If Illinois Legislature Can Make Pension Laws Then They Can Repeal Them Too

If Illinois Legislature Can Make Pension Laws Then They Can Repeal Them Too

I am so damn tired of hearing this crap about the pension and it’s “meeting the state Constitution’s requirement that pensions are a contractual benefit that cannot be “diminished or impaired.”

Well here’s a little message to the Illinois Legislature and please pardon the French – B-U-L-L-S-H-I-T!

If you can make pension laws than you can damn well repeal it!

But it has become increasingly clear that all these politicians want to do is to protect their (and the slew of political insiders and cronies) multiple-dipped inflated pensions and continue sticking it to the Illinois Taxpayers. Well enough already because this mess was something that was created by the Illinois Legislature in the first place.

The years of padding personal pensions with “late career pay-raises and promotions” has been a bad enough pill to swallow, but, let’s not forget who willfully refused to fund the multiple pension systems in the first place – it was one elected Legislature after another without so much as a single thought that this would turn into the mother of all budget deficits.

Now that the shit has hit the fan Speaker of the House Michael Madigan and his lackey Senate President John Cullerton want to stiff the taxpayers again by having them shoulder a greater burden to support the school districts via higher property taxes and other areas where the state has collected monies that were supposed to be used for those specific funding accounts. As such, Michael Madigan and his Madigoons refuse to budge on finding a just solution until they can again figure out a way to screw the ever-loving living daylights out of each and every taxpayer to perpetuate more bad behavior.

Enough is enough already!

I suggest that those who are sick and tired of this political charade flood their lawmaker’s phone-banks and demand that they do the right thing. While you are at – tell them you are more than aware that this is just another con being perpetrated upon them and that it has been self-induced. Demand that they amend the pension provisions in the Illinois State Constitution.

However, if you don’t care about yourself (or your children and/or their children’s eventual burden) – then just do nothing.

But I’ll tell you something folks – all those years of blindly voting for that empty and politically corrupt ideology has now come full circle and I guarantee you that it will severely affect each and everyone of you unless you finally put your foot down and demand comprehensive pension reform.

The time to act has come!


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  • fb_avatar

    I would encourage Mr. Ciric to read Senate Parliamentarian's legal analysis of the Illinois Constitution's pension clause at:

    It is because of people like Mr. Ciric that it was necessary for the 1970 Constitution delegates to write pension protection into the Illinois Constitution.

  • In reply to Joe Melugins:

    Joe If I recall the people got duped in 1970. And let me say this, it isn't people like me - it has been the politicians and the political insiders who have gamed the system ever since. You seem to want to ignore the the actions of the Illinois Legislature who opened up windows of opportunity to people who shouldn't have even qualified for a state pension or the fact that it has been their actions that have kept the pension funding from legal levels. So don't blame me, saps like me have one Social Security retirement fund and it doesn't matter how many places or positions I have worked at.

    Until you can reconcile what the political corruption and gamesmanship has brought to the pensions - I can't go along with an intent that has given us nothing but unintended consequences or political gamesmanship. Do I feel bad for the average state worker? Hell yeah I do - but why did they keep voting in those who were back-stabbing them?

    So it isn't people like me. Perhaps it was people like you?

  • fb_avatar

    State constitutions are important and carry more weight than public laws that state legislatures attempt to pass.

    Arizona and New Hampshire have similar public pension protection clauses to that of Illinois, in their state constitutions. Their courts rejected those states new laws to force state employees to pay more towards their pension.

    Courts Block Efforts at Public Pension Change

    Arizona courts also blocked the AZ legislator’s attempt to reduce COLAs.

  • In reply to Joe Melugins:

    Joe I understand where you are going with your argument and believe me, I respect that view. I also can see by your email address as to why you are defending the position since it appears that you are affected by any proposed change. As I said earlier, I feel sorry for all those state workers who have diligently played by the rules and made their contributions. And bear in mind, I have written about this previously and defended those workers' rights. But here is the problem, the Illinois Legislature has gamed the system and opened-up avenues for nefarious people to take advantage of a pension fund that they have no right to lay claim to. So when we add those people to a fund that is already severely underfunded by the politicians, then who is to blame? Asking the taxpayers to essentially bail out the pension funds (after already picking up a substantial portion in the past and being asked for more under Madigan's proposal) again and again - is patently unfair.

