Thursday, January 21, 2016

Two Ex-Public Pension Thieves' Responses to Today's Public Pension Thieves

"Illinois House Speaker Michael J. Madigan issued the following statement Thursday after Governor Bruce Rauner and Republican legislative leaders proposed changes to Illinois’ pension system: ‘I have shown my commitment to achieving pension reform on a number of occasions over the last several years. The Illinois Supreme Court has ruled that the General Assembly cannot alter earned benefits. With the court’s guidance, we now have a clearer framework of what cannot be done in any future pension reform proposal. To avoid wasting taxpayer dollars on lawsuits, it’s important that we carefully consider the court’s direction when we take up pension reform proposals as we work to address the state’s unfunded pension debt while ensuring that retirees who have worked hard for decades will receive their retirement benefits…'" (Capitol Fax).

"Governor Rauner’s Statement on Pension Reform Legislation: 'The following statement can be attributed to Lance Trover, communications director for the Governor’s Office: 'Administration lawyers have spent weeks negotiating the best possible pension reform language with members of Senator Cullerton’s staff. Central to the Cullerton model is that future salary increases are part of the employee election, and that to ensure the proposal passes Constitutional muster current law must be changed to make the employee’s election permanent. On that core principal, the Governor’s legal team and the President’s legal team have agreed, and this is the model that the Governor and Republican leaders endorsed today. We hope the Senate President still supports this agreed upon model, originally developed by his office. If he no longer supports it, we urge him to immediately introduce new pension reform legislation that he thinks will be approved by the Supreme Court, and the governor will be open to considering it. Now is the time to act.'"

"The following statement was released by Senate President John J. Cullerton regarding Republican leaders’ pension proposal: 'The governor called me this morning to say he was going to back my ideas for pension reform. The plan he outlined at his news conference isn’t what we talked about. It’s not my plan. It goes beyond what we discussed and beyond what I support. We apparently still have a fundamental disagreement over the role of collective bargaining in this process, in the sense that I think collective bargaining should continue to exist and the governor does not. I look forward to working with the governor to clarify these issues and appreciate his willingness to consider other ideas and just how far he’s moved away from his original pension reform ideas. But this is not my plan, not the plan we discussed this morning, and it does not have my support.'"


I have written many times that challenges will lie ahead for current public employees, retirees and their families, and for every citizen of Illinois. These facts will not changed: there are liars and thieves among us who will continue to choose which contracts to honor and which ones to violate in the future.

We know they will attempt another legislative thievery of our benefits and rights again. Thus, we must continue our vigilance. Most importantly, we must continue our resistance against the dishonest politicians and their mendacious accomplices, such as members of the Civic Committee of the Commercial Club of Chicago, the Civic Federation, Illinois Policy Institute, and their ilk.

We know corrupt legislators (and the current governor) will attempt to pass laws for their own advantage. We should recall that despite their pledges, the legislators’ criteria for justice are their considerations for what is expedient for them—their re-elections to remain in power and wealth. 

--Glen Brown

(The visual juxtaposition is by Fred Klonsky.)

1 comment:

  1. “[Response] from the We Are One Illinois Union Coalition: ‘Another day, another hostage for Governor Rauner in his war on the working people of Illinois. Yesterday it was public schools, for more than a year it has been the state budget, and today it is retirement security for teachers, first responders and other public service workers. Rather than address his failure to enact a state budget or take a new approach by showing a willingness to work together, the Governor promotes cutting constitutionally-protected pensions in an effort to further attack working people and their unions he considers his political enemies. Rauner’s latest proposal is irresponsible and divisive. Slashing retirement security by forcing workers to choose between two diminished options is clearly unconstitutional. And to no one’s surprise, poison pills in the governor’s plan would wipe out the right of working people to have a collective voice on the job on behalf of their families and those they serve. Our coalition has always advocated a responsible solution to the pension funding issue that is both constitutional and fair. We urge the governor to abandon unconstitutional attacks and put the people of this state ahead of his political agenda. His disregard for working families is causing irreparable harm to children and communities across Illinois’” (Capitol Fax)