Illinois Senate President Cullerton Wants Shot At Pension Reform? What A Laugher!

Illinois Senate President Cullerton Wants Shot At Pension Reform? What A Laugher!

Illinois Senate President wants a shot at pension reform? Really? What a laugher considering this comes as nothing more than another preemptive  pre-election strike to convince the duped voters of this state that he has somehow changed his colors and miraculously gotten a heart. Let's face it - John Cullerton is the epitome of the "stick it to the taxpayer politician" that has so mired Illinoisans with perpetual debt.

John Cullerton feels that the "three option" pension reform proposal House leaders Tom Cross (R-Oswego) and Michael Madigan (D-Chicago) introduced won't pass constitutional muster because reducing pension benefits are forbidden by the state constitution. Naturally, after watching the Illinois State Legislature make a mockery out of our state constitution for the last five decades it behooves to believe that some sort of amendment couldn't be added and still please all concerned.

Personally, I don't see anything wrong with the House Proposal which would offer current state employees one of the following three options: receive lower benefits, pay more now to keep current benefit levels or join a plan patterned after a 401(k) account. This sort of thing is done in the private sector all the time, so I don't understand why this couldn't be done in a manner consistent with contract law. After all, how does the private sector get away with changing the rules on the fly? And I can attest to that from my own working days as well as how retirement pensions effect our household today.

The way I see it, given the economic distress that the state treasury is in, I would think that state employees be flexible enough to preserve their jobs and benefits down the line. The reality seems simple enough - if there is no meaningful (and I do mean meaningful) reform then the state goes bankrupt and as such employees would stand to lose a hell of a lot more than what is being proposed now.

However, I will say this too. I still have a problem with the current proposal in that the House Leaders did not purposely separate the provisions that would immediately disqualify those who have gamed the system and currently have access to severely under-funded pension systems. And I don't give a shit what anyone says - the biggest problem within the pension systems is the fact that there has been far too much abuse by the politically powerful and politically connected and that has had a major impact on the payouts and ultimately deprive those who don't game the system. I mean, does anyone believe that it has been the average hard-working state employee who has been doing the double and triple-dipping of the pension systems? Come on - let's get real okay?

So then? Who is the real culprit in all this? Well, gee - it has been the Illinois legislature who has been at the forefront in opening up those juicy loopholes for political scumbags in the know to take advantage of. So Mr. Cullerton - Excuse Me! I really don't want to hear your bellyaching about what will pass constitutional muster when you have been a part of the legislative process that enabled it all along. And one more thing, I don't think Illinoisans need another election year charade by you and/or your lackey's. The time has come for you and your colleagues to get off their collective asses and do some reverse gerrymandering to get something done that will pass the constitutional muster that only the legislature has the power to do.

You know there is a reason why I find John Cullerton repulsive and it all centers on the fact that there doesn't seem to be a tax or a fee that he doesn't like. So,when he talks of reform. the people of Illinois better remember who exactly they are dealing. This is a man who, in my opinion, has a real hard time keeping his hands out of our pockets.

I don't know about the rest of you, but I sure am tired of Cullerton and his pals making excuses. And speaking of excuses -

Why do voters keep voting for these people?

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  • On the last point, I used to put on Tribune comment boards on editorials on this subject "how about telling us in the other 58 senate and 117 house districts how to vote against these two" [adding in Madigan]. Now I don't even bother. We know who Cullerton's neighbors are. One is even going to federal prison in mid-March.

    You note, and we discussed before, about how "constitutional reform" is code for "do nothing."

    I also mentioned how Cullerton in effect thinks that state employees are U.S. Supreme Court justices, in that they have a compensation clause, but the only thing protected in the private sector is that benefits that are earned and vested get some protection under ERISA.

    The real scum in the legislature are those legislators who tried to sneak through a repeal of the 2 scumbags law before it was even signed.

    Since increased contributions were forced onto CTA workers, I don't see how an increased contributions alternative would not be constitutional. Of course, we are dealing with courts partially appointed by Burke (although I haven't had much of a quarrel with the Illinois Supreme Court).

    The only real question is since we have gone through the first round of corporate extortion (especially Sears), what's the next thing to make the state even more economically unviable?

  • In reply to jack:

    Very well said Jack. In addition to the "only real question" is when these knucklehead voters will take their civic obligations seriously. The three monkey routine has gotten stale. Unless the people demand change - they won't get change. It is as simple as that. I just have to wonder who these people are that can afford to pay out 3 times as much as warranted while corporate welfare is tacked on to their burden?

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