    And let's not forget that it was a series of state laws, not the initial wording in the constitution, that created the mess we are in. How many times have politicians tried to cover their plundering or malfeasance by amending the construct of the pension provision?

    When I worked in the private sector, if the economic conditions changed - I was asked to contribute more to my benefit package so this is not an alien concept. It is what it is if one wants to preserve at least something of what they were promised. As such I don't think public pensions should operate under a different set of economic rules.

    Yes it sucks - big time! But I am serious when I say that the majority of people contributing to the public pension funds are also overwhelmingly Democratic voters. And they have repeatedly voted or re-elected the people who have stiffed them over and over again without demanding accountability.

    Now how do you reconcile that? What do you propose is a fair number for taxpayers to contribute (multiple times no less) to a fund they have no access to? Seems to me the real beef should be with the ideology you support in this state. They have ripped off not only the regular saps but their most loyal of bases, unions and state workers that have done nothing more than their jobs and in turn rewarded those who didn't.

    So really Joe (or whatever your real identity is), tell me exactly how to salvage a pension fund that is on the brink of default without subjecting taxpayers to a bailout? Desperate times sometimes require desperate measures and if paying a little more towards your pension to keep it solvent is too much to ask then I fear the only outcome will be another Enron. And then you will have nothing.

    But I cannot, and will not support bailing out a pension scheme that has been manipulated. Taxpayers have already lost too much funding for vital services and education in an attempt to cover a ballooning pension deficit where the last round of increased taxes hasn't (a) put a dent into the imbalance nor (b) covered the interest.

  • Joe is correct to the extent that a pension is a contract protected by the impairment of contracts clause of the U.S. Constitution, and also the pension clause of the Illinois constitution. However, IT IS NOT what Cullerton continues to maintain.

    In the 1970s, private pensions were considered "gifts" under Illinois law, until the feds changed that by enacting ERISA. That's the background for the pension clause.

    In normal contract law, there is only a contract right to vested benefits. For instance, my former employer just paid me off. But there is no guarantee that future benefits can't be changed, which seems to be the position that the union lackeys, cheats who substitute taught for one day, and Cullerton maintain. So, no, Joe, I don't give a s--t what the Senate Parliamentarian says, especially since the Illinois General Assembly has never before shied away from passing unconstitutional laws. At a minimum, let the Illinois Supreme Court rule. For instance, the Illinois Supreme Court didn't back the unions' contention that they could stop Quinn from closing prisons, even though some arbitrator said so.

    And, as the CTA pension legislation proved, there is nothing unconstitutional about requiring increased contributions to fund that pension plan.

  • In reply to jack:

    Jack, as always, thanks for your legal knowledge. I was hoping you would weigh in although I thought I had it right per my own experiences in the private sector (ERISA). I do, however, understand why Joe is adamant in his views because according to his email address it looks as if he is on staff at WIU (with a different name no less). Educators, as a segment of the state pension, have had it pretty damn good so to diminish or tamper with it would strike a nerve.

    But Joe (or whatever his real name is) doesn't want to acknowledge what the damage has been to date, including that of his profession. Education has been a clear victim throughout this pension mess and allowing hucksters to piggyback the system for working a single day, even though they weren't even educators, should piss people like Joe off. Evidently it isn't a concern so long as his benefits aren't diminished.

    Despite his assertion it is people like me who created the mess - I still have to believe it is actually people like him.

  • In reply to Michael Ciric:

    Reinforcing my conclusion that the same old line on the comment boards is an orchestrated effort by the public employee unions. They buy and repeat what they are told.

    I think I said the same on District 299. Now that you disclosed that you have Joe's e-mail address, I'm sure the next bunch will post as "district299reader". a practice I decried there today.

  • In reply to jack:

    I tend to agree with you on that. Now even though I know Joe's email via the "whois" encryption on email notifications I won't reveal his real name. I would rather have people post their comments although I have a belief that one is far more credible if they are unafraid to reveal their true identity. But hey I understand it too.

    As for this charged issued, though, I felt it necessary to point out that discrepancy since it was apparent to me that there was a vested interest in the comments made and because his comment was flagged for approval because the system got confused due to a user name / email address glitch. Somehow it didn't pass whatever muster the system uses to verify spam.

    BTW - when I started this blog I was tempted to use an alias but Jimmy Greenfield at Chicago Now felt that that would only diminish what I would have to say. I am glad I did too because it gave me opportunities to appear on WGN AM and connect with my readers while showing them that I wasn't afraid to have an opinion and call out someone I thought wasn't doing what we elected them to do.

