Hays: Downstate, GOP will fight Madigan plan on teacher pension funding

SPRINGFIELD — House Speaker Michael Madigan's plan to redirect more than a billion dollars to teacher pension costs rather than to local governments will be opposed by downstate and suburban lawmakers, predicted state Rep. Chad Hays, R-Catlin.

The Chicago Democrat's proposal could be heard Wednesday afternoon in the House Executive Committee. It already has drawn heat from local governments throughout the state, as well as the Illinois Municipal League.

"I don't see any downstate or suburban legislator supporting it," Hays said. "And I'd be extraordinarily astonished if there was one Republican vote for it."

According to estimates by the Illinois Department of Revenue, Madigan's plan would take more than $3.1 million in personal property replacement tax money from the Danville school district, $2.6 million from the Champaign school district, and $1 million from the Urbana school district.

The city of Champaign would lose an estimated $950,000, according to City Manager Steve Carter, that would have to come out of the city's operating fund that includes police, fire and public works expenses.

Champaign County would stand to lose about $900,000 out of a $31 million general funds budget, County Administrator Deb Busey said.

"That's huge. That's about 2.8 percent of the year's operating budget," she said. "It could well force us to make additional revenue cuts."

Other big losers would include: Parkland College, $1.9 million; city of Danville, $1.5 million; Vermilion County, $1.2 million; Danville Area Community College, $521,000; city of Urbana, $325,000; village of Rantoul, $102,000; city of Hoopeston, $170,000; Champaign Park District, $244,000; Urbana & Champaign Sanitary District, $250,000; Champaign-Urbana Mass Transit District, $192,000; and Champaign County Forest Preserve District, $153,000.

Madigan's plan, contained in an amendment he introduced last week, would take $1.4 billion from the personal property tax replacement fund that goes to local governments and direct it instead to the badly underfunded Teachers' Retirement System. The amendment is on HB 3637.

Steve Brown, a spokesman for Madigan, said the proposal "is another option" for local governments that opposed paying employee pension costs.

"Maybe this will bring more people into the discussion," he said.

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Sid Saltfork wrote on May 16, 2012 at 9:05 am

Now, the teachers pensions are being thrown into the state, counties, and municipalities financial woes.  Was the state's, counties, and municipalities past spending prudent?  Legislators must appease their constituents to get votes.  They must raise money in the form of "campaign donations" to fund their campaigns, and increase their wealth.  Is a new recreation center, or baseball field lights more important than funding teacher pensions?  The state says that it does not have the money for pensions.  The counties say that they do not have the money.  The municipalities say that they do not have the money.  The firefighters, and police pensions are next.  It comes down to priorities.  Pay for obligations, or continue on spending for wants versus needs.  Some call it "shared pain".  So far; the public employees are the ones sharing it.  Sears, the CME, Ameren, and other corporations are not sharing it.  They represent the "campaign donations".  If it is "shared pain"; stop putting up statues, forget about roundabouts, forget about new recreational buildings, play baseball in the daytime, quit spending on summer employment programs, and pull in spending on other wants.  Prioritize the needs; and meet the obligations made.

rsp wrote on May 16, 2012 at 9:05 am

I think the house and senate should show some leadership and take a pay cut in these times of hardship. Share the pain. They want to take away from the elderly, disabled, and from children but our "elected" officials are pretty flush.

Sid Saltfork wrote on May 16, 2012 at 9:05 am

Wait, and see if they do not vote on giving themselves their annual raise.  If it does not come up for a vote, they get the raise automatically.  It's the law, and they follow it. 

amf wrote on May 16, 2012 at 10:05 am

Come on, NG, could you try to write a balanced article please?  This story makes it clear that the local municipalities and school districts would take a hit under this plan.  And it makes it clear that would be Bad.  But it does not explain why the plan would be necessary?  Why is the teachers' pension underfunded?  What will happen if funds are not found to pay the teachers' pension?  If Madigan's plan is not implemented, what are the alternatives?

Clearly a cut to city budgets is a bad thing.  But is it a necessary thing?  I don't know the answer, but I wish I did.  This article doesn't even bother to try to explain the whole picture. 

