Sunday, April 7, 2013

Tom Cross’ Letter in the Chicago Tribune, April 7, 2013: Political Opportunism

“…In the last 10 years, pension costs have risen to $7.5 billion in 2013 from $1.6 billion in 2003. This year's pension costs will consume approximately 22 percent of the general funds budget, up from 7 percent 10 years ago. And it is projected to rise rapidly in coming years.
“What does this mean to you — the Illinois taxpayer? The parent with children in elementary and high school or at a state university? Someone who is disabled or in need of other state services?
“The answer is so important to the future of our state. As pension costs grow exponentially, our ability to meet these needs dwindles. It is the proverbial elephant in the room that grows larger and more untenable each year.
“We have reason for hope. The Illinois House approved three major reform concepts this spring that together will save our state about $100 billion over the next 30 years in pension costs. There is more work to be done to get a comprehensive reform package put together and approved, but the key components are in place...
“Pension reform must be comprehensive and restore sensibility to a process that now forces us to put retirement pay ahead of children, seniors and the needy. It must be constitutional, providing fairness and stability for state employees and taxpayers. Anything less would be a disappointing failure.
“The path ahead is difficult, but clear. We must collectively recognize the enormous fiscal challenge our pension debt is presenting, agree to a reasonable comprehensive plan that addresses the challenge, then set aside our differences and work together to pass that solution — House and Senate, Republicans and Democrats…”
Tom Cross

Tom Cross,

You are a political opportunist who offers no solutions to the problems you and other legislators have created. You know why there is an increasing unfunded liability: it was caused primarily by legislators’ fraud; you know why important services have not been cut for decades: legislators stole money that was intended for the public employees’ pension funds to pay for those services; you know why pension costs have risen: legislators now owe public employees billions of dollars; past General Assemblies did not fully contribute to the pensions systems for several decades, and today’s dysfunctional General Assembly continues its habitual practice of ignoring the state’s flawed revenue system and flawed Pension Ramp and of assaulting the state’s public employees’ and retirees' benefits and rights.
You don’t care about “constitutional” contracts or upholding your oath of office: you have sponsored and supported unconstitutional bills; nor do you care about “children, seniors [especially public employees and retirees] and the needy”: you use them as a ploy to shift attention away from your ambition, dishonesty and thievery.

The House’s “three major reform [bills]” (HB 1154, HB 1165 and HB 1166) are an attempt to slash public employees’ retirement salaries and earnings and raise the retirement age while concealing the salient causes of the state’s financial mess. A call to all state representatives and senators to “collectively recognize the enormous fiscal challenge [that] pension debt is presenting” in the Chicago Tribune is a devious and irresponsible appeal to break a constitutional contract with the state’s public servants and retirees and perpetuate more legislative theft.

-Glen Brown


  1. Tom Cross is my state representative. I will never forget his phone call to me last summer; he promised retirees' pensions would not be affected by whatever solution to the pension crisis would be reached. I gather he does not feel retired teachers to be among the "seniors" of whom he speaks.

    1. He is mine as well. In the call he gave me, the most I gleaned was that "I know it [the bills trying to pass] is not fair." I would gladly vote for a bum off the streets instead of him.

  2. Glen, you are an outstanding individual with a gift of clarity.

  3. Once again, Cross and the others would solve the state's self-made financial morass by redirecting $billions from the contractually promised for their own purposes. The past is prologue. Just add a dash of hand=wringing necessity, certainly not morality or legality.
    Thanks for the honest response, Glen.

  4. Cross says that “Pension reform must be comprehensive and restore sensibility to a process that now forces us to put retirement pay ahead of ..., seniors and the needy." Doesn't he realize that if we're retired, we ARE seniors? Also by his and others' proposed actions, in no time we will also be the needy! What all these myopic proposals are going to do in time is create a large underclass of individuals who will not be able to contribute positively to IL's economy and will create more economic havoc and uncertainty.