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Tue Dec 3, 2013, 07:05 PM

Illinois lawmakers approve major pension overhaul

Last edited Wed Dec 4, 2013, 02:24 AM - Edit history (1)

Source: Chicago Tribune

SPRINGFIELD --- The Illinois General Assembly today narrowly approved a major overhaul of the state government worker pension system following hours of debate on the controversial plan strongly opposed by employee unions.

The House voted 62-53 to approve a measure that aims to wipe out a worst-in-the-nation $100 billion pension debt by reducing and skipping cost-of-living increases, requiring workers to retire later and creating a 401(k) option for a limited number of employees. The measure needed a minimum of 60 votes to pass the House.

Moments earlier, the Senate voted for the measure 30-24. The bill needed at least 30 votes. The measure now goes to Democratic Gov. Pat Quinn, who has said he'll sign it.

The vote is a major victory for Quinn as he heads into a re-election bid next year.

Read more: http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/chi-illinois-pension-vote-20131203,0,7470176,full.story



AP: Illinois pension fight likely shifting to courts

...Quinn said he believes the legislation is constitutional and will be upheld by the Illinois Supreme Court.

"It is necessary for the economic good for the people of our state, and I think the court will see it that way," he said.

Senate President John Cullerton, meanwhile, said the legislation will provide an important test case.

43 replies, 2606 views

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Arrow 43 replies Author Time Post
Reply Illinois lawmakers approve major pension overhaul (Original post)
alp227 Dec 2013 OP
mucifer Dec 2013 #1
Hassin Bin Sober Dec 2013 #6
duffyduff Dec 2013 #22
A Little Weird Dec 2013 #8
madrchsod Dec 2013 #10
duffyduff Dec 2013 #21
madrchsod Dec 2013 #9
duffyduff Dec 2013 #20
mike_c Dec 2013 #26
duffyduff Dec 2013 #39
upaloopa Dec 2013 #28
duffyduff Dec 2013 #40
marsis Dec 2013 #31
duffyduff Dec 2013 #41
marsis Dec 2013 #42
duffyduff Dec 2013 #43
Skittles Dec 2013 #2
Jackpine Radical Dec 2013 #3
Scuba Dec 2013 #4
OneCrazyDiamond Dec 2013 #5
DavidDvorkin Dec 2013 #7
frazzled Dec 2013 #14
DavidDvorkin Dec 2013 #15
frazzled Dec 2013 #16
former9thward Dec 2013 #18
duffyduff Dec 2013 #24
frazzled Dec 2013 #27
upaloopa Dec 2013 #29
frazzled Dec 2013 #30
upaloopa Dec 2013 #35
duffyduff Dec 2013 #38
duffyduff Dec 2013 #36
duffyduff Dec 2013 #34
duffyduff Dec 2013 #37
duffyduff Dec 2013 #23
Historic NY Dec 2013 #11
chuckstevens Dec 2013 #12
marsis Dec 2013 #32
Paulie Dec 2013 #13
former9thward Dec 2013 #19
duffyduff Dec 2013 #25
Jimbo S Dec 2013 #17
marsis Dec 2013 #33

Response to alp227 (Original post)

Tue Dec 3, 2013, 07:22 PM

1. It's a big deal. It had to happen. I know I'm gonna get slammed.

I do believe corporations need to pay much more in taxes and CEOs need to pay much more in taxes. But, if you look closely at the double dipping and other problems there is a huge mess in the pension system and it had to happen.

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Response to mucifer (Reply #1)

Tue Dec 3, 2013, 07:53 PM

6. Every time I hear about double dipping it's some upper echelon director or political ...

... appointee or elected politician doing the double dipping.

Is it really some broad based problem among the rank and file worker or is this another case of "I heard about this guy who!!!!"?

I have friends that don't want to retire but want to get the fuck out before they change everything.

My public defender buddy just retired. They were talking about making cuts to a retirement "perk" that he paid an additional 3% of his income over 20 plus years to secure.

He spent 25 years doing a kind of shitty job that he believed in earning a lot less than his peers in the private sector. He did this "knowing" he would have a decent retirement.

