Illinois is a blue state.
We’re not talking about Walker’s Wisconsin or Kasich’s Ohio.
We talking Democrats. Chicago’s Mayor Emanuel. Governor Quinn. Party Chairman and Speaker Madigan. Senate President Cullerton.
Governor Pat Quinn’s pension proposal, which he claims he was “put on this earth” to create, will blow up the state’s public schools just as sure as I’m writing this.
And combined with Madigan’s proposal for a constitutional amendment to prevent improvements in pension benefits and the Cullerton plan to move the pension obligation to local districts, what we have is a looming disaster for public education in Illinois that is truly epic.
Just take Quinn’s proposal to extend the retirement age to 67.
Combined with Senate Bill 7, which ended tenure as we know it, this is a one-two punch that will get rid of senior teachers.
Cullerton’s pension obligation shift to local school districts? If that happens, no teacher in the state will ever see a pay raise.
Stagnant pay plus Quinn’s proposal for teachers to pay more of their share of the pension?
A reduction in cost of living adjustments AND an added tax on retirement benefits?
What foolish young teacher would go in to the profession?
Wisconsin has already seen a mass exodus of teachers as a result of the attacks by Governor Walker.
Frankly, the Illinois plans make Wisconsin’s Walker look like FDR.
Any solution to Illinois’ pension problems must meet three criteria.
- The solution must bring financial stability to the system. Illinois must pay its bills.
- The solution must be constitutional. Retiree benefits cannot be “diminished or impaired.”
- The solution must be fair to active and retired teachers.