The flurry of E-mail, accusations and “misrepresentations” concerning SB 2404 and TRIP (retired teacher insurance) since Friday Night — 5-17 — has been amazing.
I was a supporter of SB2404 at Friday, May 17 at 5PM and I’m still a supporter of SB2404 on Sunday morning 5-19. There have been a number of charges, accusations, and “misrepresentations” subtly begun by the IRTA leadership and fanned, spread and promoted by the “Pension Bloggers” most notably Fred Klonsky’s Blog.
In my book the most grievous and incorrect “misrepresentation” was this one from Fred Klonsky’s Blog …..”There is no mention of JohnCullerton’s last minute addition to SB2404 which requires retirees to pay 100% percent of their health insurance……” Klonsky was referencing an IEA statement concerning SB2404. There was no reference to a increase in TRIP insurance because there was no such increase in SB2404. This is NOT TRUE.
These are important issues raised by the IRTA and subsequently trashed over by the ‘pension bloggers’. No One is denying that. If questions arise they need to be answered. The issue in my mind is how are these questions asked and answered. It is my opinion that Fred Klonsky’s accusatory approach of “when did it come about it and when did the IEA leadership sell us out?” Contributes to emotionalism and fear and uncertainty but not to a rational discussion of the issues (in my opinion!).
All the emailing and posting — I didn’t count but it seemed like Fred must have had a dozen posts on these supposed, alleged “revelations” about SB2404. They were caused by an amendment President Cullerton submitted shortly after the passage of SB2404 in the Senate clearing up some omissions in the bill. One part talked about retirees having to pay 100% of the cost of TRIP. That 100% language has always been part of the TRIP authorization language. We might not like it, It might make us uncomfortable but it was NOT NEW language — it was always been there (unsettling but true).
It was inadvertently left out of SB2404. President Cullerton was not trying to “sneak one past us” he was trying to mollify a few Senators who thought he had left that per-existing language out on purpose (maybe as part of an “IEA plot”!!LOL!). His amendment was aimed at alleviating another fear on the part of some Senators that a certain “funding mix” was being attempted to be placed by into the constitutional pension guarantee. He also was trying to make it clear that SB2404 added access to health care as a contractual right but not as a constitutional right.
IEA felt that added access to health care as a contractual right was a victory but knew it had never been granted constitutional status. Perhaps if the ‘pension bloggers’ would have had more Springfield Capitol experience they would have known President Cullerton’s amendment was routine house keeping. The absence of a firestorm of controversy over the amendment filed days ago should have been a tip-off. The ‘pension bloggers’ might be excused for overreacting but the IRTA leadership? This will be denied. But the IRTA should have known this was routine. They should have known who to ask.
All the commotion over the last few days was caused by the IRTA adding about nine words to their weekend summary of SB2404….” Access to state health insurance with the possibility of paying 100% of the premium.” Those few new words were — fueled by a ambiguous statement by the President of IRTA attempting to link The Civic Federation to this alleged “plot”. …..“It is safe to say that this amendment was revealed in committee, was discussed by Senate President John Cullerton, and was pushed by the Civic Committee of the Commercial Club of Chicago and Civic Federation” – President of the IRTA.
None of that was true ….there was no secret plot……there was no “smoking gun” …..
– Bob Haisman