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Response to Hassin Bin Sober (Reply #6)

Wed Dec 4, 2013, 01:10 PM

22. People forget Illinois workers and those in 13 other states don't pay

into Social Security. The states and localities cannot be required to, either, because of constitutional prohibitions against the federal government levying a tax on state and local governments. FICA is a tax.

They can voluntarily opt into SS, and the vast majority of public entities do, but they can't be forced to.

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Response to mucifer (Reply #1)

Tue Dec 3, 2013, 08:03 PM

8. No

In KY, the pension is only in trouble because lawmakers failed to meet their obligations for years. Kicking the can down the road and using the funds for their pet projects instead. It looks like that may be the case in IL too - from the article -
“I believe this was actually more caused by the fact that we as a state did not make our pension payments as we should have even though the employees worked and their full payments were made,” said Holmes, the only member of the special two-chamber special committee that did not sign the legislation that emerged. “So I think a lot of this problem stems from the fact that we actually didn’t do what we were obligated and should have done.”


If double-dipping is a problem as you say it is, then why not fix it instead of just screwing everyone over? That seems to be a totally different issue.

As a public employee, I can't help but notice that 'pension reforms' never seem to reform the generous benefit packages the lawmakers enjoy.

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Response to A Little Weird (Reply #8)

Tue Dec 3, 2013, 08:11 PM

10. you are correct..they have been kicking the can.

double dipping is a problem but it`s a minority of the public union members doing it.

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Response to A Little Weird (Reply #8)

Wed Dec 4, 2013, 01:04 PM

21. I suspect the poster doesn't even know what "double dipping" is.

"Double dipping" is the instance of retirees who collect a public pension and then are hired back to do the same job WHILE collecting their public pension. Some agencies do this to save money.

It is not people who retire and get Social Security and/or private pensions who are "double dippers." People who are screwed out of their full SS retiree or survivor benefits but didn't pay into it in their public employment jobs are not "double dippers."

WEP/GPO needs to be repealed, by the way.

Public employees already HAVE a 401(k) type plan called a 403(b), which covers non-profits. It is available throughout the country. Illinois legislators are a bunch of morons.

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Response to mucifer (Reply #1)

Tue Dec 3, 2013, 08:09 PM

9. it will take at least 4 yrs to get rid of the flat tax.

the tax has to be stripped from the constitution.

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Response to mucifer (Reply #1)

Wed Dec 4, 2013, 01:02 PM

20. What "double dipping"? Do you even know what that means?

You do realize, don't you, that Illinois state and local employees don't pay into Social Security and get fucked over if they have ever paid into it thanks to WEP/GPO?

Public pensions aren't the problem--the big problem is thievery by the one percent that wants to gut ALL public sector work.

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Response to mucifer (Reply #1)

Wed Dec 4, 2013, 01:41 PM

26. average CalPERS pension is about $25K annually....

I seriously doubt that it's much different in this case. People work for their neighbors their whole lives to earn those pensions, which were promised to them as a condition of employment.

Piss on any shithead who thinks public employees are the problem here. A good long, satisfying piss.

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Response to mike_c (Reply #26)

Wed Dec 4, 2013, 03:52 PM

39. That sounds about right, and teachers' pensions are lower than that

on average, and not much higher than the average Social Security benefit. I don't believe for one minute the claim IL teachers "average" 48k. That sounds like an outright lie to me.

Fuck anybody on a so-called "Democratic" board who peddles right-wing lies about how "huge" our pensions are.

They aren't. We are fucked over on Social Security besides on benefits we EARNED and paid for.

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Response to mucifer (Reply #1)

Wed Dec 4, 2013, 01:55 PM

28. Like most people discussing this topic you

don't what fuck you are talking about.
You just repeat some bullshit anecdotal meme that you hear without any facts.
You should care that we are facing more and more inequality. Our kids and grand kids have no future. All is going to the 1% and all you can do is fan the flames of wedge politics.
You should be ashamed of yourself.

