operating cash. Lauzen said he would not support a tax increase.

He’d have to call Congress. They’re the ones who passed the law.

* My weekly syndicated newspaper column looks at the budget mess and a new poll

Usually when polls are taken about tax hikes, the respondents are “informed” about the benefits of raising more government money, whether it’s for education, public services or what have you. So not surprisingly, those polls regularly show lots of support for tax increases.

But a recent poll of 800 Illinois voters taken this month on behalf of the Illinois Coalition for Jobs, Growth & Prosperity, a business group, only asked whether Illinoisans favored raising taxes to balance the state’s budget.

Because the state is in such a deep hole, that’s pretty much all any tax hike will go for anyway - and it won’t even fully accomplish that. And because most people don’t pay a great deal of attention to state government, that’s all they probably know about the tax hike plan anyway.

So, the results probably won’t surprise you.

A whopping 73 percent opposed hiking taxes to balance the budget, while only 23 percent supported the concept.

According to the poll, 82 percent of Illinoisans believe the governor and lawmakers have not done enough to control state spending.

That’s also not a surprising number. Very few governments ever do “enough” to control spending.

The poll asked lots of questions about forcing someone else to bear the brunt of the multibillion-dollar budget deficit nightmare this state faces.

Cut pension benefits for newly hired state workers? Seventy-two percent agreed. Force the state employees union to reopen its contract and renegotiate pay raises? Seventy-four percent said, “Heck yes.” Require unpaid furloughs for state employees? Sixty-five percent were on board. Make state workers pay more for health care? Sixty-five percent wanted it. Roll back Medicaid eligibility a bit? Seventy-two percent were for it.

The survey asked just one specific question about “shared sacrifice.” Human beings tend to want somebody else to carry the load, so the answer to this question wasn’t all that amazing, either.

“Would you support closing state facilities like aged prisons, state parks, historic sites until the state’s finances improve?” the pollster asked.

“No” was the overwhelming response. Almost three-quarters, 74 percent, said they don’t want those facilities to close during the budget meltdown.

Well, too bad.

You can’t come close to balancing the budget - currently estimated at $9.2 billion in the hole - even if the General Assembly enacted all the spending reforms so widely supported in that poll. It would barely make a dent.

The only real way to close that gaping hole is to do the things that three-quarters of Illinoisans don’t want, and a whole lot more.

I assume that if voters were asked the same question about closing down rape treatment centers, drug abuse rehab facilities, scholarship funds for college students and programs for autistic and handicapped children the “no” responses might be even higher.

What about day care for financially strapped single mothers struggling to get on their feet? Home care for the elderly? The “no” responses probably would be off the charts.

We assume that because we live in the richest nation in the world that devastating governmental shutdowns like those listed above shouldn’t happen and couldn’t happen.

Unfortunately, times have changed. Gross mismanagement by Rod Blagojevich (a governor who was elected twice, by the way) and the worst economic climate since the Great Depression mean that one of two things has to happen:

1) Those programs and facilities listed above and many, many more are going to have to be shut down; or

2) Taxes will have to be raised and many of those programs might still have to be shuttered because the budget hole is so big.

I keep seeing newspaper editorials, columnists and letters to the editor practically begging for some sort of magic solution to this problem. Can’t something be done without raising taxes and still preserve vital programs and public facilities?


You have to cut where the spending is.

There is no magic bullet. President Barack Obama has said the states aren’t getting any more bailouts. Our state Constitution, which Illinois voters overwhelmingly refused to change last year, requires a balanced budget.

We’re stuck.

As I write this, legislators are scheduled to return to Springfield to attempt to deal with the budget disaster. If they can’t find a solution, the doomsday will be upon us. Maybe then Illinoisans will realize what “balancing a budget” is really about.

The budget, in the end, is about all of us. It’s our responsibility. I just hope you don’t have to find that out the hard way.

* Neil Steinberg

After I wrote Friday about the failed tax cut leading to devastating reductions in social programs, many readers reacted by claiming the solution is to cut waste and fraud. Then there’ll be plenty of money. “It is not too much,” one wrote, “for the taxpayers to expect the corruption to stop now.”

Yes, it is. To say, “Cut waste and you’ll have enough to fund everything” is a theory, a hunch, based on distrust of government — justified distrust, to be sure. But given the tenacity of corruption in Illinois, to demand that it end before social services are funded is a straw man argument.

Corruption and funding social services are not unrelated, but one is a perennial problem and the other is a house on fire.

