Pasgual LoPresti on the Illinois Supremes.


-Pasqual LoPresti

Too bad you missed it Fred. It actually made me believe in the justice system again.

The only bad part was the live feed we watched it on. The video was very choppy and would constantly freeze up but at least we were able to get I’d say 90% of the audio. At times I could swear 9fingers was hacking the feed someway.

Here is my take on it:

A gang of Shitty Hall lawyers all prim and proper on one side that as taxpayers, we retirees pay to go against us.

On our side our lawyers, Mr. Kristof and Mr. Shapiro, who have taken the case on contributions from us, so in a way we pay them also, but gladly.

After a few BS presentations, (I swear these people are zombized) they march out a representative of the municipal pension fund and one from the laborers pension fund. Yes.  The very people who are to look out and properly fund our retirement. To make a long story short, both reps told the court that they slapped the retirees and survivors faces for our own good.

Then it was back to the Shitty Hall lawyers and the judges stopping them at various points to ask them questions or clarify what they just said. They seemed a bit irked at what they were hearing.

Now it gets even better.

By the Shitty Hall’s lawyers own admission the City didn’t pay anything into the funds because by law they didn’t have to.

Amazing argument, right?

The pension funds were well funded, one was funded at 133% and that came from the Shitty Hall lawyer.

Again amazing argument, right ?

I wonder what magic formula they have that you can keep taking from a fund and not put anything into it and by the way that was the retirees money that we paid out of our checks, so if I may add, they stole our money and Daley is walking around a free man. And in fact Daley stole 250 million from the laborers pension fund to shore up the police and fire pension. Then tried again the next year but was stopped.

Amazing, isn’t it?

They also brought up the point that the unions 27 of 31 agreed to this so called reform. The very unions that CAN’T REPRESENT RETIREES BY LAW.

Amazing isn’t it ?

Our two lawyers were smooth and good and not once questioned by the judges. They had a very well presentation prepared with no bumps or curves. They brought up the fact that not one retiree was present at any of these so called reform talks, so how can they say we the retirees agreed to this.

Amazing isn’t it ?

Bottom line folks. Don’t hire any of the Shitty Hall lawyers, not even for a parking ticket ?

And Fred. May I add to your like of music the song by John Lennon, Instant Karma. It plays well with.this.

Hell I even have a smile on my face today !

TRS was rightly quick to calm fears. But this still stinks.


When State Comptroller Leslie Munger announced earlier this week that the state could not afford to pay it’s share of public employee pension contributions, the folks at TRS were rightly quick to point out to members that this would not impact us receiving our monthly pension check.

Since the beginning of Governor Rauner’s holding hostage the state budget to advance his union-busting turnaround agenda, this has always been a fear.

Yet, simply saying that we get our checks doesn’t mean that we, along with thousands of other citizens of the state, are not being hurt by the hi-jacking of state government by the Governor’s political agenda.

Munger says state pensions won’t receive a state payment in November. There will probably be no state payment in December. She has previously said that it is possible that there may not be a payment for six months.

My friend John Dillon asked TRA Communications Director Dave Urbanek if the state has to pay an interest penalty for missed payments.

Mr. Dillon:

There will be no interest rate applied to the delayed state payment for November. State government appropriations to all agencies that are part of that government do not fall under the Illinois Late Payment Act.


Dave Urbanek

And then there is the loss that nobody I know can calculate for me. How much are we losing by not having the money owed to us to invest?

The missing payment is nearly $600 million a month.

If the worst case scenario comes to pass and we are not paid until June, we are talking over $6 billion. $3 billion*

Uninvested. Money lost that we will never get back.

Amanda Kass of the Center for Tax and Budget Accountability explained it to me this way:

“Delay in payments undoubtedly has an impact on investment returns–think of a personal savings account as an example, interest earned from $100 being in the account for 12 months is more than $100 being in the account for only 9 months. Quantifying the impact of the delayed payments in terms of investments (and in-turn future state payments) is quite difficult.”

So, how much?

Too much.

*When I first posted I made a typo when I wrote $6 billion.

Munger suspends payments. More pension theft in Illinois.


Senator Kwame Raoul, “It depends on what the premise of what he wants. He could say he wants to put me in slavery. Right? Should I meet him halfway?”

There were a lot of frightened public employee pension recipients yesterday when the news flashed that Illinois Comptroller Leslie Munger said she didn’t have the money to make pension payments.