Joe American wrote on May 16, 2012 at 11:05 am

It would be bad.  Who caused the problem and who is affected most by it is totally irrelevant to the proposed solution of placing the burden on the citizens of Illinois.  The most effective solution would be to vote out Madigan, but ironically those most hurt by the pension issue are his supporters, so that won't be happening any time soon.  It's merely a shell game being played by Madigan and his puppets to distract from their involvment.

bluegrass wrote on May 16, 2012 at 10:05 am

Quinn has already said he wants to shift the burden of paying the government share of pension costs for teachers to the local school boards, and your witnessing the beginning.  This is a roundabout way of sticking the governmental toe into the water through Madigan.  It brings to  mind a quote from Full Metal Jacket, "It's a huge ^&*# sandwich and we're all gonna have to take a bite." 

I would like to give a shout out to the makers of these sandwiches.  The party in charge of the state checkbook for 28 of the last 30 years, your democrat party.  (crowd goes wild)  I just want to thank them for this wonderful meal they have spent so many long hours preparing for us.  And I would also like to thank all the great AFMSME chapters out there, the NEA, the Illinois Federation of Teachers, the Illinois Education Association, the Chicago Teachers Union, and all the other labor, trade, and civil service union leaders who have spent millions upon millions of the union dues collected from membership, to ensure that Iron Chef Mike Madigan gets his opportunity to write worthless IOU's to your pension funds yet again.  Congratulations.  You've earned it.

Just so we're all clear, remember that 66% increase on our state income tax?  That is our appetizer, our cup of soup before the main dish is served.  The sandwich they've prepared is cooking up right now as you read this.  Hope you're hungry.

 

Citizen1 wrote on May 16, 2012 at 12:05 pm

Illinois supports schools with property taxes.  Many of the small schools have few if any business to support them.  The retired, fixed-income people in small towns can't afford higher property taxes.  They certainly didn't vote on these pensions.  Much of that farmland surrounding these small schools is owned by out of district or out of state individuals.  They can't vote on the pensions.  No wonder Quinn wants to force school districts to pay the burden.  They people who will end up paying it can't vote.  The whole thing is taxation without representation.  As I recall we fought a war over that idea.


The teachers unions are against school consolidation.  It would save money but cut the high paying school principal and superintentant jobs.  Can't have that. 


In many of the small towns in Illinois, the local school teacher is the highest paid person in town.   I doubt Quinn even knows that or cares.


School consolidation needs to happen.  Property tax / school funding reform needs to happen.  It won't as long as those who are suffering can't vote while the teachers unions deliver  elections results to the democrats.

Sid Saltfork wrote on May 16, 2012 at 7:05 pm

I am retired.  I live in a small town.  I pay property taxes.  I am not blaming the teachers for their pensions being under funded.  I am blaming the state legislature for not funding them as it was  required to do.  The underfunding of the pensions goes back before the unions.  Yes, the legislature is dumping this problem on the local school districts.  Yes, it will raise taxes.  Yes, school consolidation might be a good idea.  The local school teacher is not the highest paid person in town.  It is the school superintendent.  The teachers who taught your kids are not the culprits.  The culprits are the legislators who spent the teachers pension money on pork barrel projects that benefited themselves in "campaign donations"; and gave the citizens shiny new programs, and un-necessary wants.  It is a case of the legislature, business groups, and the right wing media blaming the teachers who had nothing to do with it in order to free up money for tax breaks to corporations, pork barrel projects, and votes.  I really doubt that you are "suffering"; and you definitely did not fight in the Revolutionary War.  After all, there is supposed to be "shared pain".  Share some with me.

GoingtoHeck wrote on May 17, 2012 at 10:05 pm

"In many of the small towns in Illinois, the local school teacher is the highest paid person in town."

Excuse me?  What small town might you be speaking of?  I've lived in small towns in downstate Illinois for all my life.  Teachers are among the LOWEST paid working citizens.

Please ... get your facts straight before launching an opinion.

ps:  the teachers' union in Illinois is one of the weakest in the nation.  Never a big fan of unions myself, I've always been amazed at the ineptness of the IEA in Illinois.

gollygeewillikers wrote on May 16, 2012 at 12:05 pm

Oh thank you thank you for this award.  I was really hoping for some rainbow stew to be served with my sandwich.... Is that possible?  Is anyone really suprised by this?  Just last night I heard the state of ILL has a website that you to can help decide which programs to cut.  Wow! They stopped kicking the can!  They tossed it into the crowd and ran away!


