Photo: Fred Klonsky
The Illinois Senate voted to override Rauner’s veto of a budget deal that would have allowed CPS to pay $215 million owed to the Chicago Teachers Pension Fund.
Earlier, everybody – Rauner included – had agreed to the deal to send CPS the $215 million. Rauner says it was dependent on the legislature coming up with what the media calls pension reform. Reporters write that with a straight face. If you did this kind of reform to reporters’ retirement saving, believe me they would call it what it is: theft.
Cullerton and Madigan say that there was no such agreement to enact pension theft as a condition of paying what is owed to the pension fund. Who knows? When democracy is reduced to three old white guys cutting deals over lasagna at Saputo’s in Springfield, it is hard for the rest of us to know the details and fine print.
There can be no reform that doesn’t pay public employees the pension they were contracted to receive when they were hired. The Illinois Supreme Court has made that clear in a unanimous decision.
The Illinois House has already failed to override Rauner’s veto earlier this month. After today, the House is adjourned until January. The House will try to override the veto again after the first of the year in another veto session, but they will fail. There are not enough override votes among Democrats even though the Democrats were supposed to have a veto-proof majority.
The payment to the pension fund must be paid. Without the $215 million there will be a hole in the CPS budget that will require cuts to program, teachers and staff. This is not the fault of the pension fund, no more than it is the fault of the milk if you only have enough money to buy bread.
Meanwhile broke CPS just borrowed another $700 million at 6% interest. It is money that can only be spent on bricks and mortar.
Not one dime of the $700 million can be spent for the underfunded pension fund. Nothing for teachers, books or other instructional needs.
And the $700 million is borrowed with the promise that no matter what else happens, those buying the bonds will be paid back first.
Students and teachers are at the back of the line. Again.