I got tons of email and more than a few phone calls.

I posted twice on this yesterday, including reposting an email that TRS Communications Director Dave Urbanek sent out explaining it did not impact what TRS was paying out to annuitants.

This has been a point of confusion since the state budget battle began. We do not receive our pensions directly out of the state budget. Our monthly pension check comes out of TRS funds, which are completely separate.

Where do TRS funds come from? We teachers pay into it. We have never missed a payment. Our school districts pay a small amount into it. The state of Illinois pays into it. Until a few years ago the legislature more often than not failed to fund it at the level they were supposed to and took frequent pension holidays. And then there is the return on investments.

You don’t need to be an expert on high finance to see that the last source – return on investment – is fully dependent on all the others. The more we have to invest, the more we get in return. The current situation in which we are less than 50% funded means TRS has less to invest and receives less in return.

The rate of return on TRS investments has been pretty good over the years. Which means if we were funded at the level we were supposed to be, we would be in great shape and there would be no pension crisis now.

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When Comptroller Munger fails to make the state’s $560 million payment in November, that is money that cannot be invested or bring a return. With no budget agreement there will be another missed payment to TRS in December. These are dollars lost on investments that are lost forever, even after the missing payments are made up, if they are made up.

Why is there no budget agreement?

Because Governor Rauner will only agree to a budget if the legislature votes to include his union-busting turnaround agenda.

Without a budget, only those programs that are federally mandated or court ordered will be paid.

And first in line ahead of even those payouts are the banks that hold bonds, the state’s debt.

Because state debt is a profit center for Rauner’s friends on Wall Street.

Some have called on the Democrats and Rauner to compromise, meaning that the Democrats would agree to some of the union-busting demands of Governor Rauner.

I’m with Democratic Senator Kwame Raoul on this.

“It depends on what the premise of what he wants. He could say he wants to put me in slavery. Right? Should I meet him halfway?”

Meanwhile our pension theft continues.

As I reported earlier, the state once again will not be making pension payments. Retirees will receive our checks.


Illinois Comptroller Munger. No money for pension payments.

Dave Urbanek of the Illinois Retirement System issued a press release confirming my previous post that the refusal by Governor Rauner to back off of his union-busting demands to pass a state budget means payments will not be made to the systems.

Individual retiree pension payments, which are not dependent on the state passing a budget, will continue.

While Comptroller Munger makes assurances that the payments to the funds will eventually be made, the failure to pay on time means that our funds cannot be invested and will lose money in returns on investments.

For Immediate Release                                                                       Contact: Dave Urbanek

October 14, 2015                                                                                 Public Information Officer

                                                                                                                  Office: 217-753-0968

                                                                                                                  Cell: 217-720-3961



November TRS Pension Checks Unaffected by State Cash Flow Problems

SPRINGFIELD, IL — All Teachers’ Retirement System pensions and benefits will be paid in November on time and for the foreseeable future, despite an announcement today that cash flow constraints will delay the payment of state government’s November contribution to TRS.

“All TRS pensions and benefits are funded exclusively from the TRS trust fund and not from the state budget,” said TRS Executive Director Dick Ingram. “TRS currently has $46 billion in the trust fund to pay all pensions and benefits and monthly benefit payments total approximately $460 million.”

State Comptroller Leslie Geissler Munger said today that because her office will not have enough cash on hand to meet all of state government’s bills in November, the state’s November payment to all Illinois pension systems will be delayed. The November payment to all of the state pension systems is approximately $560 million. The TS portion of that payment is approximately $312 million.

In fiscal year 2016, state government appropriated $3.7 billion to TRS as its annual contribution to the retirement systems. Normally, that contribution is split up into 12 monthly installments. This year, each of those installments is about $312 million.

Comptroller Munger indicated that even though the November installment of the state’s contribution to TRS will be delayed, she is confident that TRS will receive the entire $3.7 billion annual contribution by the end of the fiscal year in June.

“We have been working very closely with the comptroller’s staff and we understand completely the extremely difficult position her office is dealing with,” Ingram added. “Comptroller Munger and her staff have been extremely responsive and helpful to TRS.”

Pasqual LoPresti: Rauner and Rahm and the pension boards.


