Sunday, August 26, 2012

Illinois, public unions, and pension liabilities, Pt. 3

A broken system--Labor unions are by far the biggest campaign finance backers of Illinois Democrats--and the public interest is the victim!

Illinois fails to act on public pensions in special session - James B. Kelleher - Reuters 7:43 p.m. CDT, August 17, 2012 -"SPRINGFIELD, Illinois (Reuters) - "The Illinois legislature failed on Friday to take any action to fix the state's woefully underfunded public retirement system because of fierce opposition from unions and concern about the response of voters in the November elections. . . .  Public opinion polls suggest most voters, who have seen private sector pensions eliminated or converted into 401(k) plans, want reform of the public pension system. But public sector unions are the biggest paymasters of the Illinois Democratic Party. On Wednesday, Quinn got a taste of the emotion surrounding this issue when he was heckled at a state fair by several thousand unionized state workers -- a group that helped narrowly elect him in 2010. Unlike California, where Governor Jerry Brown is seeking tax increases to help plug a budget hole, Illinois already has played this card. It sharply raised both business and personal income taxes in 2011, which did little to improve the state's structural budget deficit and huge backlog of unpaid bills. In April, Quinn proposed a pension fix that he said would save taxpayers up to $85 billion over 30 years and result in a fully funded system by 2042. The plan called for higher employee contributions, lower cost-of-living adjustments and a phased-in retirement age of 67 in exchange for access at retirement to state-subsidized healthcare. Quinn also wants obligations for teacher pensions outside of the Chicago Public Schools, which account for the bulk of the state's unfunded retirement liabilities, shifted to local districts from the state. Republicans fear a voter backlash if teacher pension costs are shifted to school districts, which could prompt higher property taxes in their stronghold of the Chicago suburbs. Labor unions are by far the biggest campaign finance backers of Illinois Democrats, more than doubling the second-largest group, lawyers . . . "

Democrats and Public Unions--a toxic combination for taxpayers!

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