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Spineless Illinois Politicians Propose to Shift Pension Burden to Schools
Townhall.com ^ | March 29, 2012 | Kyle Johnson

Posted on 03/29/2012 7:05:28 AM PDT by Kaslin

By and large, politicians are not willing to tackle the unsustainable costs they’ve created. Consider Illinois public employee pensions.

Public employee pensions have been a state expense. Therefore, a big chunk of legacy costs don’t need to be shown on school district books. But new legislation proposed by Senate Democrats seeks to change that. They want local school districts to bear that burden.

The problem? On third of Illinois school districts are already on “financial watch lists,” according to the New York Times. So the geniuses in Springfield are proposing to increase the weight because it is likely much easier to raise property taxes in local communities than it is to reform spending or raise state taxes in Springfield.

These are state politicians – many elected with financial assistance from the unions – punting to school boards. The state school boards association, of course, is resisting because it estimates an additional $800 million in costs for local school budgets with already-thin margins. Ben Schwarm, the association’s executive director, was quoted as saying:

“On the heels of an income tax increase last year and taxpayers’ looking at the fact that the state still has a huge budget deficit — and then they’re looking at a cut to education or a property tax increase — a lot of taxpayers are going to look at it and think it’s not the best idea.”

There are politicians on both sides of the aisle willing to seriously tackle these problems. But the obnoxious unions aren’t willing to give an inch, and overreact – intentionally – anytime Democrats propose even meager reform.

That’s why they’re traveling to Milwaukee, Wisconsin today to protest an appearance by Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, who so far has been bold on school reform. Unions will attack anyone – Republican or Democrat – that dares cross them.

Illinois’ problem is grave. Champion News reports the 100 highest-paid school employees will pull down $1 billion in pension payments when they retire. The debate is not whether or not these government employees deserve this type of compensation, but whether it’s affordable, and whether politicians have the intestinal fortitude to fix the mess they created.

Do they have the courage to look public employees in the eye and say, “We screwed up – we can’t afford what we promised,” and dramatically change the system? Or will they continue playing games, putting local schools and taxpayers in an even more dangerous position?


TOPICS: Culture/Society; Editorial; US: Illinois
KEYWORDS:

1 posted on 03/29/2012 7:05:32 AM PDT by Kaslin
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To: Kaslin

Awwwwwww.....

Don’t worry, Obama will bail them out with our tax dollars.


2 posted on 03/29/2012 7:10:02 AM PDT by EQAndyBuzz (Solyent Pink is Sheeple!!!!)
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To: Kaslin
...the 100 highest-paid school employees will pull down $1 billion in pension payments when they retire.

It's for the children.

3 posted on 03/29/2012 7:16:46 AM PDT by stars & stripes forever (Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord!)
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To: Kaslin

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704835504576060193029215716.html


4 posted on 03/29/2012 7:23:32 AM PDT by A. Morgan (Ayn Rand: "You can avoid reality, but you cannot avoid the consequences of avoiding reality.")
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To: Kaslin

I actually agree with this - let the school districts handle the pension funds - but a BIG proviso would be that the state cannot mandate ANYTHING to the local districts regarding pensions.

Let the local people learn what they’re paying for the cadillac pension plans and decide if they want to keep it up.

The state has to butt out entirely.


5 posted on 03/29/2012 7:35:01 AM PDT by randita
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To: Impy

of interest-where do you think this will go?


6 posted on 03/29/2012 7:36:28 AM PDT by randita
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To: Kaslin

As an Illinois resident, I would like to see this enacted. Once people learn about the impact on their own wallet of these oppressive pension arrangements, I think we can expect to see more resistance to the wealth transfer from private citizens to government employees.


7 posted on 03/29/2012 7:47:13 AM PDT by Piranha (If you seek perfection you will end up with Democrats.)
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To: randita
Where do you think this will go?

The administration will be cut from the locals. Or, they will cut the sports program and the tax referendum will go through.

8 posted on 03/29/2012 7:49:29 AM PDT by stars & stripes forever (Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord!)
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To: randita

You’ve got that absolutely right. Let it be handled at the local level. Force unions to fight a thousand brushfires instead of just one biggie. Its always easier to spend money when you kick things upstairs. If the buck stops on your block the spenders have a much harder time.


9 posted on 03/29/2012 8:02:45 AM PDT by TheEditor
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To: Piranha

Check Article 13, Section 5 of the Illinois State Constitution. Be prepared to weep.


10 posted on 03/29/2012 8:14:12 AM PDT by Lurker (The avalanche has begun. The pebbles no longer have a vote.)
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To: Kaslin
The debate is not whether or not these government employees deserve this type of compensation, but whether it’s affordable, and whether politicians have the intestinal fortitude to fix the mess they created.