-By Pasqual LoPresti

Now isn’t that all cozy…and all that bullshit about them butting heads I been saying all along…don’t believe for one minute the Hollywood scripted good cop bad cop, it’s all for show

This is another sad comedy so to speak when you don’t know whether to scream in anger or shed tears over the fact again the deck is stacked. This so called board of 8 is made up of four 9house appointees, 1 judge ( who may be fair or may not, I have no knowledge of her ) and 3 legit members. Reminds me of the laborers pension board four appointed by 9fingers, three local 1001 so called union members that are proven bedfellows to 9fingers and no way represent their members any more and one ( now get this ) retired member who supposedly we voted into that position to represent the retirees even tho by law we can’t be represented ( go ahead say it “HUH” ) . Now if a vote was needed and just say the union people were legitimate ( to which no way in hell that would be true ) the worse that could happen is a tie and im sure it’s built in 9fingers could break the tie. This so called pension board voted the retirees cola and health care benifits away ON OUR BEHALF. Well thank god they looked out for us even tho the law says to leave us alone.

We took them to court a great lawfirm is representing us and won the 1st battle we had our colas restored by order of the court and 2 days ago we recieved backpay for 9 months. Now we are onto the restoration of our health care benifits that our great union 1001 gave away. Which for 2 people non medicare will cost us 1812.00 per month and in 2017 affordable health care which is another joke. Ok get ready for this, our city lawyers that as tax payers we have to pay go against a lawfirm we also have to pay ( granted our law team will sue the city for payment but in the meantime we are sending donations in ) go ahead say it, “HUH” In fact if I’m allowed we are having a fund raiser Oct 24th and I would like to invite anyone interested to come out and it would be a great honor if Fred came out..see our Facebook page

Like I said we don’t know if we should scream or cry but at least they know not to mess with us old farts

*** Fred the site name listed on my info has been changed so we could go public sites name is City Workers Present and Past and we welcome anyone in Illinois that is current or retired municipal employee or aim is to grow a political force with no ties to any party all we require is a candidate that has heart and is for the people

Keeping retirement weird. Jeb Bush’s “free stuff” and Rhode Island pension theft.


Jeb’s grandpa, Prescott Bush.

This week Republican presidential candidate and presidential bro/son Jeb Bush told Black people to stop expecting free stuff.

That’s quite the thing to say to the descendants of America’s slaves.

No group of people in America has given away more free stuff than Black Americans. Maybe tied with Native Americans.

Jeb’s ancestors had a different history.

On another note, this morning’s NY Times has high praise for Rhode Island’s Governor Gina Raimondo for her successful theft of public employee pensions.

The article on the front page of the business section is so contradictory.

First it claims that Raimondo’s pension theft is a model for others facing pension debt, like our Mayor Rahm.

Her experience, Mr. DiSalvo and others say, could be a case study for other states and municipalities struggling with pensions and other long-term obligations that cost much more than expected. And the timing could hardly be more critical, given predictions that the fiscal health of state and local governments is likely to remain under stress for years as the population ages.

However, the same article later points out the fundamental difference between Rhode Island and Illinois.

And it isn’t in the level of political corruption between Rhode Island and Illinois. That may be a distinction without a difference.

Unlike Rhode Island, Illinois did make public pensions contractual. Its constitution bars cities like Chicago from imposing pension cuts on their workers.

Yes, indeed.

One thing the two states do share is a willingness of the leaders of their unions to concede what retirees have earned.

A settlement finally emerged this year, which, among other things, gave one-time payments to current retirees, to soften the blow of losing their cost-of-living adjustments. Judge Taft-Carter held a “fairness hearing,” giving those affected a chance to sound off. Many expressed anger. But one union leader, Robert Walsh of the National Education Association of Rhode Island, said that after much soul-searching he had decided to support the settlement as the best deal for his 7,500 members.

A settlement, he said, “can be fair and heartbreaking at the same time.”

Fair? To who?

For more about Gina Raimondo and Rhode Island see David Sirota.

Illinois legislators voted to steal pensions and now are running from the mess they created. A story about Senator Dan Kotowski.


Senator Kotowski tries to explain his vote on pension theft to Park Ridge teachers. Photo credit: Fred Klonsky.

The Sun-Times this morning is reporting about the large number of Illinois legislators who are quitting. They voted to steal our pensions, lost in the Supreme Court and are now moving on.

Democrats who don’t have the stomach to fight Rauner. Republicans who seem bored just doing what Rauner tells them to do.