* Finke

Which brings us back to the GOP demand for pension reforms as a condition for voting to raise taxes. The largest state employee union, the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, and the Illinois Federation of Teachers and the Illinois Education Association are all opposed to tampering with pension benefits. These are pretty powerful groups that throw around a lot of campaign cash. Most lawmakers are careful about crossing them.

Wouldn’t it be fun, though, to see a bill that changes pension benefits for these groups get a vote in the General Assembly? Just to see how many Republicans are still demanding pension reforms when the vote counts.

* Interesting points on Medicaid reform

The Taxpayer Action Board report says, “Other states have had significant success in implementing a broad-based capitated managed-care program, including North Carolina, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.”

But taxpayer board member Dory Rand, president of the Chicago-based Woodstock Institute and an advocate for low-income people, wrote in a dissent that Illinois’ fee-for-service Medicaid program spends less per patient than those three states and 38 others.

She wrote that this data, from the nonpartisan Kaiser Commission on Medicaid and the Uninsured, supports the Quinn administration’s contention that “its management of the fee-for-service program results in lower costs to the state than if the program relied more heavily on a capitated managed-care model.” [Emphasis added]

* I built a subscriber story around this very same 1989 speech several days ago. It’s probably just a coincidence that GateHouse uses it now, I’m sure…

History has shown, though, that even the skeptical can change their minds [about tax hikes]. In 1989, House Speaker Michael Madigan, D-Chicago, delivered a speech to the House in which he picked apart Thompson’s earlier dire warnings.

“We were told that if we did not pass the $1 billion tax increase that thousands of state employees would be laid off,” Madigan said. “Well, what really happened was that nobody was laid off and in that year the administration hired 3,000 new workers.

“We were told that if we did not pass the tax increase, that one of our largest prisons, the Menard Penitentiary would be closed,” Madigan continued. “Well, as you know, Menard is still operating.”

After talking about how frugal the state had been, Madigan said, “This is a state which does not automatically see the solution of every problem expressed in a call for higher taxes.”

Towards the end of that session, Madigan announced and jammed an income tax hike through his chamber in less than a day. Then again, all the new tax money went to schools and local governments. Not a dime went into the state budget.

* Related…

* Quinn wants tax vote Wednesday

* Questions loom as state lawmakers get back to work

* Quinn continues budget campaign

* Illinois Lawmakers to Resume Budget Talks

* Tax hike needed to save services, activists say

* ISBE: State funds for preschool programs could be halved

* Foster care children at risk

* Hundreds rally to save social services

* Social services held as budget hostages

* Illinois’ wavering budget problems affecting agriculture

* Illinois ag officials watching budget fight

* Should state pay $4 billion into retirement plan?

posted by Rich Miller
Monday, Jun 22, 09 @ 10:09 am


  1. A social service worker wrote a good story about how the July 1 cuts will affect one man.

    Comment by Carl Nyberg Monday, Jun 22, 09 @ 10:18 am

  2. It is all well and good to redo the pension system for newly hired state employees but, as usual the IGA doesn’t address the most expensive of the pensins and that is their own and the judicial. If a restructuring is to occur, as a taxpayer, I want them to include their own. Why do they have to have a 5% pension benefit a year. The average IGA member draws $9,500 a month retirement while a state employee draws an average of $1,800 a month. We neede viable pension reform that reflects all employees.

    Comment by EBCDIC Monday, Jun 22, 09 @ 10:24 am

  3. Most people these days are predisposed to learning everything the hard way, no one wants to listen or be educated.

    Comment by Segatari Monday, Jun 22, 09 @ 10:29 am

  4. Do you hear that Governor Quinn?

    Tom Cross is practically calling you a “patsy.”

    Quinn should not - cannot - do anything but sign a Zero Revenue Growth budget if lawmakers fail to approve a 12-month alternative before July 1st.

    1. Governor Edgar says a temporary budget would be “mismanagement”, comparing it to the Blagojevich era, and he’s right.

    2. Give lawmakers a one-month extension on “doing their homework” and they want another and another…until we find ourselves in January, when a tax hike would only need 60 votes in the House, but would need to be twice as big. The GOP will go back to insisting Democrats provide all the votes, but a 6% tax increase is gonna get a heckuva lot fewer votes than 42 in the Illinois House.

