Dear Senator Pat McGuire:
As a retired educator, I was happy to receive your recent email communication regarding your concerns about the public pension system problem in Illinois, but I must admit your selection of those who must bear the responsibility seemed more than a bit skewed.
Those outliers that collect multiple pensions are indeed outrageous and truly good press, but that is not the norm for thousands of people who served this state tirelessly and honestly, believing in the possibility of a retirement at the end of their careers. To use those very limited hyperbolic examples as reasons to lessen the amounts of annuity benefits given to people who worked (without social security) in the public sector to provide service to the State of Illinois for 30 or more years is not only unacceptable but also unconscionable.
What is fair, Senator, is to fulfill the promises made by the State of Illinois that were not kept since 1953. Every state employee paid his or her fair share of 9.4% of their salaries in good faith to TRS and you (the State) as originally required. Now you want us to suffer the state’s inability or (see Gov. Thompson, etc.) direct refusal to pay into the TRS system to benefit the promises made. You would seek a solution that is illusory, immoral, and unfair, Senator, one that is or will be designed to make those innocent pay for those who were guilty of one of the biggest fleecing’s of a state’s citizenry – including specifically its public employees.
What is Constitutional is carried in Article XIII Section 5: Not to be “diminished or impaired.” What is fair is what is morally correct and courageous, something we have yet not seen from Springfield. Senator, what is sustainable is a change in taxation - one that even the Senate leader has expressed as necessary: a progressive tax system that Illinois has avoided forever as other states have come to embrace wisely.
Do not keep us in a Dickensian world of industrial tax policy, Senator. We witness the continued back door agreements by corporate players in Illinois (Caterpillar, Boeing, CME, Sears, etc.). We remain captive to threats of leaving or disinterest in further investment, while they shop for states without workers’ rights . Please, wake up, see the rest of the country, and make a difference here in Illinois for many millions. Fight the formidable foes to effect change in taxation.
I will support you. We will support your move.
For further reading on the issue, read “A Response to the Chicago Tribune and the Civic Committee of the Commercial Club of Chicago”: http://teacherpoetmusicianglenbrown.blogspot.com/2011/10/response-to-chicago-tribune-and-civic.html
“Illinois Pension Reform, Senate Bill 1673, Is Without Legal and Moral Justification”:
"Duress and a Reminder about the Most Important Issue": http://teacherpoetmusicianglenbrown.blogspot.com/2012/06/duress-and-few-reminders-about-most.html