Skip to comments.Spineless Illinois Politicians Propose to Shift Pension Burden to Schools
Posted on 03/29/2012 7:05:28 AM PDT by Kaslin
By and large, politicians are not willing to tackle the unsustainable costs theyve created. Consider Illinois public employee pensions.
Public employee pensions have been a state expense. Therefore, a big chunk of legacy costs dont need to be shown on school district books. But new legislation proposed by Senate Democrats seeks to change that. They want local school districts to bear that burden.
The problem? On third of Illinois school districts are already on financial watch lists, according to the New York Times. So the geniuses in Springfield are proposing to increase the weight because it is likely much easier to raise property taxes in local communities than it is to reform spending or raise state taxes in Springfield.
These are state politicians many elected with financial assistance from the unions punting to school boards. The state school boards association, of course, is resisting because it estimates an additional $800 million in costs for local school budgets with already-thin margins. Ben Schwarm, the associations executive director, was quoted as saying:
On the heels of an income tax increase last year and taxpayers looking at the fact that the state still has a huge budget deficit and then theyre looking at a cut to education or a property tax increase a lot of taxpayers are going to look at it and think its not the best idea.
There are politicians on both sides of the aisle willing to seriously tackle these problems. But the obnoxious unions arent willing to give an inch, and overreact intentionally anytime Democrats propose even meager reform.
Thats why theyre traveling to Milwaukee, Wisconsin today to protest an appearance by Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, who so far has been bold on school reform. Unions will attack anyone Republican or Democrat that dares cross them.
Illinois problem is grave. Champion News reports the 100 highest-paid school employees will pull down $1 billion in pension payments when they retire. The debate is not whether or not these government employees deserve this type of compensation, but whether its affordable, and whether politicians have the intestinal fortitude to fix the mess they created.
Do they have the courage to look public employees in the eye and say, We screwed up we cant afford what we promised, and dramatically change the system? Or will they continue playing games, putting local schools and taxpayers in an even more dangerous position?
Don’t worry, Obama will bail them out with our tax dollars.
It's for the children.
I actually agree with this - let the school districts handle the pension funds - but a BIG proviso would be that the state cannot mandate ANYTHING to the local districts regarding pensions.
Let the local people learn what they’re paying for the cadillac pension plans and decide if they want to keep it up.
The state has to butt out entirely.
of interest-where do you think this will go?
As an Illinois resident, I would like to see this enacted. Once people learn about the impact on their own wallet of these oppressive pension arrangements, I think we can expect to see more resistance to the wealth transfer from private citizens to government employees.
The administration will be cut from the locals. Or, they will cut the sports program and the tax referendum will go through.
You’ve got that absolutely right. Let it be handled at the local level. Force unions to fight a thousand brushfires instead of just one biggie. Its always easier to spend money when you kick things upstairs. If the buck stops on your block the spenders have a much harder time.
Check Article 13, Section 5 of the Illinois State Constitution. Be prepared to weep.
Given the academic performance of their students, there should be no debate. These people should be jailed, flogged, and pilloried for public scorn.
Adding an additional balance sheet liability to local districts will have a big impact on school bond holders. Suddenly the school districts will be severely in the red.
I do like the idea of more local control to control costs, but remember that most school boards are now controlled by teacher’s unions and former teachers. Without more voter interest in who gets on the boards..the game will continue.
We are originally from IL and have friends and family still there. The property taxes are already extremely high in many districts and the tax basis is shrinking..property values down and populations down. All and all IL is headed toward disaster. Chicago is a big part of the problem..and Rahm knows it.
You think a local school district has the financial clout to take on the CTA, the AFT, or the NEA? Really???
There is no question that by the right of free association the teachers may unionize. The problem is one of relative scale. The unions should be subject to antitrust laws, even on a local level but not beyond the scope of the people with whom they are contracting.
The unions will control the schools until the schools have to close, which, in some cases may be a God-send.
Everyone wants their so-called “rights”, but very few are willing to take care of their “responsibilities”.
The state will now have more money for discretionary spending.
Let's hope other states don't get the same ideas.
I live near Chicago, and I think that Illinois has high property tax rates because it’s the city that has the most governments. IL has 8,655 governments, including the state, county, township, city, school board, library board, and park district board governments.
My wife teaches in Illinois, and you are right. The one nice thing is she pays no SS tax. At least we don’t have to wave good bye to that.
Though we don’t expect her to get any pension.
The state has already incurred an obligation, they should not be allowed to off-load that obligation on to the local communities. The state can stop paying pensions for future employees, or adding to the pension accounts of current employees.
I think, as a matter of law, the government should never be allowed to pay employees with deferred compensation, like pensions. There’s too much temptation to buy votes with future taxpayers’ dollars.
I agree with this...
...only when the local school boards have total control of their curriculum, of their teaching methodology, of their hiring/firing practices, of their pay/salaries/benefit packages, and of their building construction/maintenance.
If the state is willing to do all that, then it’d makes sense to move it all down to the local level.
Chance of it happening... zilch. For statists love *CONTROL* above all else. They just want others to clean up their messes.