One of those Democrats who is quitting is Park Ridge State Senator Dan Kotowski.

This is a blog post I wrote about Senator Kotowski back in December of 2013:

The phone rang at about 10:30 on a Friday night.

This was a couple of years ago. I was an active teacher and President of the Park Ridge Education Association.

Teaching kindergarten through fifth graders when you’re in your 60s is tough work. Trust me. When Friday rolls around, I was deep into my dreams by 10:30 PM.

“This is Dan,” the caller said.

Dan? Trying to shake out the sleep, I wondered if I even knew anybody named Dan.

But it was Senator Dan Kotowski, the Democratic State Senator who represents Park Ridge.

He started yelling at me because his office was getting dozens of angry emails and phone calls over his support for a pension cutting bill. He accused me of having published false information on my blog. He was wrong. It hadn’t come from me.

“What kind of journalist are you?” he shouted.

I explained that I was not a journalist. I was a kindergarten through fifth grade art teacher with a blog. We exchanged some heated words and he finally hung up.

The next day I found out what had happened. His name was on a shell bill – an empty bill that gets created to be used later. A parliamentary trick often used in the legislature. The shell bill later became the pension-theft bill that year. Remember: this is several years ago.

Teachers at one of our middle schools had gotten a hold of a copy of the bill while it was still a shell bill – saw Kotowski’s name on it and assumed Kotowski was for it. They started making angry phone calls.  Park Ridge teachers are politically active and aware. And on guard.

And it turns out they were right.

Just a few years early.

I don’t expect a call from Kotowski tonight.

Retired now, I’ll be up if he wants to talk.

Rahm panders with the pension money he doesn’t pay.

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Following the lead of the Illinois legislature which passed a similar bill earlier in the session, Rahm has seen to it that a pandering piece of legislation has been introduced into the City Council.

The bill would bar the municipal pension fund from investing in companies that boycott Israel.

But the municipal pension fund doesn’t belong to the Mayor and the city council. It belongs to the current and future city retirees.

How ironic is it that a city government that doesn’t have the money to fully fund the pension fund is perfectly fine deciding what the fund should or shouldn’t be invested in?

For the alderman to be using the pension fund to advance the pandering agenda of the Mayor is just wrong on so many levels.

They should just pay what they owe and let  the pension board decide on its investments based on what is the best return for the members.

Glen Brown: Today’s News: Lisa Madigan will not appeal the Illinois Supreme Court’s pension ruling, and Eric Zorn of the Chicago Tribune wrote an article entitled “Ok, what about this idea on pensions?”

Glen Brown

– From Glen Brown’s blog.

The last line of Zorn’s article is, “You got a better idea?”  

I do, Eric:

Isn’t it about time the state addresses the flawed Pension Ramp?

“…Starting in 1995, yet another funding plan was implemented by the General Assembly. This one called for the legislature to contribute sufficient funds each year to ensure that its contributions, along with the contributions by or on behalf of members and other income, would meet the cost of maintaining and administering the respective retirement systems on a 90% funded basis in accordance with actuarial recommendations by the end of the 2045 fiscal year. 40 ILCS 5/2-124, 14-131, 15-155, 16-158, 18-131 (West 2012). That plan, however, contained inherent shortcomings which were aggravated by a phased-in ‘ramp period’ and decisions by the legislature to lower its contributions in 2006 and 2007. As a result, the plan failed to control the State’s growing pension burden. To the contrary, the SEC recently pointed out:

“‘The Statutory Funding Plan’s contribution schedule increased the unfunded liability, underfunded the State’s pension obligations, and deferred pension funding. The resulting underfunding of the pension systems (Structural Underfunding) enabled the State to shift the burden associated with its pension costs to the future and, as a result, created significant financial stress and risks for the State.’ SEC order, at 3. That the funding plan would operate in this way did not catch the State off guard. In entering a cease-and-desist order against the State in connection with misrepresentations made by the State with respect to bonds sold to help cover pension expenses, the SEC noted that the State understood the adverse implications of its strategy for the State-funded pension systems and for the financial health of the State. Id. at 10. According to the SEC, the amount of the increase in the State’s unfunded liability over the period between 1996 and 2010 was $57 billion. Id. at 4.5 The SEC order found that ‘[t]he State’s insufficient contributions under the Statutory Funding Plan were the primary driver of this increase, outweighing other causal factors, such as market performance and changes in benefits.’” (Emphasis added.) Id. at 4 (In re PENSION REFORM LITIGATION (Doris Heaton et al., Appellees, v. Pat Quinn, Governor, State of Illinois, et al., Appellants) Opinion filed May 8, 2015, JUSTICE KARMEIER delivered the judgment of the court, with opinion. Chief Justice Garman and Justices Freeman, Thomas, Kilbride, Burke, and Theis concurred in the judgment and opinion).

