The Civic Committee overreaches on pensions. “Fahner made himself irrelevant.”

Talk about a fall from grace.

It was only a year ago.

Ty Fahner, former Attorney General under Governor “Big Jim” Thompson and now head of the corporate Civic Committee, was considered important enough that he signed his name along with Speaker Mike Madigan and Senate President John Cullerton to the letter announcing the withdrawal of the pension gutting SB512 from consideration in the lass General Assembly session.

Now Rich Miller, who publishes the authoritative Springfield blog Capitolfax, reports that one top Democratic official describes him as “irrelevant.”

Fahner has never been considered all that going back to his days when he was leading the investigation of the Tylenol killer. That investigation resulted in nothing. The killer has never been found.

While serving as Attorney General under Thompson, the state’s multiple pension systems were allowed to go underfunded, even though now Fahner admits that a similar practice by an employer in the private sector would lead to prosecution.

In his new role as chief corporate mouthpiece for the Civic Committee, Fahner has blundered again.

Says Miller:

Fahner’s histrionics last week over what he claimed was an “unfixable” pension problem have all but cut him out of the statehouse mix.

“He’s made himself irrelevant,” said one top Democratic official who’s intimately involved with pension reform.

In a memo to Civic Committee members, Fahner wrote that “the pension crisis has grown so severe that it is now unfixable. There simply won’t be enough money” to pay pensions for young teachers just starting out.

But then Fahner constructed a bizarre dichotomy by both claiming the problem to be completely unfixable while simultaneously demanding specific changes to the state’s pension systems. He said four things had to be done “just to slow the bleeding and reduce the size of the financial burden Illinois taxpayers must bear.”

Those four items included eliminating annual cost-of-living raises for pensioners, instituting a pension salary cap, increasing the retirement age to 67 and shifting the teachers’ pension costs to school districts and universities.

Because he said there was no real fix, there’s little to no use in negotiating with Fahner now because any solution the General Assembly comes up with will be dismissed by him as wholly inadequate.

Legislative thinking goes like this: Why bend over backward to accommodate someone who will never admit that you did the right thing?

There’s absolutely no political or legislative advantage to dealing with the guy.

Of course, there is more to this than just the blathering of a self-absorbed La Salle Street lawyer.

There still remains no consensus in Springfield on cutting pension benefits and shifting the cost of the pension obligation to local school boards and governments.

While Madigan’s COLA – Health care choice bill might pass the House, it is less likely to get through the Senate either in the veto session or the new session that starts later in January.

The current threats to public employee pensions become even more problematic if the members of the pension system can mobilize even beyond the 1.7 million no votes they turned out on November 6th to defeat the pension cutting Constitutional Amendment.

While we can’t rest on our victories, count the defeat of the Constitutional Amendment and Ty Fahner’s new-found irrelevancy as two big ones.

The Fahner confession. A 40 year criminal conspiracy.

“This was not created by the people entitled to the benefits,”  said Ty Fahner of the Civic Committee last night on WTTW’s Chicago Tonight.

“You told one of our producers that if this had happened in the private sector…well, you finish your thought,” said host, Phil Ponce.

“Well, if this happened in the private sector…if someone didn’t pay in the money…there would be prosecutions going,” replied Fahner, former Attorney General of Illinois.

Fahner was admitting that if corporations do to their employee pension funds what the state has done to us, it is a crime.

Of course, corporations DID do what the state is now doing. And Fahner didn’t prosecute. Nor has anyone else.

Why isn’t this admission a story in the press?

This video is as much an indictment of Ty Fahner as the famous Aspen video was of Jonah Edelman.

The entire spin on the pension story has been to paint the pensioners as greedy and overpriced.

Instead what we have here is an admission by the chief corporate sponsor for gutting public service worker pensions that we are the victims of a criminal practice taking place over a 40 year period.

Instead of indictments, the victims of the criminal behavior are being victimized once again.

Virtual Lobby Day Tuesday. School board members can do it too.

The IEA may not be mobilizing people to go to Springfield. But teachers in this area want to go anyway. So we’re looking into getting a bus (maybe two) and heading down to the Capitol after Spring break.

Sometimes things are too important to be left to those in charge.

But today is today. Time to send an email or make the call to your local state senator and state representative.

The corporate Civic Committee’s Ty Fahner three-tier bill, SB512 is still out there. Senate President John Cullerton is pushing hard at shifting the state’s pension obligations to local school districts. There’s a bill to tax retiree benefits and another plan by the governor to cut state payments to the retiree health insurance, TRIP.

By the way. I’ve heard that the plan to shift the pension obligation to local districts has sent shivers up the spines of school board members. Some of them read this blog. They can use the IEA website too.

You can contact your legislators here.

And while you at it, use the Chicago Teachers Union website to contact your people about Senator Iris Martinez’s bill to stop school closings. Their site is here. Her Committee is meeting on it today.

From the men who gave us the pension killer SB512, tax breaks for firing workers.

Tom Cross is the Illinois House GOP leader.

Ty Fahner is the head of the Civic Committee. He represents corporate public policy issues in Illinois. The two of them tagged teamed with Democratic Speaker Mike Madigan to try to pass the pension killing bill SB512 this past session. They failed.

Then came the massive tax breaks for the CME group, which runs the Chicago Board of Trade and the Mercantile Exchange, and for Sears. That one passed.

Next from the mind of Tom Cross and his friends is a bill that would cut the corporate tax, already the lowest effective tax rate in the midwest, for corporations that fire workers.

The bill, HB 3918 would lower the corporate income tax by 0.25 percent anytime the Illinois unemployment rate increases by .3 percent.

Ty Fahner complained that Illinois is too broke to pay teachers what is owed to us.

When corporations get tax rewards for laying off workers, we’ll all be broke.

Well, not Ty and his friends, of course.



Selling Illinois to the highest bidder. GOP proposes tax rollback for the 1%.

GOP House Leader Tom Cross. More tax breaks for corporations.

On the tails of the shameful tax give away to CME and Sears, House GOP Leader Tom Cross wants a rollback of corporate taxes even more in a state that already has the lowest effective corporate tax rate of any state  in the midwest.

“Illinois is broke,” Ty Fahner of the Civic Committee says when explaining why he wants teachers to give up their pensions.

But tax breaks to the rich and corporations? No problem. We’re not too broke for that.

Ahead of next year’s election, Illinois House Republicans today proposed rolling back the corporate income-tax increase approved in January.

The Democrat-led General Assembly raised the corporate income tax rate from 4.8 percent to 7 percent nearly a year ago.

Today, House Republican Leader Tom Cross suggested dropping the rate back down to 6 percent for income earned during 2013. The rate would drop back to 4.8 percent for income earned during 2014.