Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Thinking about voting for Jeanne Ives in the next Illinois gubernatorial election?

“…Pensions are bankrupting our state and crowding out our ability to fund safety net programs for the developmentally disabled or fund education with more state dollars in place of ever increasing property taxes. Without pension reform our state will continue to decline as unfunded... liabilities are expected to continue to climb until 2030 and the amount of general revenue dollars going to these unsustainable funds will climb with it” –Rep. Jeanne Ives.

To the Sponsors of House Joint Resolution Constitutional Amendment 18  (Ives, Sosnowski, Morrison, Skillicorn, Long, Spain, Phillips, Wehrli and McDermed), HJRCA 18 is unethical, duplicitous, and illegal. HJRCA 18 would not only destroy the public employees’ and retirees’ financial security, but it would also damage the communities that these people support, serve and protect, and ultimately the state's economy.

Moreover, HJRCA 18 would not reduce the state systems’ current $130+ billion unfunded liability that was largely created by the Illinois General Assemblies and Illinois governors; HJRCA 18 would not address the real fiscal issue caused by the state’s out-sized pension debt—in other words, how to amortize the $130+ billion debt owed to the five state-sponsored retirement systems in a feasible way. It would also take three-fifths of the members elected to each house of the General Assembly.

Read the State and U.S. Constitutions: Article 1, Section 16 of the Illinois Constitution: “No ex post facto law or law impairing the obligation of contracts… shall be passed”;  Article 1, Section 10 of the United States Constitution: “No State shall… pass any… ex post facto Law, or Law impairing the Obligation of Contracts…”

To also 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 a few policymakers are willing to renege on a guaranteed constitutional contract when they are the debtors. It is legally and morally wrong to modify public employees’ contractual rights and benefits prospectively and retroactively when there are legal and ethical ways to address the pension debt problem, such as through pension debt and revenue restructuring. Legal and moral sense dictates that all members 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.

Read the Illinois Supreme Court ruling: docket number 118585, filed on May 8, 2015.

—Glen Brown


What do we know about vouchers and charter schools that Ives, Morrison and Sosnowski will not tell you?

·         Money intended for public schools will go to private schools

·         This money will be in the bank accounts of private investors

·         Voucher proponents prefer selective admission policies that continue the inequality, stratification, and segregation of students (race, religion, and class or income)

·         Voucher proponents “represent the most reactionary elements of our society”

·         Vouchers are not about “saving children” or “improving education.” It is about destroying public education and making profits

·         Vouchers do not increase “Parental choice and control over tax dollars”

·         “Big money” is financing this campaign

·         Voucher advocates are often referred to as “nonpartisan”

·         Koch Brothers, Eli Broad Foundation, Walton Family Foundation, and other corporate education reformers are proponents of vouchers and charter schools

·         Private schools have no accountability, especially for children with disabilities 

·         Privatizers do not acknowledge the role of poverty that creates educational disadvantages

·         There are no “reliable data” that prove vouchers and charter schools perform better than public schools; there is evidence to the contrary, however

·         We Ask America poll, commissioned by the Illinois Policy Institute (an organization deeply invested in charter school chains), is questionable

·         There is no separation of church and state in private schools

·         Vouchers have been “declared unconstitutional” in North Carolina and Indiana; other legal debates continue

·         It has been noted there is “rampant fraud and abuse” in many for-profit voucher programs

·         The latest Gallup Poll (2013) found that “70 percent of Americans oppose the use of public funds for religious or private schools”

·         “The Milwaukee voucher schools have never outperformed the public schools on state tests: Read here and here. The only dispute about test scores is whether voucher students are doing the same or worse than their peers in public schools. Read here about some very low-performing schools in Milwaukee that have never been held accountable”

·         “Steve Hinnefeld analyzed Indiana’s growth scores and found that public schools usually showed greater gains than charters or religious schools”

·         “Public school students perform as well as or better than comparable children in private schools” (U.S. Department of Education) Diane Ravitch, Death and Life of the Great American School System)

·         Some charter operators are opened by “hedge-fund managers, for-profit firms, and get-rich-quick schemers” (Ravitch)

·         Some charter schools (of choice) have been under “federal criminal investigation for nepotism, conflicts of interest, and financial mismanagement” (Ravitch)

·         “Enthusiasm for charter schools far outstripped research evidence for their efficacy… Too many promises that are only, at best, weakly supported by evidence” (Ravitch)

·         “The rhetoric of many charter school advocates has come to sound uncannily similar to the rhetoric of voucher proponents and of the most rabid haters of public schooling. They often sound as though they want public schools to fail; they want to convert entire districts to charter schools, each with its own curriculum and methods, each with its own private management, all competing for students and public dollars” (Ravitch)
·      “The charter movement is now part of the growing privatization of public education and Wall Street sees an emerging market.   Take a look at this piece published last fall on ‘…dozens of bankers, hedge fund types and private equity investors…’ gathered to discuss ‘…investing in for-profit education companies…’ There’s a potential gold rush here. Public education from kindergarten through high school pulls in more than $500 billion in taxpayer revenues every year, and crony capitalists and politicians alike are cashing in…” (Bill Moyers). 