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Response to upaloopa (Reply #28)

Wed Dec 4, 2013, 03:54 PM

40. They're coming after SS, too. Chained CPI is the first salvo.

Ignorant people here who made awful occupation choices are whining because they didn't see the 401(k) scam coming when private pensions were being jettisoned think public employees ought to be screwed the same way.

Public employees aren't the problem. The problem is our elected officials are literally bought and paid for by GANGSTERS or are gangsters themselves.

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Response to mucifer (Reply #1)

Wed Dec 4, 2013, 02:42 PM

31. I am guessing

 

that you aren't in the bottom pension tier as most of us retirees are.

1. I paid into the system for over 25 years in one way or the other, was told that they would pick up some pension costs in lieu of raises or other benefits.

2. There are 5 levels of pension tiers in Illinois, the top tier is rated as one of the best in the country, the lowest the first or second worst in the country. Guess who the highest are, yup, legislators, judges. The media mostly forgets about this disparity. They just report what Madigan tells them, "Illinois has one of the best pension plans in the country". What a crock of crap. For him YES IT IS.

3. They are like the drunk who looses his sons college money in a card game and then goes home and blames and beats the kid. Little Mikey Madigan has used the Illinois treasury as his own private bank account to spread the money to vendors, family and friends. Years ago he was considered the craziest legislator in Ill, now he is the Speaker.

4. THE LEGISLATORS DID NOT COMPLETELY FUND THEIR OWN LIABILITY, now we pay the price. HOW THE HELL DOES THIS HAPPEN? Anyone? Illinois Democrats are not like US Democrats, you gotta live here to understand that.

5. I've been told that this upper level of pension funding is exempt, I have no idea on that one.

6, We need a monthly "kick your legislator in the ass day". And I am being very nice.

7. Please, someone do a cost analysis of what the legislature costs us annually. Almost impossible as many departments are created by the legislature but hidden from inspection. Office of the Architect, Ethics commission (used to give no-bid contracts to friendly vendors) and numerous others.

8. this group is the lowest of the low.

9-846 not enough time

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Response to marsis (Reply #31)

Wed Dec 4, 2013, 03:55 PM

41. I forgot they have "tiers" in IL. Most states don't. n/t

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Response to duffyduff (Reply #41)

Wed Dec 4, 2013, 04:12 PM

42. Of course

 

the 1%ers get their own little fund.

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Response to marsis (Reply #42)

Wed Dec 4, 2013, 06:21 PM

43. Of course. It never fails. n/t

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Response to alp227 (Original post)

Tue Dec 3, 2013, 07:23 PM

2. look for it to happen across the country

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Response to alp227 (Original post)

Tue Dec 3, 2013, 07:26 PM

3. Guess which side Rahm's on…

From the "With Democrats like these, Republicans are redundant" department

Mayor Rahm Emanuel issued a statement reminding lawmakers the city of Chicago's pension problems have yet to be fixed.

"The work is far from finished. The pension crisis is not truly solved until relief is brought to Chicago and all of the other local governments across our state that are standing on the brink of a fiscal cliff because of our pension liabilities. Without providing the same relief to local governments, we know that taxpayers, employees, and the future of our state and local economies will remain at risk," Emanuel said in a statement.

Sen. Kyle McCarter, R-Lebanon, questioned the promised savings. "I would be much more inclined to support this bill if this bucket didn't have so many holes in it," he said.

Democratic Sen. Linda Holmes of Aurora dismissed House Speaker Michael Madigan’s assertion earlier in the day that pension benefits are “too rich.”

“I believe this was actually more caused by the fact that we as a state did not make our pension payments as we should have even though the employees worked and their full payments were made,” said Holmes, the only member of the special two-chamber special committee that did not sign the legislation that emerged. “So I think a lot of this problem stems from the fact that we actually didn’t do what we were obligated and should have done.”

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Response to alp227 (Original post)

Tue Dec 3, 2013, 07:39 PM

4. Illinois workers need help. Please send ....

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Response to alp227 (Original post)

Tue Dec 3, 2013, 07:48 PM

5. Labor was a big part of Quinns

campaign. He should have vetoed the bill. More attacks on public unions.

