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The in box. “It’s Klonsky and the pension bloggers’ fault.”

May 19, 2013

 

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The flurry of E-mail, accusations and “misrepresentations” concerning SB 2404 and TRIP (retired teacher insurance) since Friday Night — 5-17 — has been amazing.

I was a supporter of SB2404 at Friday, May 17 at 5PM and I’m still a supporter of SB2404 on Sunday morning 5-19.  There have been a number of charges, accusations, and “misrepresentations” subtly begun by the IRTA leadership and fanned, spread and promoted by the “Pension Bloggers” most notably Fred Klonsky’s Blog.

In my book the most grievous and incorrect “misrepresentation” was this one from Fred Klonsky’s Blog …..”There is no mention of JohnCullerton’s last minute addition to SB2404 which requires retirees to pay 100% percent of their health insurance……” Klonsky was referencing an IEA statement concerning SB2404.  There was no reference to a increase in TRIP insurance because there was no such increase in SB2404. This is NOT TRUE.

These are important issues raised by the IRTA and subsequently trashed over by the ‘pension bloggers’. No One is denying that. If questions arise they need to be answered. The issue in my mind is how are these questions asked and answered. It is my opinion that Fred Klonsky’s accusatory approach of “when did it come about it and when did the IEA leadership sell us out?”  Contributes to emotionalism and fear and uncertainty but not to a rational discussion of the issues (in my opinion!).

All the emailing and posting — I didn’t count but it seemed like Fred must have had a dozen posts on these supposed, alleged “revelations” about SB2404.  They were caused by an amendment President Cullerton submitted shortly after the passage of SB2404 in the Senate clearing up some omissions in the bill. One part talked about retirees having to pay 100% of the cost of TRIP. That 100% language has always been part of the TRIP authorization language. We might not like it, It might make us uncomfortable but it was NOT NEW language — it was always been there (unsettling but true).

It was inadvertently left out of SB2404. President Cullerton was not trying to “sneak one past us” he was trying to mollify a few Senators who thought he had left that per-existing language out on purpose (maybe as part of an “IEA plot”!!LOL!).  His amendment was aimed at alleviating another fear on the part of some Senators that a certain “funding mix” was being attempted to be placed by into the constitutional pension guarantee. He also was trying to make it clear that SB2404 added access to health care as a contractual right but not as a constitutional right.

IEA felt that added access to health care as a contractual right was a victory but knew it had never been granted constitutional status. Perhaps if the ‘pension bloggers’ would have had more Springfield Capitol experience they would have known President Cullerton’s amendment was routine house keeping. The absence of a firestorm of controversy over the amendment filed days ago should have been a tip-off. The ‘pension bloggers’ might be excused for overreacting but the IRTA leadership?  This will be denied. But the IRTA should have known this was routine. They should have known who to ask.

All the commotion over the last few days was caused by the IRTA adding about nine words to their weekend summary of SB2404….” Access to state health insurance with the possibility of paying 100% of the premium.”  Those few new words were — fueled by a ambiguous statement by the President of IRTA  attempting to link The Civic Federation to this alleged “plot”. …..“It is safe to say that this amendment was revealed in committee, was discussed by Senate President John Cullerton, and was pushed by the Civic Committee of the Commercial Club of Chicago and Civic Federation” – President of the IRTA.

None of that was true ….there was no secret plot……there was no “smoking gun” …..

- Bob Haisman

8 Comments leave one →
  1. Jason permalink
    May 19, 2013 10:16 am

    Bob Haisman, still the King of Cliches.

  2. Roger Sanders permalink
    May 19, 2013 10:54 am

    Fred, you are exactly on target. Keep up with the questions. Neither SB1 nor SB2404 will solve our pension problems and both place the overwhelming burden of another band aid fix on retirees and active teachers. Until the legislature reforms its spend, spend, spend, borrow, borrow, borrow ways and convinces Illinois’ citizens that they can govern responsibly we will be unable to solve our state’s fiscal mess. Illinois does need more revenue on the short term, however, there is no reason at this moment to believe the legislature will act responsibly. Pensions do not need to be reformed. The legislature and executive branch need to be reformed.

  3. JOYCE SISKA permalink
    May 19, 2013 12:24 pm

    More BS…health insurance is a benefit which cannot be changed according to the constitution…if it is considered a benefit now and must be included in your W2 as income according to the ramifications of Obamacare, then why isn’t it considered the same in our pension? You can’t have it both ways…      This is Spring??? Joyce Siska Partners Real Estate 708/641-9191  

    ________________________________

    • Fred Klonsky permalink*
      May 19, 2013 12:35 pm

      There is some legal disagreements, Joyce, about whether health care is currently protected by the pension protection provision of the Illinois Constitution. However, that legal point is not the focus of the concerns about SB2404 that the members of the “Constitutional Bloggers Association” have been raising.

  4. May 19, 2013 12:28 pm

    As for Bob, the man doth protest too much. At least he’s dropped the caps and patriotic colors, though. That’s an improvement!

  5. Victor Patrick permalink
    May 19, 2013 1:02 pm

    If IEA knew all along that this amendment was coming down the pike, then why didn’t they get the word out to the masses with their spin before IRTA? Did they “inadvertently” forget to tell us much the same way that Cullerton inadvertently left out the amendment? Bobby has to stop “haising” people from his bully pulpit of “if you don’t believe as I do then there’s no way you can be right.”

  6. May 19, 2013 6:03 pm

    A summary of Bob Haisman’s commentary: “Rah-rah.”
    What else is new? Oh, yeah. I almost forgot.
    “It’s your fault.”
    Tsk, tsk, tsk.

  7. Joe Fougerousse permalink
    May 20, 2013 8:08 am

    Bob, your point, well-taken or not, does not excuse the IEA’s complicity in a plan to sacrifice constitutionally-protected teachers’ retirement benefits at the alter of the state. Let’s not quibble. The IEA has sold out its membership. The IRTA is the only union now representing the teachers.

    If any group should get burned for the states’ malfeasance, it should be the bond-holders (large banks) rather than thousands of teachers who worked all their lives paying into a retirement trust fund. If a homeowner loses his job and fails to meet his mortgage payments, a taxpayer-subsidized bank repossess his home. No one expects the bank to give up its legal rights. Why should the teachers give up theirs?

    If IEA’s leadership doesn’t know the difference between a homeowner losing his job and state authorities ransacking a trust fund, it should be replaced, starting with Cinda Klickna.

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