Please read Public Schools for Sale? (An Interview with Bill Moyers and Diane Ravitch):Click Here.
—Glen Brown


HB 3160
 Jeanne Ives

Synopsis As Introduced
Creates the Workers Rights Act. Provides that no person shall be required as a condition of obtaining or continuing public-sector or private-sector employment to (1) resign or refrain from membership in, voluntary affiliation with, or voluntary financial support of, a labor organization; (2) become or remain a member of a labor organization; (3) pay any dues, fees, assessments, or other charges of any kind or amount, or provide anything else of value, to a labor organization; or (4) pay to any charity or other third party an amount equivalent to, or a portion of, dues, fees, assessments, or other charges required of members of a labor organization. Authorizes a person who suffers an injury or a threatened injury as a result of a violation of the Act to bring a civil action for damages, injunctive relief, or both and, if he or she prevails, to be awarded attorneys' fees and costs. Amends the Illinois Public Labor Relations Act and the Illinois Educational Labor Relations Act to make conforming changes. Effective immediately.

Re-referred to Rules Committee March 22, 2013

HB 3161 Jeanne Ives

Synopsis As Introduced
Creates the Political Funding Reform Act. Prohibits a public employer from collecting, deducting, or transmitting political funds. Provides that if a person or organization (i) has used as political funds any of the funds collected or deducted for it by any public employer, (ii) has commingled funds collected or deducted by any public employer with political funds, or (iii) has deducted or collected funds from multiple levels of an organization and transmitted those funds to a single recipient who has used those funds as political funds, then, for a period of 2 years, no public employer shall collect, deduct, or assist in the collection or deduction of funds for any purpose for that person or organization. Voids existing contracts and agreements that violate the Act. Makes the provisions of the Act severable. Effective immediately.

Re-referred to Rules Committee March 22, 2013

HB 2689 Jeanne Ives & Tom Morrison

Synopsis As Introduced
Amends the Illinois Public Labor Relations Act and the Illinois Educational Labor Relations Act. Provides that, once an agreement is reached between a public or educational employer and its employees regarding the terms of a collective bargaining agreement, the agreement shall be reduced to writing and published on the website of the public or educational employer. Requires the public or educational employer, not less than 14 days after publishing such an agreement, to hold an open public meeting on the ratification of that agreement. Makes conforming changes in the Open Meetings Act and the Freedom of Information Act. Effective immediately.
Tabled Pursuant to Rule 22 (g) March 20, 2013

HB 182 Jeanne Ives

Synopsis As Introduced
Amends the Open Meetings Act, the Illinois Public Labor Relations Act, and the Illinois Educational Labor Relations Act. Eliminates the open meetings exemption for collective bargaining in all three Acts. Effective immediately.
Rule 19(a) Re-referred to Rules Committee March 22, 2013

1 comment:

  1. Most Illinois citizens (who have read this blog) recognize the incessant schemes of the Civic Federation, Civic Committee, Illinois Policy Institute, and their minions in the Illinois General Assembly (and governor) that blame public employees and retirees for the chronic Illinois budget crisis.

    Most Illinois citizens (who have read this blog) also recognize that some politicians, who lack moral sensibility and legal understanding, have no qualms about stealing money from the public pension funds and ignoring the Illinois Supreme Court’s ruling against any form of unconstitutional public pension theft.

    Public employees and retirees know about the corporate vast resources of money and influence the Civic Federation, Civic Committee, Illinois Policy Institute, and their minions in the Illinois General Assembly (and governor) have committed to reforming public employees' and retirees' rights and benefits and their own accountability under the law in Illinois.

    Public employees and retirees know about unethical and incompetent politicians and their wealthy benefactors who continue to choose and ignore the legal court precedents, the essential history and necessity of the “Pension Protection Clause,” and what it means to uphold the Illinois and U.S. Constitutions.

    Public employees and retirees know that to repeal the “Pension Protection Clause” is to attack public employees’ and retirees’ rights to a constitutionally-guaranteed compensation, and that this can never be legally or morally justified, especially when Illinois politicians have continuously stole money that was supposed to be paid into the public pension plans for several decades.

    Public employees and retirees know there are no equal rights when resolutions and proposals are made to underpin and to sustain the fortunes of a few at the expense and victimization of the state’s public employees and retirees.

    Public employees and retirees know that to possess a right to a promised deferred compensation, such as a defined-benefit pension, is to assert a legitimate claim with all Illinois legislators to protect that right, and that fulfilling a contract is a legal and moral obligation justified by trust among elected officials and their constituents.

    Public employees and retirees know the “Pension Protection Clause” is a binding legal commitment and requirement of justice, and that justice demands we keep our covenants with one another: for when legislators swear an oath to uphold the State and U.S. Constitutions, then citizens of Illinois have also acquired the right to expect that they will uphold that pledge. This is a matter of important legal and moral concern for all citizens of Illinois, for all legal claims are validated by a moral framework since the concept of justice is grounded in ethics and morality.