Given the academic performance of their students, there should be no debate. These people should be jailed, flogged, and pilloried for public scorn.

11 posted on 03/29/2012 8:17:24 AM PDT by Carry_Okie (The RNC would prefer Obama to a conservative nominee.)
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To: TheEditor

Adding an additional balance sheet liability to local districts will have a big impact on school bond holders. Suddenly the school districts will be severely in the red.
I do like the idea of more local control to control costs, but remember that most school boards are now controlled by teacher’s unions and former teachers. Without more voter interest in who gets on the boards..the game will continue.


12 posted on 03/29/2012 8:17:55 AM PDT by Oldexpat
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To: Oldexpat

We are originally from IL and have friends and family still there. The property taxes are already extremely high in many districts and the tax basis is shrinking..property values down and populations down. All and all IL is headed toward disaster. Chicago is a big part of the problem..and Rahm knows it.


13 posted on 03/29/2012 8:21:03 AM PDT by Oldexpat
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To: randita
Let the local people learn what they’re paying for the cadillac pension plans and decide if they want to keep it up.

You think a local school district has the financial clout to take on the CTA, the AFT, or the NEA?   Really???

There is no question that by the right of free association the teachers may unionize. The problem is one of relative scale. The unions should be subject to antitrust laws, even on a local level but not beyond the scope of the people with whom they are contracting.

14 posted on 03/29/2012 8:21:39 AM PDT by Carry_Okie (The RNC would prefer Obama to a conservative nominee.)
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To: Oldexpat

The unions will control the schools until the schools have to close, which, in some cases may be a God-send.

Everyone wants their so-called “rights”, but very few are willing to take care of their “responsibilities”.


15 posted on 03/29/2012 8:29:04 AM PDT by Pecos (O.K., joke's over. Time to bring back the Constitution.)
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To: randita
Wouldn't that be a double whammy to the taxpayers? I don't think the state will lower taxes (now that they have relieved themselves of their pension burdens), so now the taxpayers in the districts will still have to pay the state the same $$$ as before and now they have the added burden of picking up the pension costs in their districts.

The state will now have more money for discretionary spending.

Let's hope other states don't get the same ideas.

16 posted on 03/29/2012 8:45:41 AM PDT by mia
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To: Oldexpat

I live near Chicago, and I think that Illinois has high property tax rates because it’s the city that has the most governments. IL has 8,655 governments, including the state, county, township, city, school board, library board, and park district board governments.


17 posted on 03/29/2012 8:50:31 AM PDT by PhilCollins
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To: Lurker

My wife teaches in Illinois, and you are right. The one nice thing is she pays no SS tax. At least we don’t have to wave good bye to that.

Though we don’t expect her to get any pension.


18 posted on 03/29/2012 9:14:55 AM PDT by redgolum ("God is dead" -- Nietzsche. "Nietzsche is dead" -- God.)
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To: randita

The state has already incurred an obligation, they should not be allowed to off-load that obligation on to the local communities. The state can stop paying pensions for future employees, or adding to the pension accounts of current employees.

I think, as a matter of law, the government should never be allowed to pay employees with deferred compensation, like pensions. There’s too much temptation to buy votes with future taxpayers’ dollars.


19 posted on 03/29/2012 9:45:58 AM PDT by Lonesome in Massachussets ("Jihad" is Arabic for "Helter-Skelter", "bin Laden" is Arabic for "Manson".)
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To: Kaslin

I agree with this...

...only when the local school boards have total control of their curriculum, of their teaching methodology, of their hiring/firing practices, of their pay/salaries/benefit packages, and of their building construction/maintenance.

If the state is willing to do all that, then it’d makes sense to move it all down to the local level.

Chance of it happening... zilch. For statists love *CONTROL* above all else.  They just want others to clean up their messes.


20 posted on 03/29/2012 10:16:01 AM PDT by gogogodzilla (Live free or die!)
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To: Lurker

The state has been building the schools for decades through CDB. Money is control.


21 posted on 03/29/2012 11:22:38 AM PDT by steve8714 (The answer, surprisingly, is Carnahan.)
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To: Kaslin

Ef them all; those idiot voters keep voting for losers because most of them are-—Californian too, Jerry Brown, c’mon.


22 posted on 03/29/2012 12:42:35 PM PDT by Joshua Marcus
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To: randita; BillyBoy

Higher property taxes is my guess.


23 posted on 03/29/2012 3:46:10 PM PDT by Impy (Don't call me red.)
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To: Kaslin

Milwaukee has enough troubles of it’s own. They were already in trouble there before da mayor was even conceived!! Even in 1963 it was dangerous to be outside at night.

They don’t need a visit from the Mayor of Chicago!!!


24 posted on 03/29/2012 4:30:37 PM PDT by ridesthemiles
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