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Response to alp227 (Original post)

Tue Dec 3, 2013, 08:02 PM

7. This will be devastating to my stepmother-in-law

She retired from Illinois and, especially since her husband died, counts on her pension. This means a serious income cut for her and great numbers of other Illinois retirees.

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Response to DavidDvorkin (Reply #7)

Wed Dec 4, 2013, 12:52 AM

14. Will it truly be a serious cut to her?

The set 3% annual COLA will remain in place, but there will be a cap on the pension income to which it applies, so that lower earners are not affected at all, while the big-time pension earners will lose. So unless your m-i-l was a top earner in the state, it is unlikely her pension will be affected much. Younger workers will face changes (offset by lower contributions), but current retirees, while affected, seem to have had the brunt removed from their shoulders, at least if they were on the lower end of the totem pole.

I think maybe you need to understand some of the details of the plan a little better. I found this article a good place to start:

http://blogs.marketwatch.com/encore/2013/12/03/illinois-legislators-pass-pension-reforms/

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Response to frazzled (Reply #14)

Wed Dec 4, 2013, 10:36 AM

15. I'm going by what she has been writing to us

She's been doing the calculations.

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Response to DavidDvorkin (Reply #15)

Wed Dec 4, 2013, 10:46 AM

16. Since the details were released only late yesterday afternoon

in a 300 page bill that even the legislators who voted on it did not have a chance to read thoroughly, I'm not sure where your relative has been getting any of her calculations.

The details of this plan have been unknown, and the compromise came as a rather big surprise.

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Response to frazzled (Reply #16)

Wed Dec 4, 2013, 12:42 PM

18. The details have been known to state workers.

The union has been letting them know how the negotiations were going. I have been away from IL government for 9 years but I was getting a continual stream of emails about this from friends who still work there.

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Response to frazzled (Reply #14)

Wed Dec 4, 2013, 01:17 PM

24. Those "big time" pension earners don't pay into Social Security.

But hey, it's okay if you are in a state that pays into it to collect multiple pensions plus Social Security without offsets.

I don't think you are aware of how SS utterly screws over public employees in Illinois and 13 or 14 other states.

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Response to duffyduff (Reply #24)

Wed Dec 4, 2013, 01:51 PM

27. I live in Illinois and know what I'm talking about

The big earners are the university administrators (and some state physicians and hospital administrators), for example, about much has been written over the years (and if you lived here and/or followed these things, you'd know it). You feeling sorry for someone getting a pension at age 55 of $312,000 a year, even as he gets a salary of $240,000 elsewhere? These "double dippers" are not unique here:

When high-ranking University of Illinois administrator Craig Bazzani retired in 2002, the board of trustees praised him for his financial expertise, his efforts to modernize the university's operations and his knowledge of the state's political system.

There was no mention of police work.

Yet Bazzani, the university's longtime vice president for business and finance, is drawing a pension not as a regular university employee but under the more lucrative pension formula intended for university police officers and firefighters.

As a result, he was able to retire with full benefits at age 55 and has collected roughly $365,000 more in pension payouts over the last decade than he would have under the regular formula, according to a Tribune analysis based on his pension records. During that time, he's received about $2.7 million from the State Universities Retirement System of Illinois, or SURS.

>His pension payout this year will be about $312,000 — more than he ever made working for the university system, because of compounding cost-of-living increases. That makes him one of the highest-paid annuity recipients in the state. The only university retirees with higher pensions are former physicians at the University of Illinois' medical center, and none retired as early as age 55.

Bazzani also is drawing a salary of roughly $240,000 a year from the University of Illinois Foundation, the university's private fundraising arm, which hired him two months after his 2002 retirement. As a senior adviser, he has helped secure millions in government and private funding for the university.

http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2012-06-22/news/ct-met-pension-bazzani-20120622_1_pension-payout-pension-formula-pension-fund


If you bothered to read the plan, you'd know that the smaller earners are not being hit--they still get a 3% COLA, which is larger than Social Security recipients get.


ON EDIT: FInally, it must be understood that the unions CHOSE to reject Social Security in favor of these state pension plans, many decades ago, when faced with the choice. Social Security was new then, and they thought they'd get a better deal with their pensions. But it's a choice THEY made, not one that the state foisted on them.

