ILLINOIS SUPREME COURT RULES AGAINST LEGISLATIVE THEFT! (May 8)
Today we celebrate a legal and moral victory. We can believe in the Illinois Constitution for protection and believe in the sanctity of contracts once again. We can believe the Pension Protection Clause “confers additional, independent protection for public retirement benefits separate and distinct from the protection afforded by the Contract Clause” (Brief of ISEA, RSEA, Heaton and Harrison, Plaintiffs-Appellees, 22). We can believe the Pension Protection Clause decisively has no reference to “subject to police power.” We can believe Illinois legislators “may not rewrite the Pension Protection Clause to include restrictions and limitations that the drafters did not express and the citizens of Illinois did not approve” (32). We can believe “no reserved power allows a state legislature to sidestep the plain prohibitions set out in its own constitution” (41) at least for now… (For the complete article, click here).
A Response from a Retired Delegate to the IEA-RA Representative Assembly: I am saddened... (April 18)
…I am saddened that the IEA leadership has created such an acquiescent provincialism. I am saddened that the IEA leadership avoids challenges to their authority and critical discussion. I am saddened that current teachers have lost so much already in these past few years and will lose even more in the future… (For the complete article, click here).
Attacking the Pension Protection Clause (April 2)
…It is shameful and reckless that a representative who has sworn an oath to uphold the State and U.S. Constitutions would propose an amendment that ignores and challenges a legal contract. Breaking a contract threatens the integrity of all laws that govern and protect the citizenry, for the values of the United States Constitution (Article I, Section 10) and the Illinois State Constitution (Article I, Section 16 and Article XIII, Section 5) are dependent upon the understanding and integration of all of the articles and amendments in totality… (For the complete article, click here).
Should Robbing and Blaming Teachers Have Popular Appeal? (March 20)
“…By announcing the exemption, Mr. Rauner was following the lead of other Republican governors in the Midwest who have imposed unwelcome changes on state and local employees in the name of saving money and improving services… All these exemptions and carve-outs have a popular appeal. Who, after all, would deny the heroism of police officers and firefighters? The hitch, labor experts contend, is that the exemptions lack any substantive merit…” (For the complete article, click here).
Is it possible the IEA et al. might negotiate another pension reform bill? (July 9)
On July 2, 2012, John Dillon, Fred Klonsky, Catherine Lenzini, Michael Cousineau, and I met with the IEA leadership to discuss our concerns about the IEA's willingness to negotiate teachers' and retirees' constitutionally-guaranteed pension benefits and rights. Of course, the IEA leadership did not heed our advice. Instead, 10 months later we witnessed the folly (and irony) of the IEA leadership's eagerness to bargain teachers' and retirees' constitutionally-guaranteed pension benefits and rights with Senate Bill 2404 in May of 2013… (For the complete article, click here).
Illinois Justices Press State's Lawyer on [Breaking a Constitutional Contract] (March 12)
“‘…This is a case about a constitutional provision, one that is explicit, clear and unambiguous and it is subject to no stated exception,’ DiVito said. ‘The state has not cited a single case where the reserve sovereign powers, the police powers, have been held to override a constitutional provision, and that's because there is no such case…’” (For the complete article, click here).
Why Did the Chicken Cross the Road, Politically and Philosophically Speaking? (April 13)
…JEAN-PAUL SARTRE: Because the chicken in its crisis of consciousness knew it was free to cross the road, the chicken feared it would cross the road and ultimately discover that an abyss separated it from itself… (For the complete article, click here).
“TRS Tier II members are paying the entire cost of their pensions plus an extra 2.4 percent to TRS. That extra 2.4 percent subsidizes the pensions of Tier I members” —Dick Ingram, TRS Executive Director (January 10)
“…In 20 years, when Tier II members are a significant majority in TRS, the subsidy they pay will cause a reduction in the state’s annual contribution. Eventually, the state will not owe any annual contribution to TRS because the members will be paying the entire cost. This is fundamentally unfair to Tier II members…” (For the complete article, click here).
Another Form of Pension Theft or Taxing Only Public Employees’ Retirement Income (January 21)
…Conclusively, “claims that public-sector pensions will bankrupt state and local governments are exaggerated… Policymakers [who] attempt to reduce their budget deficit by cutting solely public employee compensation [through healthcare/pension theft and unfair taxation]—rather than by considering a balanced approach of appropriate cuts in several areas of the budget and revenue increases—[will create] large-scale job losses among public-sector workers, [jeopardize the subsistence of thousands of retirees and their families] and [generate] more pain for the overall [state’s] economy.” (For the complete article, click here).
Governor Rauner’s Budget Proposal and What He Left Out of His Speech on Ash Wednesday (February 18)
…Rauner continued his attacks on labor unions today and his advocacy for merit pay, charter schools, and “local empowerment zones.” Nothing was said about the state’s budget problems driven by the far more expensive and wasteful corporate subsidies that Illinois policymakers have been doling out for years. “Tax breaks cost Illinois taxpayers some $2 billion annually,” according to Roberta Lynch, executive director of American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Council 31… (For the complete article, click here).
Because my good friend Fred Klonsky re-posted a link on his blog to my debates with Eric Zorn (that took place in May, 2012) this year, the following four posts received several thousand page views. Thank you, Fred! And thank All of You for reading my blog!
If you haven't read them or would like to revisit, please click on these links: