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Recent Comments

eaglebeaky - Illinois lawmakers to discuss money for Obama library - Quincy, IL News - QuincyJournal.com
Wall Street was solidly in the Romney/Ryan camp last time, pjohnf. (And assuming he's the nominee, they'll certainly be in Ryan's camp in 2016.) Why is it that you seem to think that they're Obama supporters?
eaglebeaky - Illinois lawmakers to discuss money for Obama library - Quincy, IL News - QuincyJournal.com
When did presidential libraries start taking this kind of funding? (I always thought they were privately funded... or at least I remember hearing that the Clinton and Bush #43 libraries were being done that way.)
eaglebeaky - Voter rights, crime victim rights amendments set for fall ballot so far - Quincy, IL News - QuincyJo
Off-topic, but just to clarify, I will say that the disabled individuals that I've worked with aren't the least bit interested in free phones or anything like that. (Many of them will never live independently in their own communities; any such "bribes" would be meaningless to them.) Of course there are opportunists who do try to take advantage of every social program under the sun, and…
AYHSMB - Illinois lawmakers to discuss money for Obama library - Quincy, IL News - QuincyJournal.com
Correct me if I'm wrong, but I believe Reagan, Bush 1, Clinton, and Bush 2, had libraries built with private funds. I can't believe Soros or Buffett (or the Clinton's ;P) aren't contributing to the bill for Obama. Rahm is even stumping for it, as he says it will be a big tourism money maker. Hey, I'm all for it, if it is. On a side note, I think this is the first presidential…
eaglebeaky - Voter rights, crime victim rights amendments set for fall ballot so far - Quincy, IL News - QuincyJo
I honestly couldn't care less about anybody's party affiliation. This ID issue actually has A LOT to do with poor people, the elderly, and people with disabilities -- regardless of their personal politics. (There are a lot of poor people in the south who are lifelong Republicans.) Arbitrarily-enacted voter ID laws ultimately won't disenfranchise you or me... but they do have a real…

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Illinois’ real pension crisis: Finding enough taxpayers to pay the bills

Illinois’ real pension crisis: Finding enough taxpayers to pay the bills

5 months, 3 weeks ago by Ben Yount, Illinois Watchdog

The top Democrat in the Illinois Senate says the state’s worst-in-the-nation pension debt is not a crisis. And he’s right.

Senate President John Cullerton points out that Illinois’ pension debt merely is slowly bankrupting the state.

Cullerton said the real crisis, in his mind, is making sure there is enough tax revenue to pay the states’ nearly $9 billion a year pension payment. But he is wrong.

Cullerton should be worried there are enough taxpayers to pay the bills.

Illinois have close to 1 million government workers — teachers, state employees, local cops and firefighters, and federal employees all due some sort of public pension.

But there only 4 million workers in both the public and private sectors combined, and the total public-sector pension debt is astronomical.

“The entire gross domestic product (GDP) of Illinois, the measure of all goods and services produced in the state, is only $644 billion,” Adam Andrzejewski, founder of the watchdog OpenTheBooks.com told Illinois Watchdog. “The teachers’ retirement plan is underfunded by estimates of $100-$200 billion. That’s up to one-third of everything produced by the entire economy in a year. It’s a crisis verging on bankruptcy.”

Andrzejewski said there is no way 75 percent of workers in Illinois can continue to guarantee 90 percent of the costs for “gold plated” public pensions for just 25 percent of workers.

“Those government employees have guaranteed salaries, generous sick time and vacation packages, most have 80-100 percent paid health insurance,” Andrzejewski said. “None of this is found amongst rank-and-file employees in the private sector.”

State Rep. Tom Morrison, R-Palatine, said Illinois needs to head off its real crisis and end defined-benefit public pensions. 

“The taxpayers that we are counting on to help subsidize retirements are getting more and more concerned about (paying) higher taxes,” Morrision said.

Morrison is one of a handful of lawmakers pushing for a 401(k)-style retirement plan.

“You preserve what (public employees) have earned up to this point,” Morrison said. “But going forward, you give them the ability to control their own retirement plans.”

Current pension reforms would only tweak the system for public employees. Illinois still will be facing billions of dollars in retirement costs while having to scale back services to the public.

Morrison said Illinois cannot afford to pay so much for pensions for so few.

“While (public employees) have a guarantee in the Constitution that says pension benefits cannot be diminished, there’s nothing in the Constitution that forces taxpayers to stay in Illinois,” Morrison said.


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