Glen Brown hits a quarter of a million site visits with a great how-to-talk-to-your-legislator post.

Springfield cropped

My Illinois blogging buddy Glen Brown has been posting since 2011.

Today he hit a quarter of a million site visits with this great post.

Meet and talk to your legislators

Focus on the solutions for the problems legislators have created and perpetuated in Illinois: the state’s structural revenue deficit and pension debt. (Focusing on the legislators’ proposed “pension reform” keeps their message of challenging constitutionally-guaranteed benefits and on cutting teachers’ earned pension benefits in the forefront and reinforces their skewed conversation).

Change your legislators’ discussion from the “pension reform” focus to their need to “reform” the existing pension ramp, to eliminate tax loopholes for “Tax Increment Financing Districts” and for large corporations, to tax services and to broaden the tax base, to establish a graduated income tax (by 2015), to increase taxation on the wealthy, and to make the required payments to the pension systems instead of shifting the normal costs to school districts and colleges, to name a few solutions. In other words, legislators need to honor their contract with public employees and pay the state’s debts. Emphasize that “pension reform” will violate both the State and U.S. Constitutions that all legislators have sworn to uphold; moreover, “pension reform” will hurt the working middle class and not only negatively impact the state’s economy but increase unemployment. Tell your legislators your solutions are legal and moral and will help solve the pension debt and revenue debt problems that they have created.
    • Do not give your legislators’ insistence for “pension reform” any response; instead, turn your legislators’ attempt to discuss “pension reform” to ethical and legal solutions that will address the causes of the budget crisis and will not penalize public employees.

    • If your legislators bring up the Civic Committee’s “Illinois is Broke and its flawed argument, for instance, say, “Yes, Illinois is “morally and ethically broke” and, with your proposed pension reform, the state will be “legally broke” too.

    • If your legislators say, “Something must be done…” – Tell your legislators that every proposed bill, thus far, is seriously flawed and will have dire consequences; that pension reform will not resolve the state’s revenue and pension debt problems.

    • If your legislators say, “But we have to reform pensions to fix the state budget,” shift the conversation to the causes of the state budget’s structural deficit and pension debt. Emphasize the decades of fiscal mismanagement, irresponsibility and incompetence that caused Illinois’ continuing structural budget problem that led to the current budget “crisis.” Emphasize that legislators who continue to ignore the factual problems by advocating the passage of “pension reform” will hurt middle-class workers who didn’t create the problem and the people they serve; tell them how “pension reform” will make things worse for the Illinois economy; how legislators in Springfield who give tax breaks to corporations earning millions of dollars in profits will inevitably lead to cutting public services and laying off workers to pay for them.

Read the entire post here.

3 Replies to “Glen Brown hits a quarter of a million site visits with a great how-to-talk-to-your-legislator post.”

  1. Hey Fred,

    I spent my next to last spring break morning meeting with State Rep Marty Moylan at the Sugar Bowl Restaurant. Marty hosted a “Coffee and Conversation” gathering for his constituents. There were only four people present while I was there, and I had the opportunity to bend Marty’s ear about the budget crisis for a good fifteen minutes. Thank you for posting Glen Brown’s suggestions for how to talk to our legislators. Thank you, Glen, for your comprehensive suggestions. I took Marty by surprise and lobbed as many of the talking points that Glen suggested as I could. Moylan even stated “She’s good!” when I finished speaking. In rebuttal, he brought up current and past administrators who took advantage of the system and are/were collecting large pensions, and that the rank and file did nothing to stop the abuse. I countered by stating that for every administrator getting a “large” pension, there were dozens of retirees who were receiving very little, especially if they taught downstate where salaries are significantly less than in the Chicago area. Moylan stated that the COLA has to be revised because no other union, including his, the electricians union, guarantee a three percent increase.

    Another constituent piped up with the question,”Why don’t you pay for your own pension?” I told her that I have been making nine percent contributions every two weeks since I began teaching in the public school system. She thought teachers should be paying more, but I made it clear that that the state has to hold up its end of the bargain and that while she would collect Social Security, I would not be able to do so. I guess I was more strident than I realized, because she put her hands over her ears as I explained the facts to her. When I left, I thanked her for giving me the opportunity to educate and clear up the misconceptions she had about the pension obligation. She put her hands over her ears again!

    Anyway, I enjoyed myself tremendously! I highly recommend that teachers arm themselves with Glen’s talking points and make an appointment to speak with their legislators. I left feeling very empowered and proud that I had stood up for myself and my colleagues.

    Enjoy the rest of your trip to Florida!

    Lill

  2. Thanks for the tips, we all need to meet with our legislators. I am appalled at their attitudes and where they place blame. Interesting they take no responsibility for the past.

  3. Sen. Biss and Rep. Gabel are holding a town hall meeting in Evanston at the Evanston Civic Center on April 4th at 7:00. Thanks for the references to Glen Brown’s talking points and excellent research on the pension and educational funding issues.

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