Posted on http://www2.illinois.gov/Pages/default.aspx


Is this


"Illinois has some serious financial problems. We’ve seen decades of fiscal mismanagement. It’s critical for our state that Illinois finds sound fiscal footing once and for all. Our biggest problems are pensions and Medicaid. This coming fiscal year, they will eat up 39 percent of the state budget, and drive our state even deeper into debt. That’s not good for our bond rating. That’s not good for Illinois. That’s not good for our communities, our schools or our businesses.


We need major reforms to fix Illinois’ broken systems. Delaying, deferring, or denying these challenges is not an option. This isn’t about politics – no matter where you stand, Illinois must address these two problems. Today."


This link should be read as well. http://www2.illinois.gov/gov/SOS/Pages/default.aspx


As I stated in a different article post.  This mess cannot come as a surprise to anyone. Really it just cannot be that surprising Illinois is broke and now everything is a crisis.  Have we all forgot the comment made not long ago? Emanuel: ‘You never want a serious crisis to go to waste’.  Well here is the crisis and now the government is trimming the "waste". 


Order up! mmmmmm... thank you sir may I have another....

Sid Saltfork wrote on May 16, 2012 at 7:05 pm

Well, steal the earned pensions; and eat your sandwich. 

gollygeewillikers wrote on May 17, 2012 at 2:05 pm

Sid, I am do hope you took my post as sarcasm.  I have stated in the past this whole mess cannot be a surprise to anyone that it failed.  I do hope you read more than the NG to stay informed.  If you simply look around everyone is getting their turn at the whipping post.  The only problem now is the whipping post has the state pensions tied to it.  


Bluegrass.  I have not seen the post you put up about Gov. Jim Egdar.  If you could provide a link I would appreciate it.


And Sid....since you seem to like to keep score.... Gov. Walker and Gov. Kerner, Jr. of Illinois both Democrats were convicted of crimes.  So that puts it 3 to 1.  Batter up...


 

Sid Saltfork wrote on May 17, 2012 at 7:05 pm

What does it take to make you understand?  I hold BOTH parties responsible.  Both parties have been the definition of corruption.  Your being played if you think one party is holier than the other.  The legislature thrives on one group against the other.  The whole time, they line their pockets with brib........      er, "campaign donations".  They are "part time employees" who receive maximum wages with benefits.  They enrich their private businesses; and at the same time, enrich themselves on their "part time jobs".  I worked during the Olgivey, Kenner, Walker, Thompson, Edgar, Ryan, Blago, and part Quinn administrations.  The only one I respected as a public employee was Richard Olgivey.  The rest were crooks.  Understand it now?  No, I doubt that you do......

bluegrass wrote on May 18, 2012 at 9:05 am

golly, the 89th general assembly back in 1995-96 represented the only 2 of the past 38 or so years where the democrats and Mike Madigan did not control the house.  During those 2 years the republican controlled house, along with Jim Edgar, passed legislation that would ramp up the state's portion of the pension system funding each year until it was a 100%.  If you look at the Civic Federation's report on the pension system from 2008, on page 7 you will find a graph showing pension funding levels from 1983 to 2007.  You will see that after the republican passed legislation was passed, funding levels rose from 51% in 1996 to almost 75% in the year 2000.  Enter Mike Madigan and a democrat controlled house who didn't really care for the legislation, and you will see the levels plunge back down to 49% in 2003. 

My post isn't so much about Jim Edgar, as it is about Mike Madigan.  Sid likes to disparage Jim Edgar, and blame the republicans AND democrats for this pension mess.  I'm not saying Jim Edgar s perfect, although he has an exemplary record as a politician and a person.  I'm not saying the republicans are perfect, because we all know they are not. I simply am trying to point out the truth of the matter, which is that if the dems would have followed the legislation passed under the only republican house leadership of the past 38 years, legislation enacted while Jim Edgar was governor, we wouldn't be having this conversation right now. 

 

http://civicfed.org/sites/default/files/civicfed_279.pdf

Sid Saltfork wrote on May 18, 2012 at 11:05 am

What?  Bluegrass; did you say that the republicans are not perfect?  The Civic Federation's report?  Well, it must be true.  I need to watch more FOX News to keep up to date.  Ever wonder how a young man from a humble background could own such a big house on a lake, and have race horses while earning a government salary?  Yeah, the "truth of the matter" can be found in the Chicago Civic Federation's reports.  Sure............  Keeping eating your sandwichs guys.

gollygeewillikers wrote on May 19, 2012 at 9:05 am

Bluegrass.  Thank you for the information.  Interesting report.

gollygeewillikers wrote on May 17, 2012 at 4:05 pm

Read this closely... This is posted on the illinois SOS site.