The current “Pension Ramp” does not work for the five public pension systems. The “Ramp” entails larger payments today as a result of the 1995 funding law – Public Act 88-0593 – to pay the pensions systems what the state owes. There needs to be a required annual payment from the state to the pension systems. The debt needs to be amortized for a longer frame of time (a flat payment) just like a home loan that is amortized; though the initial payment will be difficult in the beginning, over the long term it will become a reduced cost and a smaller percentage of the overall Illinois budget as it is paid off throughout the years.

How about the state requiring an “actuarially-sound” annual payment to the pension systems?

“Decades of mismanagement and failure to match contributions are the predominant reasons that the state’s pension systems are suffering to the degree that they are today. Years of pension holidays, continually borrowing against the systems without a plan for repayment and a severe economic recession, which caused investments to plummet, further exacerbated the problem” (Senate President John Cullerton).

How about acknowledging the State of Illinois has a chronic revenue problem, and its policymakers have stolen money for decades from public employees’ pension plans to hide these facts?

  • “At the core of the budget ‘crisis’ facing [Illinois] is [its] regressive state tax structure. Low-and-middle-income families pay a greater share of their income in taxes than the wealthy… [A regressive tax] disproportionately impacts low-income people because, unlike the wealthy, [low-income people] are forced to spend a majority of their income purchasing basic needs that are subject to sales taxes” (United for a Fair Economy). Illinois income tax uses a single-rate structure that results in low-income wage earners paying more taxes than the wealthy. Illinois is among 10 states in the nation with the highest taxes paid by its poorest citizens at 13 percent (The Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy).

Read the entire post on Glen’s blog here.

When it comes to public employee pensions Eric Zorn won’t quit it.


Give the Tribune’s Eric Zorn some credit.

If you must.

He is nothing if not persistent.

What it is, I think, is that he hasn’t gotten over the spanking my friend Glen Brown gave him back in 2012 in a multi-part exchange on the topic of pensions.

Zorn is back with a half-page piece in the Trib today entitled, Okay, what about this idea on pensions.

Zorn is like a backyard rat. He just keeps going back into that garbage pile until he finds a scrap of something he can eat.

It’s not the rat’s fault. That’s what rats do.

So Zorn won’t consider something like raising revenue on the wealthy of this state. HIs goal is to find a way to cut public employee pensions.

He is convinced that there must be a way to get a hold of that pile of money.

His problem is the Illinois Supreme Court. They said retiree benefits were untouchable. And if you can’t cut retiree benefits, and won’t tax the rich to pay their share, nothing in Zorn’s new proposal does anything about the hundred billion dollar pension liability.

For that he just has to wait for current retirees to die.

Which, by the way, was his solution in his recent column on the Dyett hunger strikers.

The reason that the hundred billion pension debt will get smaller is that current Tier II employees are paying it down. They are making their contribution into TRS but must wait until 67 to retiree and then collect much less than current state retirees. In about 20 years they will begin to retire. When that happens, all shit will break loose.

Why? Because their benefits will be less than Social Security requires. That’s against federal law. By then the pension debt owed to Tier II retirees will be so large that nobody will know how to pay them back.

Unless Zorn knows. But if he does, he ain’t saying.

Zorn says that the unions would probably fight his new proposal.

I think he might be wrong about that as well.

It is very likely they will sit down at the table and bargain a reduction in benefits impacting current employees – future retirees.

When a few delegates to last April’s state convention asked the IEA leadership to promise they would never negotiate away what the court’s had given us, they refused.

This was prior to the Illinois State Supreme Court ruling that struck down Senate Bill 1, the pension theft.

This is what I come away with from Zorn’s column today:

The state’s political leadership is like Zorn. They will never quit trying to get a hold of our pension. There is just too much money sitting there. They drool over it as underfunded as it is.

The second take-away is that while current retirees’ pensions are relatively safe, current employees should worry.

And if it is the current state union leadership they are counting on fighting for them?

Double trouble.