Illinois

Illinois Punts on Pension Reform While Governor Flails Around Haplessly

Whines about "political timidity" while failing to organize a solid solution

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The mayor of Halloween Town was more authoritative

Democratic Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn seems bound and determined to make us all retroactively impressed with what little public employee pension reform California Gov. Jerry Brown was able to push through in August.

Quinn had pretty much already hot-potatoed the state's enormous ($100 billion and rising) unfunded state employee pension crisis to voters with a website and video begging them to call legislators to demand that they do something or other.

This week marked the end of the term for serving Illinois legislators and the transition to the new crop, which, like California, will result in a Democratic supermajority. Would Quinn manage to accomplish anything at all before the session ended? Not with leadership like this (via Tuesday's Crain's Chicago Business column by Greg Hinz):

As he has in the past, Mr. Quinn in comments to reporters stressed the importance to the state's economy of doing something to shore up pension funds that now collectively are nearly $100 billion short of the assets they'll need to pay promised benefits.

"The important thing is working for the public interest, the public good," Mr. Quinn said. "We have to have the goal of putting the state on sound financial footing right away. . . .We cannot allow our state economy to be held hostage by political timidity."

But asked directly what he is for, Mr. Quinn said only: "I'm for erasing the pension liability. I've laid out plan after plan . . . (and I'm for) anything that gets us there."

Republicans have charged that negotiations are stalled because, in part, the Democratic governor has not pushed for a specific vote on a specific bill.

Ultimately nothing happened. A modest reform plan to freeze cost-of-living increases and require employees to pay more into their own pensions failed, and the problem was punted to the next legislature.

Now it appears as though Quinn wants to formally wash his hands of the whole problem by creating a commission to deal with it.  As the Illinois Policy Institute notes, such a solution would delegate lawmaking and possibly tax increases to an unelected and unaccountable commission. Ah, that's a solution Californians are quite familiar with as well.

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  1. You left out Quinn’s serious attempt at persuasion: ‘squeezy the pension python’

    1. As goofy as that was, it is an unfortunately spot-on depiction of what is going to happen to all us taxpayers here.

      We’ve got motherf&*#ing snakes on a pension!

  2. Ok, that alt text is made of win

  3. OK, not really left out, just buried instead of highlighted again and again as it deserves to be

  4. It’s not punting. See, it’s not a spending problem.

  5. He should just listen to Karen Lewis, president of the Chicago Teachers Union:

    “Do not think for a minute that the wealthy are ever going to allow you to legislate their riches away from them,” Lewis told the audience at the event. “However, we are in a moment where the wealth disparity in this country is very reminiscent of the robber baron ages. The labor leaders of that time, though, were ready to kill. They were. They were just ? off with their heads. They were seriously talking about that.”

    Problem solved!

    1. Again, the union fetishists forget that many of the people labor leaders were ‘ready to kill’ were blacks and immigrants who were undercutting union wages.

      Libert?, ?galit?, fraternit

      1. I love the irony of the President of the Chicago teachers Union -who has a six figure salary- arguing about how she is one of the poor downtrodden union workers.

        Without a hint of shame.

        1. And if you have seen her, you know she also single-handedly consumes the sustenance of a family of four.

  6. You can’t help but laugh at these fucktards…until you realize that the fed will eventually bail them out. Ironic that money will be stolen from poor rural states to line the pockets of rich union sacks of shit. I suppose that’s the price to pay for not supporting teh fuhrer.

  7. The alt-text is stupendous. Every time I see Pat Quinn from now on, I’m going to imagine his head spinning around and revealing a second, scared looking face.

  8. My wife was looking at a senior executive job just outside of Chicago. This explains why she didn’t take it. The pay was good but we have no idea what the thieves would be taking and when. it isn’t even regime uncertainty, we knew the government would suck it was just hard to figure how much.

    1. Good idea – we just had our taxes go up a whole bunch – it was going to be “temporary” and would get us out of the hole. Needless to say, the second TEAM BLUE got a super majority, the “temporary” went away and they have begun to discuss moar taxes! The laughter from Indiana and Wisconsin is getting louder every day.

      1. As a Hoosier, I think we need serious border control to keep those damn dirty Illnoisians out of our state.

  9. A complete abdication of responsibility by both the Governor and his partners-in-crime, Senate President Cullerton and House leader Madigan. They are an embarrassment to the the people of Illinois.

    This is occurring one year after the three amigos passed a 60% increase in individual and corporate income taxes!

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