"Illinois has some serious financial problems. We’ve seen decades of fiscal mismanagement. It’s critical for our state that Illinois finds sound fiscal footing once and for all. Our biggest problems are pensions and Medicaid. This coming fiscal year, they will eat up 39 percent of the state budget, and drive our state even deeper into debt. That’s not good for our bond rating. That’s not good for Illinois. That’s not good for our communities, our schools or our businesses.


We need major reforms to fix Illinois’ broken systems. Delaying, deferring, or denying these challenges is not an option. This isn’t about politics – no matter where you stand, Illinois must address these two problems. Today."


Does anyone find this amuzing or is just me.  "Illinois has some serious financial problems. We've seen decades of fiscal mismanagement."  Wow talk about your propaganda running wild.  "We've seen.."  just who is writing this crap? And now "It's critical for our state of Illinois finds sound fiscal footing...." So the last several decades where just what a learning lesson in what not to do with fiscal management?


Sid I'm afraid the slope was well oiled and greased.


 


 

Sid Saltfork wrote on May 17, 2012 at 7:05 pm

Finish your sandwich.

Sid Saltfork wrote on May 16, 2012 at 7:05 pm

Bluegrass; American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees; AFSCME.  Money was given to Thompson (R) also.  It would be great if no money was given by unions, and big business.  Money from one negates the other to the benefit of the politicians who get money from both.  This junk about it being one party is absurd.  It is both parties.  Quinn, Blago, Ryan, Edgar, Thompson, Walker, and Kerner all financially benefited from being governor thru building leases, contracts with vendors, and other assorted deals.  AFSCME came into existence during Thompson's time.  The first union contract was based on worker support; and a payoff to Thompson.  I was there during that time.  Illinois is the land of the payoff whether it be unions, corporations, or vendors.    

bluegrass wrote on May 17, 2012 at 9:05 am

Sid, you mean well, but your eyes are closed the the reality of the situation.  I've written and provided proof about what Jim Edgar and the republican led IL house did to make sure that pensions were funded, and it has fallen on deaf ears and closed eyes.  Governors do not appropriate money by themselves.  The IL House in charge.  I'm sure it makes some feel better to talk about the relative pitance that AFSCME has donated to a few republicans.  That's called hedging your bets.  We all know the reality, which is that unions give well over 95% of their campaign money to the democrat party.  Mike Madigan and the democrats have been using your pension money to get re-elected, while collecting millions from the very people recieving the hose job.  No single politician has done more to put the State of Illinois in it's current, horrible financial shape than Mike Madigan, and no group has done more to keep him in power than the unions.  That is a stone cold, undeniable fact of life.

Sid Saltfork wrote on May 17, 2012 at 2:05 pm

bluegrass;  Based on your logic the unions are the culprits.  You fail to mention that the corporations: Ameren, Sears, Cat, and all of the other assorted corporations give "campaign donations" along with favored vendors to the legislators who create the laws, and give tax breaks.  You know my feelings about it.  I don't want any "campaign donations" going to the legislators.  That means no union money, no corporate money, and no vendor money going to the legislators to buy their votes.  The union started giving money to compete with big business.  I don't want any money going to buy legislators.  I think Madigan will burn in Hell if there is judgement after life.  Your local GOP rep took over $8,000.00 from Ameren to support their requested rate increase last year.  He said that the money did not influence his vote.  If it did not influence his vote, why did he take the money?  Both parties are corrupt.  They both have been corrupt for years.  "Pay to Play" did not start with Blago.  It has been around in Illinois politics since the beginning.  Term Limits maybe the answer; but it will never come to the voters for a vote.  The legislature created a law to give themselves raises if they do not bring it up for a vote.  That has been both parties over the years.  The media rarely mentions it.  Wait, and see what they do this year.  It will be the same as the past.  They do not fund their financial obligations because they want the money for pork barrel projects, and for buying votes with money to municipalities for all kinds of wants versus needs.  The state, counties, and municipalities spend money on wants versus needs.  You know that it is both parties; but your anti-union so you only blame the unions.  It is not the employees, teachers, firefighters, police, and other public employees that got the state into this mess. It was the legislators.  How much Medicaid money goes to non-citizens?  How much money is spent on wasteful equipment replacement?  Why after every election new copy machines, computers, etc. is bought from a vendor, or new vendor, when the existing equipment is working fine?  How much money is paid to landlords for building leases?  The reason is because "campaign donations" went to the governor, and legislators.  Jim Edgar, your hero, did it along with the rest.  Read up on the scandal during his administration.  You, and I are on different sides regarding unions; but we have a common cause in trying to stop the corruption by both parties in the State of Shame.     

