Friday, December 07, 2018

Union abuse shows why Illinois' constitutional pension guarantee needs to be amended

Late last month the majority Democrat Illinois Supreme Court ruled in favor of the grifter and against struggling taxpayers like myself.

From a Chicago Tribune editorial:
Former Chicago labor boss Dennis Gannon worked almost 20 years for the Department of Streets and Sanitation before taking a leave of absence in 1991. He got a refund of his pension contributions and pivoted to the private sector, first at International Union of Operating Engineers Local 150 and eventually as president of the Chicago Federation of Labor, an umbrella union organization.

But there was a blip on his resume. During his leave, the city rehired him for one day in 1994, then released him again to his union leadership job. Ten years later, he was able to retire at age 50 with a city pension based on his union salary of at least $240,000. He began receiving more than $150,000 a year from a $56,000 city job he had left a decade earlier.

It was an unintended consequence — many would say abuse — of the state’s pension code exposed in a 2011 Tribune/WGN-TV investigation that drew the attention of federal prosecutors. Government employees who left to work for their unions could count that time toward their pensions. But the practice of applying their private sector union salaries toward their pensionable income, instead of calculations based on what they earned as city workers, was not the intention of the pension code. Even labor-friendly Democrats in the legislature almost unanimously voted to tighten up the law following the journalists’ investigation. In 2012, legislators passed, and then-Gov. Pat Quinn signed into law, a strict prohibition on government workers applying union salaries toward final pension calculations.

Public pension funds are strained as it is. Why should private sector workers, just because they work for unions, be eligible for lofty pensions from a city and taxpayer-subsidized pension fund?
They shouldn't be. And besides, do you seriously believe that the CFL doesn't have its own pension plan?

The Chicago Tribune is calling for a constitutional amendment to deal with the pension guarantee clause in the state constitution. That's a great idea and a perfect Illinois Bicentennial gift to taxpayers.

Illinois is one of the few states losing population and Chicago is the only major American city with negative population growth.

Tax increases aren't working to fix the problem. In fact, they're driving people away and leaving a smaller pool of taxpayers to fix it.

Default is coming. Unless something is done soon.

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