    3. Quotes like those in the DH story, “I have to believe in my heart of hearts, as a human being, that neither he nor the Legislature, when they really understand the faces underneath these numbers, will let this go forward” underscore that community-based providers throughout the state view this as “mere” political posturing and continue to confuse “the unthinkable” with “the impossible.” You know, “unthinkable”: like the 9-11 bombings. Or mere “political posturing”: like the invasion of Iraq.

    The only way to pass the necessary and responsible tax increase and shake both providers and lawmakers into facing reality is to sign a Zero Revenue Growth budget and begin implementing the cuts.

    Comment by Yellow Dog Democrat Monday, Jun 22, 09 @ 10:39 am

  5. Now we know, though, where Quinn was going to find that $2 billion he said he would agree to “cut” if they passed his tax hike. I wondered where the $2 billion he kept throwing out there would come from.

    Comment by Narcoleptic Monday, Jun 22, 09 @ 10:45 am

  6. ===Now we know, though, where Quinn was going to find that $2 billion he said he would agree to “cut” if they passed his tax hike===

    Actually, there will still have to be cuts.

    Comment by Rich Miller Monday, Jun 22, 09 @ 10:47 am

  7. Quinn needs to consider the temp tax hike that was floated earlier. If this whole budget mess is related to the drop in revenue from the reccesion then when revenues recover in a couple of years we wont need a tax hike. But I think we all no that as revenues go up so will spending no matter how much revenue the state brings in Quinn and his ilk will always spend more.

    Comment by fed up Monday, Jun 22, 09 @ 10:50 am

  8. Won’t pull the trigger????? It is done already.
    The letter I am looking at does not say the program we are in might be cut, it says it is cut.
    And a real big laugh around this is that if the budget is reinstated for the social programs, look at the expense of the mailing to all of the families and programs already saying it is cut and then the expense of the next mailing. What a stupid, stupid waste of money.
    I wish I lived in a district that had one of the reps that is unwilling to do the right thing. I would run and if I won I would do the job for a term and then get out. Representatives? Nope, career politicians.

    Comment by whatawaste Monday, Jun 22, 09 @ 10:55 am

  9. If the GA passed a time limited tax hike, I would bet Quinn would sign it. I don’t think he has refused to consider this scenerio, even though it is not his prefered method.

    Comment by Ghost Monday, Jun 22, 09 @ 11:00 am

  10. I think I agree with Cross, but on the other hand, I wonder if Quinn can afford politically to waffle yet again. He already looks like he can’t make decisions and stick to them (except for his obsession with a regressive middle class tax increase, of course). I suspect that we’ll be hearing Doomsday rhetoric right up until this
    middle class tax hike passes….or doesn’t. But no cuts, if it doesn’t. Then it’ll be time for creative accounting. Once again, they can look to California for ideas.

    If EBCDIC is correct, many if not most of the legislators currently plotting to get into our pocketbooks (or not) have approx. $10,000 a month (!!!!) pensions to look forward to. Not to mention free retiree (no preumiums) health care for early retirees and automatic 3 percent raises every year for as long as they live. Can this be possible? Anyway, it looks like they don’t have to worry about saving for retirement. So why should they care about taking money we were planning on using to save for ours.
    Especially since, like other wealthy taxpayers, they will barely feel the pinch of Pat’s regressive increase. And they can always vote themselves another pay increase later.

    As for state employees as a group, nearly all of them are looking at a hefty pay increase come July 1. So even if the tax increase happens…they’ll hardly feel it. It’s a win-win
    for state government.

    Comment by Anonymous Monday, Jun 22, 09 @ 11:15 am

  11. I wish I could believe that Tom Cross is dead wrong in his assessment of the Governor’s ability to grit his teeth and make the cuts. But it would take an unusually tough customer to pull that trigger and in my heart I just don’t think Quinn is made of that sort of material. I think in the end he will cave in and buy into the GA’s partial year budget, despite all of the retoric. The man too often showed too much willingness to compromise. He might have thought he was making nice, but to the flinty eyes of the GA politicos he was just showing weak.

    Comment by Skirmisher Monday, Jun 22, 09 @ 11:17 am

  12. I find it interesting that the public is willing for the average state worker to take multiple “hits” to save the state when it is the state that did not meet its contractual obligations. The July pay increase is not “huge” and if someone will do their homework, the raises in the entire contract are “back loaded” with little or nothing in increases at the start of the contract (after the increases in co pays etc, the net increases were very small). As I have said before, I would not pay the GA overtime or per diem for returning to complete their job that is supposed to be done by 5/31. Additionally, I would fine every GA member $50.00/day beginning 6/1 until a balanced budget was delivered to the guv’s desk. Bet it would get done then!