  • In reply to Michael Ciric:

    I've noted before, in response to the thug,that there is a constitutional right to post anonymously, but cyberstalking is also a crime. I'm sure IP numbers can be traced.

    In any event, my point on district299 was that this system at least confirms that the registrant has a valid email address the moderator may use to verify the message and converse offblog.

    And, of course, regardless of Joe's real name, he was parroting an argument without disclosing a self interest not necessarily in sync with the taxpayers, as well as purporting to have legal knowledge. Hence, I don't care about his name, but I do care about how the public employees' message is propagated.

  • In reply to jack:

    True, our system tracks the IP Address (again I believe that is purely to determine if the comment / commenter is engaging in spam or spoofing. But I agree, some of these people are true trolls and I certainly don't like the non-disclosure of self-interest. And that is why I put it into my thread. People have right to know if a commenter has a vested interested or not.

    But again, I won't censor a comment unless it is "real spam" that hits us from time to time; i.e. cheap knockoff Nike's, etc..

    As for Joe (?) I would have preferred that he made his case as someone who is potentially affected by diminished benefits - that way people could draw their own conclusions on the cause and effects. Just bloviating and hurling "people like" isn't going to garner much sympathy.

    As usual, thanks for your comments Jack. I can always count on you to keep this blog honest (even when I may be wrong).

  • BTW, I don't see why Quinn is in such a knot about getting it done in the lame duck session. There will be veto proof majorities in one day--let the Dems deal with their own mess.

    It isn't like they are going to push through a tax hike like they did 2 years ago, although, based on most comment boards, the public employees' answer seems to be to push another one through, including one violating the flat tax provision of the Illinois constitution. So, Joe--the public employees work for the taxpayers, not vice versa. Maybe they should learn that, or they'll leave the state so bankrupt that constitution or no, the system is going to be broke.

    Also, BTW, there is no point calling my rep's phone bank, since she is the sponsor of Madigan's bill.

  • In reply to jack:

    Last Point first: more the reason to light up her phone bank because she is deluded and should be called out on it.

    As for the lame duck session - unless it involves sticking it to the taxpayers don't hold your breathe for any common sense solutions to emerge from that house of ill repute.

  • In reply to Michael Ciric:

    1. She ain't gonna listen.

    2. There wasn't any solution, and I thought that the lame duck session not passing anything (except for "undocumented alien drivers") meant that the state was safe for at least 24 hours (again compared to last time).

    The real joke was reported (shortly after I posted) that Quinn had a proposal to turn it over to a commission, whose recommendation would be binding unless the legislature overturned it. That got Roe Conn's immediate reaction "that has to be unconstitutional" and "I want to use a term for Quinn; maybe I can say pussy cat on the radio." Barbara Flynn Currie killed it, about for the same reasons, saying that the most it could get was 20 votes in the House.

    Anyway, getting it done today is no longer one of Quinn's priorities, although I couldn't figure out the hysteria on the news.

  • In reply to jack:

    Well yeah, given everything is a mute point now anyhow. As for Quinn's proposal, well that wasn't going to happen regardless of its' constitutionality. Jacobson's Perspective hit it on the nail tonight regarding the inability to solve the pension crisis - it is the voters fault for electing these creeps in the first place. Hmmm...must be reading my blog again as that has been my recurring theme.

  • In reply to Michael Ciric:

    Yeah, but maybe channeling Mitt Romney, how many of them in this state have a direct financial interest as recipients?

    And, of course,Illinois has the same kind of democracy as Venezuela, and, as I mentioned earlier, Putin's Russia. Probably a little less than Egypt. These politicians have gerrymandered themselves into jobs for life, but now are unwilling to do the job.

  • In reply to jack:

    Absolutely correct my friend. The way these people bandy about the term democracy is enough to make one sick. Then again they aren't even smart enough to realize that the correct term is Democratic Republic. Of course if they acknowledge that then they would also have to admit that they have been complicit in turning our nation into the oligarchy it has become.

  • In reply to Michael Ciric:

    Are you making the distinction between Greek direct democracy and a republican form of government, or just forgot the Peoples' in Peoples' Democratic Republic?

  • In reply to jack:

    Lord knows no inference to the communist state use of People's Republic. I guess I should have been clearer.

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