With just a few days left in the regular General Assembly session,
today is the day we are expecting to see a pension bill emerge. there is now a bill with a number: SB1673.
You can watch the House Pension Committee live here thanks to Tim Furman.
Other news: Former IEA President Bob Haisman is on his way down to Springfield with the 33,000 plus signatures gathered on his on-line petition to the one-term Governor Quinn.
33,000 is the number of votes that Pat Quinn won election by last time. He will be challenged in the next Democratic primary and he will lose to anybody.
Hundreds of other teachers are driving to Springfield today and will be making clear to General Assembly members that there are 360,00o TRS members and their families, more than a million votes in Illinois.
Many will express the same sentiments as Park Ridge teacher, Mark Schalke:
Dear Senator Kotowski,
I am an Illinois teacher. I am also a career changer. Prior to beginning my teaching career about 10 years ago, I was in banking. As a banker, the vast majority of my colleagues there did not support you or your party. For the record, I have always supported the Democratic party, even when I had to “stay in the closet” on this matter with my Republican peers and clients at work. Now that I’m in education, I will say that the vast majority of my colleagues here DO support you and your party. I have no real words to convey how extremely disappointed I am with these recent pension reform proposals. I understand that Illinois faces serious budget concerns. I don’t understand why the Democrats are taking the lead from Republicans and cutting expenses without looking at real solutions to raise our state’s revenue. I can’t claim to know all that you see coming across your desk.. You can’t claim to know what my life will be like if these reforms come to pass. You should know that all of my years of paying into Social Security means nothing now because I can’t collect what is truly owed to me due to the fact that I will be collecting a pension. So, no Social Security (or a drastically reduced benefit). As a teacher, you should know that I don’t have a 401(k). Our pension is our retirement plan. I would like to hear you counsel me as to what I should do if I ever do get to retire? How will I live? What kind of quality of life will I have? Will you be in that same boat with me? Will you be expected to live at that same level of income in your retirement? I know Illinois is in a tough financial position, but I am asking you to please work with our other representatives to look at revenues and stop this attack on the middle class, because honestly, if you choose not to support me, I will be left with no choice but to stop supporting you. I may not actively support a Republican, but I will abstain from voting before I throw my support behind someone who doesn’t have the ability to represent my interests. I have to stop voting against myself.
There will be more of this today:
I had to share with you that when I just called Rep. Darlene Senger’s office, her aide who answeed the phone told me that she recognized my name and knew my position on the issue. She then became pretty rude, though, telling me that she “can’t get all her work done” with “all of these teachers calling.” She told me she was “frustrated with having t work on the weekend and with teachers calling all of the time.” Tell a teacher you are frustrated working on the weekend! Genius. Keep those calls coming!
By the way. Darlene Senger’s number is 630 219 3090