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Response to frazzled (Reply #27)

Wed Dec 4, 2013, 02:04 PM

29. If someone worked under a contract that had

a pension plan and did the required amount of time, they deserve the retirement benefits even if they get another job.
You have to work 30 some years to get a retirement that is about equal to your salary.
If you started at 20 yrs old you could retire in your 50's and still be young enough to get another job.
That is not double dipping that is playing by the rules and is good life planning.
Your playing that old wedge issue politics again. You don't have it so nobody should.
Your just sorry you didn't have the smarts to plan your life that well.
Don't take someone else's good fortune because your a shmuck.

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Response to upaloopa (Reply #29)

Wed Dec 4, 2013, 02:13 PM

30. They'll effing GET the pension

under the new plan. They just won't get the 3% COLA applied to monies over a certain capped amount of that pension. I don't know what that figure is, but I'm guessing it will be around the average pension ... somewhere around $40K per year. And that is what we call PROGRESSIVE.

And BTW, that average state pension is WAY higher than the average Social Security benefit.

For example, for Illinois teachers (outside of Chicago): The average TRS benefit in fiscal year 2012 was $48,216. The average Social Security benefit in 2012 was $14,880. (See http://trs.illinois.gov/press/reform/SS_why.htm )


And by the way, when you use the word schmuck, look in the mirror, not at me.

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Response to frazzled (Reply #30)

Wed Dec 4, 2013, 03:29 PM

35. When you want to take away what people worked

for under contract letting the State break the rules your a schmuck

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Response to upaloopa (Reply #35)

Wed Dec 4, 2013, 03:43 PM

38. That one will likely tell you the "taxpayers" are the employers rather

than the agencies.

The anger needs to be channeled at ALEC and all of the other criminal outfits who are coming after public pensions, and eventually Social Security in order to enrich themselves at all of our expense.

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Response to frazzled (Reply #30)

Wed Dec 4, 2013, 03:30 PM

36. Somehow I don't think that is the truth.

California teachers don't average that high. Their average is barely more than the average Social Security benefit. That's because most don't work thirty or more years into the system.

Very few teachers last that long to collect much in a pension. Those that do don't get fucking Social Security, and they are screwed out of the spouse's benefit, too.

That's IF you are in a state that doesn't pay into it.

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Response to upaloopa (Reply #29)

Wed Dec 4, 2013, 03:26 PM

34. I hope you are working like hell to keep your pension.

I get a piddling 300 a month in Nevada PERS, and I STILL am subject to an offset because I have "only" 24-25 years in "substantial employment" in Social Security. I will be lucky if I get a fucking 1k a month total when I am 62.

People like me are far more common than those "lucky ducks" who get 48k a year.

The pension "crisis" in different states is merely a smokescreen for the gangsters to take it all.

Look at what is happening with Detroit. That judge made his ruling UP. He broke the law.

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Response to frazzled (Reply #27)

Wed Dec 4, 2013, 03:37 PM

37. "Living" in the state isn't the same thing as actually getting the pension.

I am probably more qualified to comment than you are, and I have a pension that is from a state that doesn't pay into it.

The fact is the federal government CANNOT force state and local governments to participate; it has to be voluntary because FICA is a tax. The vast majority of the states opted into it. That also doesn't explain or justify the outright THEFT of Social Security benefits EARNED by people who go into non-SS-covered employment in midlife and have a chunk of it stolen. Many of us are forced into poverty because we have a meager state benefit--and contrary to your propaganda, most of us do have small pensions--because of WEP/GPO.

But don't worry, jealous one, Obama and company will make sure they gut Social Security with chained CPI or some other such scheme.

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Response to DavidDvorkin (Reply #7)

Wed Dec 4, 2013, 01:15 PM

23. That's because of the government pension offset

Widows and widowers are screwed out of Social Security survivors' benefits if their public pension is more than what they get in their share of their spouse's Social Security.

It's a national scandal. The WEP/GPO was put in originally to discourage high-paid military personnel from collecting large pensions from both public and private employers when they took similar jobs in the civil sector.

