Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Have you seen Michael Connelly’s legislative survey for Illinois' 21st district?

I received Connelly’s “What’s your opinion on the issues facing Illinois” yesterday. I thought about what is more important to a sycophantic politician like Connelly who asks loaded questions such as “Should government pensions move to a defined-contribution plan, which are like pensions used in private business, instead of the current defined-benefit plan system” and “Teacher pensions make up the largest portion of the public pension funds. Some think teacher pensions should be shifted from the state to local school districts to make them accountable for hiring and pay hikes. Others say this will result in higher property taxes without reforming the system. Should Illinois shift responsibility for some pension payments to school districts? Yes, No, Undecided?”

Politicians like Connelly do not concern themselves with the examination of evidence, the causes of the state’s financial problems, and the best solutions for these complicated issues. They are concerned about their reputation and re-election and about maintaining their power and influence. They like simple surveys that ask their constituents to make simple choices to complex questions, questions that are constructed so they are not comprehensive and that demand no relevant and accurate scrutiny in order to answer intelligently.

Connelly’s legislative survey is a distortion based on his unwillingness to survey fairly the real “issues facing Illinois”: pension debt and revenue problems that were caused by incompetent, irresponsible and corrupt leadership. Instead, Connelly casts the issues of raising crucial state revenue and public employees’ pensions as objects of his bias to provoke mindless, hair-trigger responses.

How about asking constituents whether the State of Illinois ought to keep a promise (as a rule of prima facie duty), and whether a politician can break a constitutional contract with ANY citizen in Illinois if it suits a politician’s advantage? How about asking whether a politician should continue to hurt the lives of people who were not responsible for the state’s pension debt and lack of revenue? How about asking whether so-called pension reform, or the breaking of a contract, is a good thing, and whether it is legally and morally right to ignore the State and U.S. Constitutions?

Illinois Pension Reform Is Without Legal and Moral Justification, Mr. Connelly. You know past state governments created the severe unfunded liability for the five public employees’ retirement systems in Illinois. Your attempt to isolate and offer up one group of people for hardship and, for many of these public employees, create a dispossession by way of intentionally-diminishing laws while you perpetuate special exceptions and windfalls for the wealthy elite is a mockery of justice.

Public employees’ benefits and rights are guaranteed by contract. It is critical that today’s politicians protect legitimate expectations and concerns for all the state’s citizenry, especially for people who must be defended against those with excessive economic clout and inequitable schemes to pass prejudicial legislations that benefit the financial elite (and their politicians) at the expense of everyone else.

To ignore the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments of the U.S. Constitution and change laws that protect one group of people is to ignore due process and equal protection of the laws that guarantee contractual agreements. It is shameful that politicians (like you) are willing to renege on a contract when (you and) they are the debtors. It is wrong to modify public employees’ contractual rights and benefits prospectively and retroactively when there are other recourses to address the pension debt problem, such as through debt and revenue restructuring.

Legal and moral sense dictates that you and the rest of the Illinois General Assembly must align with the U.S. and State Constitutions and sanction the vested rights of its middle-class public employees. Politicians should understand the economic, social and psychological harm that will be done to this significant body of voters, of which there are approximately 693,000 members, when they break a contract. It is a matter of moral and legal concern for EVERY citizen of Illinois to pay attention to any proposed violations of rights and benefits.

4 comments:

  1. Would this be the same legislator who conveniently forgot to deliver a petition signed by over 5000 concerned citizens to leader of the Illinois Senate in which they respectfully urged Senator Cullerton to use his political will and wisdom to find an appropriate solution to the underfunding caused by years of theft of the public pensions by the General Assembly? The one he promised he'd take?

    Is this a survey you'd trust for real answers?

    Yes, No, Undecided?

    Is this a Senator you'd trust again after he used Steve Martin's infamous excuse, "I forgot"?

    Yes, No, Undecided?

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  2. Failing to deliver signed petitions to a State Legislative Committee must be illegal. How do we begin the process of prosecution??

    ReplyDelete
  3. John Dillon and I delivered the petition to Cullerton's office. The link for the petition is still live, however: http://petitions.moveon.org/sign/illinois-revenue-and?source=c.em.cp&r_by=1130041

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  4. According to Patricia Herrmann:

    “Senator Connelly is a toady to ALEC and is still promoting the Laffer curve, at least according to a previous newsletter. He is still promoting Reaganonomics and never noticing that tax cuts never resulted in a trickle down to ordinary people. There is more income inequality than ever.

    “When the economy melted down, ALEC used that as an excuse to take away money from old people. Take away the earned delayed wages of teachers and other public employees. As their toady Connelly is shameless.”

    ReplyDelete