The Klonsky Springfield update. Teachers need a Grover Norquist.
It looks like they are really putting the lame in lame duck session.
Nothing will happen. No marriage equality bill. No immigration bill. No gun bill. No Nekritz pension killer.
The State Senate adjourned yesterday without taking action on much of anything other than screwing some more state workers on a pension bill that would still need to be passed by the House.
The House will meet in a few days for a few days. But nothing is expected from them either.
A thousand of us jammed the Capitol yesterday. Mostly Illinois Federation of Teachers and Illinois Education Association.
It wasn’t massive. But I’ve lowered my expectations of the IEA and the IFT. They are not organizations that mobilize from the grass roots for mass action. They’re just not built to work that way. Maybe some day. But not now. So a thousand wasn’t bad.
My main complaint is that they ran out of doughnuts in the warm-up tent before I got one. Although in fairness, IEA Chief Counsel Mitch Roth offered me one of the last ones. I got distracted in conversation.
Cinda thinks mass mobilizations are too sixties. She said so. To me. In so many words.
So a thousand yesterday and maybe a thousand today is not bad. It was mainly done by local people who thought it was important to get mobilized, with some but minor help from Edwards Street.
Talking to somebody high up in the IEA, they think the main problem for the pension killers in getting consensus around a single bill is the need to shift the cost of the pension obligation from the state to the local property taxpayers.
Suburban and downstate legislators aren’t going for it, fearing a local backlash at the next election.
And with no cost shift it will be very hard to get a pension bill.
I find this interesting because the cost shift has been the weakest part of the union’s opposition. At one point the IEA even said on their web site that they were agnostic on the issue. That is until I pointed out that this was crazy and both Cinda and Charlie McBarron agreed, switching the IEA position the next day.
Can Madigan and Cullerton get enough votes for a cost shift in the new General Assembly? Are we far enough away from the next election that suburban and downstate Democrats will feel they have enough of a cushion and time to vote for it?
If passed, it will mean higher local property taxes. It will be a real burden on working class suburban and downstate districts who are over-taxed as it is in a state that so unfairly puts the burden of funding schools on local home owners.
Talking to a retired pension activist after the rally, she said to me, “We need a Grover Norquist.”
“What,” I aked?
“A Grover Norquist. That anti-tax guy who got all those Republicans to sign a no-tax pledge.”
It’s not that crazy an idea: Going to the community with petitions demanding a pledge from local legislators not to vote for any bill that adds to the property-tax burden of local homeowners while allowing corporate tax give-aways to those like the Chicago Mercantile Exchange.