What really happened was public employees in 14 or 15 states got fucked over big time if they ever worked in Social Security-covered employment and went into public employment in midlife.

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Response to alp227 (Original post)

Tue Dec 3, 2013, 08:29 PM

11. Thankfully in NY we have a State Comptroller that is

elected independantly he controls the State Pensions Funds and investments and were in good shape recapturing the losses during the down turn. There has been some tightening of double dippers and other regulations.

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Response to alp227 (Original post)

Tue Dec 3, 2013, 09:43 PM

12. MAD AS HELL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

So let me get this straight; for years Illinois Lawmakers underfunded, mismanaged, and borrowed from the pension fund, but now the state's economic calamity is the State workers and TEACHER'S FAULT? This is wrong and what makes it evil is that so many Democrats went along with it.

A friend of mine stated that it will be worse if arch-conservative businessman Bruce Rauner is elected governor in 2014. I'm tired of that kind of thinking. It's like saying "I just slapped you around a little; he'll really beat you." This is a FUCKING BETRAYAL by cowardly Democrats and organized Labor and individuals should not give a DIME to anyone who voted for this theft!

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Response to chuckstevens (Reply #12)

Wed Dec 4, 2013, 03:07 PM

32. It's just too

 

crazy to believe but it is the truth.

How the hell do they get away with it, compliant media, stupid/ignorant populace?

In Illinois the 1%ers are one, it's called the legislature.

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Response to alp227 (Original post)

Tue Dec 3, 2013, 11:57 PM

13. A story from Chicago public radio and a small fact

The ghosts of Illinois pension past

http://www.wbez.org/news/ghosts-illinois-pensions-past-104467

But in Illinois, the state’s pension contributions are discretionary, so governors and lawmakers can basically contribute whatever they feel like. And lawmakers have been ignoring guys like Goldstein for decades.

“I have some reports from these pension commissions that complain about the underfunding back as early as 1945,” he said, before plucking a shopworn paperback report from the shelf of his downtown Chicago office.

There’s actually a whole stack of these reports from something called the Illinois State Employees Pension Laws Commission. And if you can stomach the wonky language, you’ll find that the commission didn’t just sound the alarm about pensions in 1945.

In 1949, the commission warned about “the tremendous, ever-increasing and disproportionate liabilities being imposed upon present and future generations of taxpayers.” Ten years later, it bemoaned the state’s “large unfunded accrued liabilities,” which came mostly from “the inadequacy of government contributions.”

And in 1973: “he pension obligation still remains almost wholly obscured or ignored by some public officials.”

Between 1985 and 2007, 70 percent of the growth in the state’s unfunded liabilities was due to poor government funding, according to a report from Illinois Senate Democrats.


Small fact: teachers and public workers don't get social security. This is their only retirement plan safety net.

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Response to Paulie (Reply #13)

Wed Dec 4, 2013, 12:47 PM

19. Teachers do not get SS, state workers do.

I worked for the state and I paid into SS and will get it eventually.

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Response to Paulie (Reply #13)

Wed Dec 4, 2013, 01:27 PM

25. If they ever paid into Social Security in other jobs, they get offsets.

If they are widowed and their spouse paid into the system, chances are they get NO survivor's benefits.

WEP/GPO is outright thievery, and these morons in Illinois want to screw over public employees for actions that have nothing to do with them. They don't even know public employees already HAVE a 401(k)-type plan called a 403(b), which is available to most or all public employees in all fifty states.

Both political parties are clearly on the take by the billionaire/Wall Street class, but why should I be surprised with the likes of Emmanuel, Obama, and Duncan in bed with those same interests.

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Response to alp227 (Original post)

Wed Dec 4, 2013, 10:57 AM

17. Be pro-active about it

or else allow a Scott Walker clone an opening to make it an issue in the next issue.

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Response to Jimbo S (Reply #17)

Wed Dec 4, 2013, 03:12 PM

33. Donner party!

 

1 Minute in, it gets good.



Sorry, I had to post it. The Teabaggers took over their party. You won't get it by going through the party itself. Mike Madigan controls most all Democratic money donations.

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