-By Warner Todd Huston
The teachers unions in Illinois are mad. They are unhappy that their scheme of having their personal, employee contributions to their own pensions paid by the taxpayer has been exposed. Echoing the Tom Cruise flick A Few Good Men, these teachers can't handle the truth.
The Illinois Policy Institute issued a good report recently, titled "Playing Favorites," that exposed the fact that some two thirds of our school districts have allowed teachers unions to put into contracts provisions that makes the school district pay part of all of the employee contribution to the pension. This means the teachers pay little or nothing at all into their own pension plans -- even though they are supposed to be doing so.
So, taxpayers are not only paying these teacher's salaries, but also footing the entire bill for their pensions even though the teachers are supposed to be contributing to them as well.
Remember in April of 2010 when Illinois teachers used state time to board busses that took them to our capital to mount protests? They said that since they pay taxes, too, their voice should be heard. They complained that taxes were too low and should be raised on everyone.Well, apparently and rather suddenly they seem to be making the lie to that claim by saying their paychecks are taxes, taxes taken from the people and paid to them in the form of their salary and they shouldn't have to pay their fair share.
Naturally, as soon as its report came out, the long knives were unsheathed against the Illinois Policy Institute by the usual union thugs. Teachers unions across the state unleashed a campaign of distortion about what the Ill. Policy Inst. was proposing.
Says Ill. Policy chief John Tillman,
The big lesson for us is that advocates for the status quo will misrepresent our work to protect their financial interest. But nevertheless, we must be relentless in telling the truth. We’ve known this all along, of course, but the degree of disinformation, of press intimidation and cooperation between government, union officials and pundits and others is one of many reasons why reform is so hard. Just agreeing on the truth is a challenge for some.
The fact is that Illinois is being buried by its overly generous public employee pension plans. Something really has to be done before Illinois goes fully bankrupt. As it is the state is no longer paying its vendors and other debts. As the pension bomb continues its slow explosion, it will get worse.