Rauner’s pension cost shift appears dead. As I predicted.


As a finishing grand gesture to his disastrous four years in office, Governor Rauner made two funding proposals.

The first was to cut the state subsidy to public employee retiree health care. The other was to shift the cost of the state’s pension contribution to local school districts, public universities and other local governments.

At the time Rauner proposed these, I wrote:

His pension shift won’t happen. Neither will his cut to health insurance subsidies.

The first is not politically sustainable. The second is unconstitutional.

As to the cut to the health care subsidy, the Illinois Supreme Court has already ruled that the pension protection clause protects more than the pension annuity.  It protects all “benefits” of membership in a pension system, including health insurance benefits.

As to the pension cost shift.  If you believe, as many do, that Illinois’ fundamental revenue problem is its reliance on local property taxes along with a flat income tax, the Rauner’s pension cost shift only makes matters worse.

If you believe that a majority of the members of the Illinois legislature will vote to raise local property taxes in their home districts in order to fund their schools, you’re as nutty as the governor is.

Yesterday, Capitolfax posted:

 If it wasn’t already evident that the governor’s proposal to shift hundreds of millions of dollars of state pension costs to schools and universities was dead, it is pretty crystal clear now.

GOP Rep. Dave McSweeney’s HR27 declares “the opinion of the Illinois House of Representatives that the proposed educational pension cost shift from the State of Illinois to local school districts, community colleges, and institutions of higher education is financially wrong.” It now has 60 sponsors and co-sponsors

Rep. David McSweeney – Sam Yingling – Jerry Costello, II – Jay Hoffman – Mary E. Flowers, Norine K. Hammond, Allen Skillicorn, Bill Mitchell, Linda Chapa LaVia, Cynthia Soto, Stephanie A. Kifowit, Sara Wojcicki Jimenez, Katie Stuart, Terri Bryant, LaToya Greenwood, Sue Scherer, Deb Conroy, David B. Reis, Natalie A. Manley, John Cavaletto, C.D. Davidsmeyer, Charles Meier, Randy E. Frese, Michael Halpin, John Connor, Emanuel Chris Welch, Anna Moeller, Tony McCombie, Will Guzzardi, Litesa E. Wallace, Peter Breen, Carol Ammons, Monica Bristow, Natalie Phelps Finnie, Kelly M. Burke, John M. Cabello, Daniel Swanson, Christine Winger, Luis Arroyo, Camille Y. Lilly, Mark Batinick, Jehan Gordon-Booth, Nick Sauer, Chad Hays, Lawrence Walsh, Jr., Steven A. Andersson, Thaddeus Jones, Barbara Wheeler, Jonathan Carroll, Steven Reick, David A. Welter, Joe Sosnowski, Dave Severin, Keith R. Wheeler, Lindsay Parkhurst, Brad Halbrook, Rita Mayfield, Arthur Turner, Marcus C. Evans, Jr. and Nicholas K Smith

The Illinois Education Association immediately took credit.

McSweeney approached the IEA for help in talking to lawmakers on both sides of the aisle to build support for his measure because of IEA’s history of bipartisanship. Together, they were able to get 66 House members to sign on to the resolution in a show of force that effectively kills the Rauner pension cost shift.

For the IEA to take credit for this is like me taking credit for grandfather’s clock striking midnight.

It was going to happen.

As I predicted.

The IEA’s bipartisanship is a fraud. They use it to justify their political incompetence and ineffetiveness.  They haven’t won a major political battle in nearly four decades. You have to go back to winning state collective bargaining rights in 1983.

For the IEA, bipartisanship means never fighting the hard fights and only backing those they think are electable regardless of whether they have a pro-labor, pro-union, pro-teacher record.



3 thoughts on “Rauner’s pension cost shift appears dead. As I predicted.

  1. I still don’t get it. Illinois has plenty of financial woes. Politicians are constantly seeking sources of revenue to cover the debt. Yet states like Colorado are giving students scholarships with monies obtained from recreational cannabis https://www.cbsnews.com/news/marijuana-colorado-sales-help-send-students-to-college/ In our debt strapped state so many of our Illinois children and grandchildren are signing on for a lifetime of financial ownership (slavery) in order to get a student loan and complete their college education. I think recreational cannabis is supposed to be an issue in the March 20 primary. Please consider voting in favor of this. The money is there to benefit the citizens of Illinois. We need(ed) it “yesterday”. By not voting in favor of the recreational cannabis, people will still consume via the black market. Who benefits from the black market? The drug cartels – that’s who. This is a no-brainer!

    1. PS – Chris Kennedy, Dan Biss, and JB Pritzker are all in favor of legalized recreational cannabis.

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