Sunday, March 20, 2016

Rauner Tries Police Powers Argument for Pension Theft

Rauner Tries Police Powers For His Own Self-Created Crisis

You might remember the “affirmative defense” provided by Lisa Madigan in the attempt to take away the pensions earned by those of us who worked in the public sector in Illinois was determined not only as specious but totally objectionable by the Illinois Supreme Court in a unanimous refutation of the State’s Attorney’s argument.

If you do…

If you recall the May 8th, 2015 decision filed by the Illinois Supreme Court, you may find it preposterous that this same argument should be resurrected by Minority Leader Senator Christine Radagno to help flailing Governor Bruce Rauner avoid making payments to the pension systems after his own deliberate strangling of the budget in Illinois. 

Check out SB 2789 at the Illinois General Assembly Page.  It’s the Unbalanced Budget Response Act. 

The Unbalanced Budget Response Act uses the same phrasing and fallacious wording that we found in Lisa Madigan’s earlier hollow attempt to impair or diminish pensions earnings because “a crisis” existed in Illinois’ financial situation due to the burden (self-inflicted according to the ILSC) of the pension debt.

From SB2789: 

(a) "Emergency" means the existence of any situation that any agency finds reasonably constitutes a threat to the public interest, safety, or welfare.

In essence, the “police powers” argument engineered by Lisa Madigan several years ago has been resurrected by Rauner and his cohorts for a crisis even more self-created in a refusal to deliver a budget to the people of Illinois by the governor’s office as proscribed under the Illinois Constitution. 

Meanwhile, a communication from the office of Senator Kimberly Lightford (Assistant Majority Leader 4th District) warns all of us the next possible target of a Governor who has no sense of political leadership and negotiation for those many unfortunate  in need.

March 14, 2016
Dear Friends,

Last week, during a committee meeting at the Capitol, officials from Gov. Bruce Rauner’s office and Senate Republicans defended their plan to skip pension payments to make the governor’s budget appear balanced.
In order to bridge any gap in state spending, the legislation backed by Gov. Rauner and sponsored by Senate Republican Leader Christine Radogno would give the governor unprecedented power to raid local government accounts and skip pension payments –despite decades of evidence detailing the perils of doing so.
Senate Democrats do not support skipping any payments.
It’s been nearly 100 years since we’ve known about this problem, and it seems some people still haven’t learned from past mistakes. Avoiding paying our pension liabilities forces an unfair burden on workers and does nothing to get Illinois back on track. In times of crisis, leaders find solutions to problems. They don’t run from them.
As early as 1979, Moody’s and Standard and Poor’s warned Illinois that its AAA bond rating would be in jeopardy if it did not tackle its increasing unfunded pension liabilities.
The GOP push to skip pension payments comes even as the state’s pension debt tops $100 billion. Studies have shown that more than 40 percent of that debt is due to past lawmakers and governors skipping or shorting pension payments.
“This, to me, would be a big mistake,” Senate President John Cullerton said during committee debate on the Republican proposal.
Sen. Cullerton’s legal team found reports dating back to 1917 cautioning against the massive debt accumulating for future taxpayers because not enough was being invested in the pension funds. Just like skipping credit card payments, shirking responsibility and skipping pension payments now only makes the situation worse down the road.
Senate Democratic leadership has advised Rauner’s budget officials and Republican colleagues not to pursue skipping pension payments.
The legislation is SB 2789.


Assistant Majority Leader
 4th District – Illinois

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