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No late night phone calls this time, Senator Kotowski.

July 23, 2012

Last May, Park Ridge Democratic Senator Dan Kotowski meets with District 64 teachers and promises to protect pensions.

I have previously shared the story of a late Friday night phone call from Senator Dan Kotowski who attacked me for publishing a post saying he had voted for last year’s pension cutting bill, HB512.

I had published no such story.

Teachers at one of our schools had found a list of senators who had voted for HB512 when it was a shell bill, an empty bill to be filled in later, which Kotowski had voted in favor of. The ethics of all that I will leave for others to debate for now.

When sixty Region 36 teachers went to Springfield on May 2 to lobby for our pensions, Kotowski came out to greet us, get a photo op and pledge his support.

It was a lie.

From yesterday’s Sun-Times.

It’s time for the House to vote on HB1447, the pension reform bill passed by the Senate that reduces benefits to politicians; prevents future pension abuse, and protects the investment of retired state employees. Action on this bill will save taxpayers an estimated $31 billion over the coming decades.

For too long, legislators from both sides of the aisle avoided making tough decisions regarding Illinois’ pension obligations and allowed the state’s pension liability to balloon to unsustainable levels.

The interest payment on this massive pension liability drains billions of dollars from the state’s budget, which takes resources from vital programs. The pension liability puts the state’s credit rating at risk, lowering the state’s bond rating and hamstringing our ability to attract outside investment.

In Illinois, our chickens have come home to roost. Springfield can no longer postpone the tough decision that it has been avoiding for years. The time for pension funding reform is now. HB 1447, passed by the Senate, is another crucial step toward reducing Illinois’ pension obligation, but the House has not called the bill for a vote.

Speaker Madigan, we cannot afford to wait. The House needs to act now. Call the bill, Mr. Speaker. Call the bill.

State Sen. Dan Kotowski

HB1447 ia one of a number of bills that treats the issue of public employee pensions as a benefit issue rather than a funding issue. It cuts benefits to state employee pensions.

It passed the Senate in the last session, but not the House.

No late night phone calls this time, Senator Kotowski. Your letter. Your name at the bottom.

You bought it. You own it.

8 Comments leave one →
  1. July 23, 2012 11:50 am

    I told Mr. Kotowski last month when I spoke with him that this Nov. it will be an uphill battle to try and get reelected after what Mr. Madigan and Mr. Cullerton have cooked up for the veto session. Most of the Democrates should just leave Illinois and go hide in Wisconsin with Mr. Walker.

  2. Mike permalink
    July 23, 2012 1:56 pm

    Fred, Dan never lied to the teachers when he said he will support them in their pension efforts.Dan has and will support the teachers. HB 1447 does not affect teachers pensions, you know that. This is just hatchet journalism. Your readers deserve better

    • Fred Klonsky permalink*
      July 23, 2012 2:19 pm

      I’m not a journalist Mike. I’m also not an apologist for a politician who cuts public employee pension benefits in violation of the state constitution. Every teacher knows that if Senator Kotowski is not willing to take a stand against cutting benefits to one group of state workers, there is nothing to keep him from cutting ours. Where are his principles? The only hatchet is the one being swung at our promised pensions.

  3. Mike permalink
    July 23, 2012 2:54 pm

    Fred, that is a fair point about you not being a journalist. And I am not asking you to be an apologist. Still, you should represent the issue fairly. I just think it’s a bad argument to say that if Dan supports reforms on one pension system that he also supports the same reforms on other pensions systems. They are different systems with different problems and its not fair to Dan to attack him on something he has not even had a chance to vote on yet.

    HB 1447 cuts benefits (free health care) for state employees who are receiving benefits they did not pay to receive. Teachers, on the other hand, pay for their health care. The two systems are apples and oranges, Fred, and it is not fair to Dan to pretend otherwise.

    • Fred Klonsky permalink*
      July 23, 2012 3:04 pm

      Not so, Mike. The issue is whether the problem facing state public employee pensions are a funding problem or a benefit problem. If the Senator believed it was a funding problem then he would sponsor legislation and write op-eds about paying public employees, whether teachers or other state workers, what is owed us. But he clearly thinks it is a benefit problem. HB1447 cuts employee benefits. If benefits are the problem in his view, why wouldn’t teachers believe ours are in the crosshairs. We do.

  4. Mike permalink
    July 23, 2012 3:15 pm

    I think that is a gross oversimplification of the issue, but you are entitled to your opinion. I guess we will just have to agree to disagree. Time will tell who is right on the issue.

  5. Fred Klonsky permalink*
    July 23, 2012 6:21 pm

    Unfortunately, for seniors whose very quality of life depends on their COLA and health insurance, “time will tell” is small comfort. It is grossly simple.

    • bill@hotmail.com permalink
      July 24, 2012 6:33 am

      Mike,

      Dan also voted for SB 1313 which reneges on a contractual obligation made to state and university employees, INCLUDING UNIVERSITY TEACHERS, to provide reduced cost health insurance in exchange for taking early retirement. Those teachers and other employees are now at the mercy of CMS which can charge them anything they want. This odious law is now being challenged in court which will probably cost the state more than it will ever receive. I realize that Dan has conservative opposition in his district this November. However, carrying the President’s water and pandering to voters may very well cost him the support of the people who put him in office in the first place. He’ll never make leadership if he is not re-elected.

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