bluegrass wrote on May 17, 2012 at 4:05 pm

Sid, computers, copy machines, senator's pay raises, leases, Medicaid, all those things have nothing to do with the plight of the unfunded liability in the state pension system.  It is not by my logic that government employee unions are the culprits, it is just simple logic. 

killerut wrote on May 17, 2012 at 5:05 pm

+1

Sid Saltfork wrote on May 17, 2012 at 7:05 pm

The money that was to have went to the employer portion of the employees pension systems was diverted for all of the reasons, and more.  You don't want to see that.  It is easier just to steal, and try to rationalize it.  It is easier for you to blame unions, and public employees.  Take the easy way out; but know that you helped in the theft.  When the pension problem is gone, there still will not be enough money to cover the increasing costs of the state.  I expect you will complain at that time against the old, young, and poor so you can clinch a nickel in your fist.  Your not misguided.  You know right from wrong.  You chose wrong because it benefits you today.  Good luck with tomarrow.

Bob620 wrote on May 19, 2012 at 2:05 pm

Yes I didn't capitalize my "i", but I do know how to spell tomorrow.

We Are You wrote on May 16, 2012 at 10:05 am

Madigan "threatening" to put the costs for the 4 decades of shorting the Teacher Retirement System payments by the state onto local governments is a grand manipulation.  The real purpose of this is to get local government officials to line up behind him and support the attacks against pensions for teachers, firefighters, police and more.

The problem here isn't extravagant pensions in the least.  The problem here is a revenue problem.  The state should at last institute a graduated tax so that all pay according to their ability to pay.

Sid Saltfork wrote on May 16, 2012 at 11:05 am

Thank you, We Are You.  It is not one party, or the other.  It is both.  Cross will agree with Madigan on this.  It is not unions.  The pension problems are a result of employer underfunding.  The underfunding goes back before the unions got involved.  In the future, there will be an outcry about not being able to find young people who will enter public service.  Don't be surprised by contracts being awarded to corporations for outsourcing public services.  More "campaign donations" will result from it.  Halliburton, and others will provide your teachers, firefighter, police, and other public employees.  Pakistani police, chinese firefighters, turkish teachers, and colombian state employees is the answer.  Nothing is free; not even public services.

Wake_Up_People wrote on May 16, 2012 at 4:05 pm

Ah yes ...Madigan ....the biggest crook in Illinois since Al Capone!

Sid Saltfork wrote on May 16, 2012 at 7:05 pm

Yes, your right.  He is not the only one over there.  There is a whole assembly full of them.  The sick thing is that we keep voting for them.  Both parties are corrupt.  The two past governors are in prison.  One was a Republican, and the other one was a Democrat.  Political corruption in Illinois is bipartisan. 

yates wrote on May 18, 2012 at 8:05 pm

Well if misery loves company we should all feel great about unleashing Illinois own Barack Obama on the other 49 states. ( or 56 as Obama thinks ) Now everybody gets a piece of Illinois politics, like it or not.

Sid Saltfork wrote on May 19, 2012 at 10:05 am

I did not vote for him.  I told myself that I would never vote for an Illinois politician to be president.  Now; it comes down to voting for him, or Willard the Rich.  What a choice between the two of them.  We always get stuck voting against one when we are not happy with the other.  All of the money spent on the campaign would go a long way toward some good things instead of attack commercials that divide the nation further.  It does sell newspapers, and television ads though.

gollygeewillikers wrote on May 19, 2012 at 9:05 am

Almost finsihed Sid...

Sid Saltfork wrote on May 19, 2012 at 10:05 am

Did you ever finish that sandwich?