    Comment by wizard Monday, Jun 22, 09 @ 12:04 pm

  13. Quinn has already created an employment nightmare. All employees on University contracts with DCFS(including people in the DCFS Office of the Inspector General), every single service provider with a contract(except foster care), teen parent foster care programs, and all services that have been mandated through Consent Decrees all received letters on 6/12/09 stating that their contracts end on 6/30/09.
    Agencies that have received these letters don’t have much choice but to act upon these letters and issue notice to their staff that work in these programs or else they will surely have no money for payroll come August 18th when they receive their payment from DCFS.
    The Cook County Office of the Public Guardian and the ACLU are ready to file in court for all of the violations to long-standing Consent Decrees.
    Our foster care agency received our letter on Friday with the “proposed” funding level for the fiscal year. All told, it is about a 30-32% cut in revenue- not 50%. There are no guidelines as to foster parent rates- so unless that comes in writing soon- agencies must pay their foster parents at the current contracted rate out of their Administrative rates as they currently do- or else the agencies can be sued by the foster parents.
    Most people right now are very consumed with the fact that they may not have employment in 10 days.
    What’s going to happen then?

    Comment by carbaby Monday, Jun 22, 09 @ 12:15 pm

  14. My point about Illinois legislators and state employees is that they live in a economically secure and comfortable world that is far removed from that of the average middle class workers in the private sector today. Beyond-belief pensions
    ($10,000 a a month per above) for state legislators, regular 3 percent raises every year for all state retiree pensioners, premium-free retiree health insurance, lifetime job security (Illinois state employee layoffs have historically been practically nonexistent despite the hype), and other goodies which place their interests far closet to those of the upper middle class and the wealthy (especially the legislators) than the average folks who are paying the bills. Most of them no doubt wonder why somebody would make such a fuss about giving a thousand or a few thousands more to the state.
    They wouldn’t feel it. And if they do, well, the
    can always negotiate another porky contract or, in the case of legislators, they can always, vote themselves another raise.

    As to the size of the July 1 raise for nearly all state employees…it might not look like much to the beneficiaries, but to private sector employees getting laid off, or working reduced hours, a pay raise looks, well, huge. Context is everything.

    Comment by Anonymous Monday, Jun 22, 09 @ 12:40 pm

  15. Voters do not like taxes. They do not like corruption. They do not like watching governors go to jail.

    Even with a great government tax increases are hard. With a government as crappy as what we have, voters are unwilling to give them another dime. They are unwilling to believe them. They are unwilling to believe that the state government is efficient. They are unwilling to believe that there is no waste.

    This is what happens when you elected Rod Blagojevich twice after electing George Ryan. This is what happens when state government refuses to take steps to pass meaningful reforms after everyone knows that something has to be done. This is what happens when state legislators decide to make news by letting their salary increases become a controversy - then back down. This what happens when a single individual has the power to keep voters from recalling bad public officials. This is what happens when deals are made, “perjury-like” testimony is given, and an old hack becomes a US Senator. This is what happens when the largest city in the state is governed by a mayor with his own serial case of fraud and mismanagement. This is what happens when the largest county is ran by a man who was the right relation of the County Board President, regardless of incompetence. This is what happens when the state’s largest county has a ridiculously high sales tax which hurts millions.

    Illinois is suffering from what historian Barbara Tuchman would consider a “March of Folly”. The anger and disgust from voters is justifiable and a correct response. To have this all come down during an economic down cycle compounds this situation into a crisis.

    Bad government is what we have. No one wants to give it any more money. Voters are not stupid.

    Comment by VanillaMan Monday, Jun 22, 09 @ 12:52 pm

  16. Layoffs have been much more frequent than ANON suggests. My Agency has been devastated and has only a bare bones staff, yet we are responsible for protecting tremendous sums of Illinois citizens. I have been required to accept three different positions in nineteen years because of staff reductions (not complaining, just a fact). The prior two contracts back loaded the increases to “ease” the state’s pain and after netting out increases, we did not meet cost of living increases. Granted, if one is layed off or facing layoff my position is envious. However, to lump state workers with legislators is just wrong. None of the people I have worked with come close to 10k/month in retirement income.

