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Glen Brown. Choosing Dillard is a sad state of affairs.

February 14, 2014

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- Glen Brown

“…According to [IEA President Cinda] Klickna, who spent more than 30 years as a high school English teacher, ‘Senator Dillard has consistently shown that he values the expertise and opinions of Illinois’ public education employees. Senator Dillard supports our fight for adequate funding for public education, and he stood up to tremendous pressure and voted against the unfair and unconstitutional pension bill, Senate Bill 1. Illinois needs a fighter who believes in public schools and that is why IEA is proud to recommend Senator Kirk Dillard for the Republican nomination for governor…”

Most people believe the citizens of Illinois are victims of a partisan polarization and well-financed organizational interest group politics and policies, where both the Republican and Democratic parties are one and the same “Money Party,” corrupted by briberies (campaign funding) made legal. There is an ugly liaison between politics and partnerships that supply the money. These facts have always been clear and available. Most people know that most politicians are unscrupulous and choose to ignore the legal and moral solutions for the state’s budget problems.

It is a sad “State” of affairs when the Illinois Education Association can endorse an opportunistic politician. It is a sad “State” of affairs because the IEA did not promote and support a potential candidate for governor perhaps like Ralph Martire.

Dillard and 15 other politicians voted “Yes” on SB 1 on May 30, 2013: Y Althoff, Y Radogno, Y Rezin, Y Biss, Y Harmon, Y Brady, Y Steans, Y Connelly Y Syverson, Y Murphy, Y Dillard, Y LaHood, Y Cullerton J., Y Landek, Y Oberweis, Y Stadelman.

We know why Dillard voted “No” on SB 1 this time.

Dillard supported SB 35, HB 1154, HB 1165, and HB 1166 in the spring of 2013—bills that would have capped the public employees’ pensionable salary (HB 1154), reduced and froze the public employees’ Cost-of-Living Adjustment (HB 1165), and raised the public employees’ retirement age (HB 1166). “Cutting benefits by raising the retirement age or reducing cost-of-living increases is no solution… That should be obvious, but there are plenty of snake-oil-selling politicians who want to do just that. There is only one way to avoid benefit cuts, and that is by raising more revenue” (Economic Policy Institute, April 2012).

Well, Dillard currently supports SR 0383: A resolution that “Provides that the Illinois Constitution should NOT be amended to allow for graduated or progressive income taxation.” In Illinois, the rich and the poor are taxed at the same flat rate, despite creating a vast inequity. The concentration of wealth through unregulated corporate profit-taking for the wealthy few and the shifting of debts being proposed as part of pension reform are at the expense of middle-class public employees and other citizens. Pension reform is an attempt to bargain away the public employees’ rights to earn a decent income, their defined-benefit pension, and their dignity and self-respect.

Moreover, Dillard supports SB 1224: A bill that “Amends the Illinois Municipal Retirement Fund (IMRF), Cook County, State Employees, State Universities, Downstate Teachers, and Chicago Teachers Articles of the Illinois Pension Code. For participants who first become participants on or after the effective date of the amendatory Act, prohibits (i) payments for unused sick or vacation time from being used to calculate pensionable earnings and salary and (ii) unused sick or vacation time from being used to establish service credit.”

Eric M. Madiar, Chief Legal Counsel to Illinois Senate President John J. Cullerton and Parliamentarian of the Illinois Senate, said it best: “Pension benefits are under siege for two reasons: opportunity and political motives… [Legislators] frame [the] larger discussion of whether the law provides states with a means to achieve a particular objective: the unilateral reduction of public pension benefits to avoid painful tax increases, service cuts, or both… For decades, states have treated pension systems as a credit card to pay for government services and avoid tax increases or service cuts…” (Public Pension Benefits under Siege: Does State Law Facilitate or Block Recent Efforts to Cut the Pension Benefits of Public Servants?).

And Dillard and these politicians have “treated pension systems as a credit card to pay for government services and avoid tax increases or service cuts” for decades.

Michael Madigan (since 1971), John Cullerton (since 1979), Barbara Flynn Currie (since 1979), David Harris (since 1983-93 and since 2011), Mary Flowers (since 1985), David Leitch (since 1986), Lou Lang (since 1987), Monique Davis (since 1987), Donne Trotter (since 1988), Dan Burke (since 1991), Jay Hoffman (since 1991), Frank Mautino (since 1991), KIRK DILLARD (since 1993), Tom Cross (since 1993), Donald Moffitt (since 1993), Dave Syverson (since 1993), James Clayborne (since 1995), Sara Feigenholtz (since 1995), Mike Bost (since 1995), Raymond Poe (since 1995), Jim Durkin (since 1995-03 and since 2006), Michael McAuliffe (since 1996), Kimberly Lightford (since 1996), Terry Link (since 1997), Christine Radogno (since 1997), Bill Mitchell (since 1997), Edward Acevedo (since 1997), Patricia Bellock (since 1997), Renee Kosel (since 1997), Dale Righter (since 1998), Ira Silverstein (since 1999), William Delgado (since 1999), Antonio Munoz (since 1999), Jack Franks (since 1999), Tim Schmitz (since 1999) and Keith Sommer (since 1999).

from Under whose watch did the Illinois pension debt grow before the year 2000?

It is a sad state of affairs when the Illinois Education Association can endorse any of the current opportunistic candidates for governor. It is going to be a sadder day when IEA endorses Patrick Quinn.


Posted By Glen Brown to teacher/poet/musician glen brown at 2/14/2014 06:26:00 PM

One Comment leave one →
  1. Elma permalink
    February 14, 2014 10:32 pm

    It’s even sadder for the people of IL when the candidates we have to choose from on the ballot are not necessarily “the lesser of two evils” but evil incarnate!

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