    Comment by wizard Monday, Jun 22, 09 @ 12:57 pm

  17. anonymous “all of them are looking at a hefty pay increase come July 1.”—

    Why all the exaggerating? Hefty? It’s 2 and a 1/2 percent. Minium wage is going up roughly 3%. Are you calling that a hefty raise too?

    Broken down over hours that ‘hefty raise’ amounts to under $5 a day aka about .63 cents an hour before taxes. And then there is the increased health premium payments and increased copays and will be the 2nd time this calender year we have to pay ‘yearly’ deductibles on meds as we’re hit FY.

    I get it, you don’t like us getting an increase but don’t get silly in describing it as ‘hefty’.

    Comment by Princess Monday, Jun 22, 09 @ 1:00 pm

  18. Is Cross willing to give up on a capital budget for this summer and fall then? For what purpose?

    Comment by wordslinger Monday, Jun 22, 09 @ 1:02 pm

  19. ===
    My point about Illinois legislators and state employees is that they live in a economically secure and comfortable world that is far removed from that of the average middle class workers in the private sector today.

    You’re kidding, right? This is — hands down — the most absurd statement I’ve read in CapitolFax for months.

    Where are you getting your info that they are “far removed” from the economic middle class?

    Dude, state employees *are* the middle class. A state worker doesn’t magically get rich from the job — even career state workers. Take a look at any of the salary databases posted. Sure, the agency directors are making three figures. But most state workers — the grunts — make barely *half* what their directors make — even the much maligned “Public Service Administrator.”

    You show me proof that front-line state workers are anything *but* middle class. The Illinois state grunt is the Illinois middle class — and, yeah, you can thank AFSCME for that. Without AFSCME, the state workers would be in a heap more trouble economically than they are now.

    Comment by Macbeth Monday, Jun 22, 09 @ 1:32 pm

  20. I am a state employee and I ain’t getting any “hefty raise” come July 1. I’m not getting a raise at all. In fact, I KNOW my paycheck is going to go down, the only question is by how much.

    Comment by Anonymous Monday, Jun 22, 09 @ 1:56 pm

  21. Talk to some employees in the private sector–not
    CEO’s, but “grunts,” as you put it. Not just the self employed but lower level employees in small and medium businesses, even many large corporations these days. They have to pay for their own health care…if they can get it. They have no job security whatesoever…no union contracts, no seniority rights vis a vis layoff…they are completely at will. They have no defined benefit pensions and they have to rely on 401k type plans and savings for retirement, if even those are available or possible. For these folks, the concept of a defined benefit pension with 3 percent annual raises every year for life is beyond exotic as is premium-free retiree health care. And now our Pat wants them to pay more so that government employees can continue to live in this happy employment cocoon.

    Macbeth is making my point for me.

    Comment by Anonymous Monday, Jun 22, 09 @ 2:53 pm

  22. ++They have no job security whatesoever…no union contracts, no seniority rights vis a vis layoff…they are completely at will.++

    ++you can thank AFSCME for that. Without AFSCME, the state workers would be in a heap more trouble economically than they are now.++

    So, to back up Macbeth, is everyone just upset because the union is actually doing what unions are suppose to do - protect workers?

    Comment by montrose Monday, Jun 22, 09 @ 3:04 pm

  23. Anonymous at 2:53 “Macbeth is making my point for me.”—

    Well, actually….

    You seem to be making a point all by yourself that your rattle are pure anti-union and let’s bring it down to the level of your local corner fast food so that private sector can get away with treating employees as peons instead of raising the peons up to a decent level. Those pesky union people just spoil everything.

    Did I get the ‘message’ right?

    Comment by Princess Monday, Jun 22, 09 @ 3:08 pm

  24. Princess is right. AFSCME is doing what a union is *supposed* to do — look out for the well-being of its workers. Is this at the expense of the rest of the state? Of course not. Someone has to run the state services. The anti-state worker refrain here is repugnant.

    I’ve worked in government and in the private sector. And frankly, my recent private sector “benefits” were far *better* than anything I got with the State of Illinois. So I’m not sure where all this griping is coming from. I paid less for my health insurance, in fact, in *private* industry. Moreover, I received the exact same kind of merit-based increases in private employment. AFSCME is simply looking out for their workers — doing exactly what a union is supposed to do. If they don’t do it — no one will.

    So believe me — state workers ain’t getting some miracle cash cow. Far from it. Moreover, current state workers are often doing the work of two or three workers — and still getting their flat fee.

    What’s going on is that folks are looking for someone — a group — to blame. And state workers are easy targets — and frankly, that’s pathetic. The targets should be the legislators — the very folks *we voted for.*

    It’s ironic that you’d rather target middle class folks than the people you trusted your vote with. I don’t get that. The legislators are abusing our trust, abusing our votes, and not acting in anyone’s best interests — certainly not in the best interests of the tax payers, and certainly not in the best interests of the social service providers.

    The state workers are *doing the work* they’ve been giving. They’re the Illinois middle class — and they’re the one’s bearing the burden of everybody’s odd — and misplaced — wrath. Why?

    Comment by Macbeth Monday, Jun 22, 09 @ 3:28 pm

  25. Not sure what I meant by “flat fee” above. I probably meant “single salary.”

    Anyway, apologies for the typos. But I very much believe AFSCME is doing the right thing. If they give into the furloughs and the pension reductions, then they must receive something equally valuable in return.

    The state must abide by the contracts it negotiated. Compromises were made by both parties. The negotiations were good-faith negotiations. The workers have made no mistakes. They’re carrying out the tasks they’ve been given and should be compensated accordingly.

    Comment by Macbeth Monday, Jun 22, 09 @ 3:33 pm

  26. I suppose unions are partly responsible but if I recall correctly, before most of the MC staff joined the union recently, they had many of the same benefits cited above, at least with respect to job security, pensions, and retiree health care. And I doubt that the unions helped state legislators get those $10,000 a month pensions. Union folks seem to be giving themselves a little too much credit here.

    The issue of the moment is a proposed regressive tax increase on the middle class, part of which would go to sustaining those nice benefits for state employees and legislators. I suspect many taxpayers are wondering why the guv isn’t looking a little harder at other means of getting this money in lieu of his extraordinary focus on taking it from economically stressed workers in the middle of a severe recession of uncertain length. The economy is going to recover at some point, but Quinn has to have the money now. And
    it has to be regressive. Even more regressive than when he first proposed it actually.

    Comment by Anonymous Monday, Jun 22, 09 @ 3:39 pm

  27. Who woke up Edgar? Maybe he could slide us list of Clout Students?
    Meanwhile can StateWideTom send over his budget cuts?
    It has only been a month that he has bee talking cuts and “reforms”
    Where is Lee A Daniels when we need him?

    Comment by CircularFiringSquad Monday, Jun 22, 09 @ 4:30 pm

  28. Opps
    I forgot.
    Capt. Fax I think AP cribbed your piece before Gatehouse snatched it.

    Comment by CircularFiringSquad Monday, Jun 22, 09 @ 4:31 pm

  29. Quinn seems rather un predictable with this whole matter. His folks have not been entirely doom and gloom at my agency so hopefully they are correct.

    Comment by Anon3 Monday, Jun 22, 09 @ 6:00 pm

  30. anon3

    You mean, confident they can bamboozle the electorate to cough up thousands in order to sustain a very pleasant life for state bureaucrats and state legislators.

    Sounds like Quinn folks are telling the state bureaucrat troops that they don’t have to worry. The mopes will cough up the money. That’s why they’re mopes, right?

    Comment by Anonymous Monday, Jun 22, 09 @ 7:12 pm

  31. – The anti-state worker refrain here is repugnant.–

    Here, here.

    It’s all in the budget books, folks. You can actually see where the money goes. Except for a relatively few hustlers and hacks, no one’s getting rich working for the SOI (some university employees make good coin, but I’m all for big brains and doctors).

    The real money out of state government comes not from employment, but from the scams. This Cellini guy got a taste of everything for 40 years– leases, kickbacks, asphalt, (probably “flower fund” money from state employee referrals, too).

    If you’re going to classify your neighbors as “bureaucrats,” like that’s some lower form of life, you might want to remember they’re doing a lot of the jobs you wouldn’t want anything to do with. And there were plenty of “bureaucrats” in both the Murrah building in Oklahoma City and the WTC as well.

    Plus, the great majority pack a lunch and do an honest day’s work.


    Comment by wordslinger Monday, Jun 22, 09 @ 8:37 pm

  32. “This Cellini guy got a taste of everything for 40 years–… probably “flower fund” money from state employee referrals, too”

    word, haven’t heard the “flower fund” used for years. The Pope and his role in State hiring even earned a few pages in the tell-all book about corruption in the State Police titled (appropriately) “Too Politically Sensitive.”

    Comment by Arthur Andersen Monday, Jun 22, 09 @ 10:07 pm

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