Thursday, December 07, 2006

Sun Times to Blagojevich: stanch the wounds

From the today's Sun Times Editorial. I wonder if people write this off as rants from Capitalists at the Commercial Club or just most don't read Editorials.

The message to the governor, the Legislature and Illinois citizens is brutal: "Illinois is headed toward financial implosion." And the messengers include some of the most august civic leaders and corporations in the state, all of whom belong to the Civic Committee of the Commercial Club of Chicago. They say unless something is done to curb government costs and increase government revenues the state is headed toward financial devastation that will sink future generations.
The reforms aren't particularly complicated although the politics of implementing them sure is. But many other states have been through pension and school reforms. There is no shortage of good ideas here; just will.
Still, it is Blagojevich who is going to have to stanch the wounds. The programs the Civic Committee looked at include state pension plans, state employees' medical insurance, Medicaid and education. The committee says the cure won't be simple but it can be accomplished through a combination of changes to government programs and increases in the income tax and corporate tax and an expansion of the sales tax.

To Blagojevich this will be anathema: He has consistently promised not to raise taxes, but if the Civic Committee is right he may not have a choice. But state workers and their unions must realize that any tax increase can only be done in tandem with changes to government programs. "We need a tax increase but we also need reform [in the way government spends]," says W. James Farrell, retired chairman of Illinois Tool Works, who headed the committee. "Taxpayers are paying for generous benefits for state employees," he added, benefits very few taxpayers enjoy themselves, including rich pension and medical plans.


Levois 9:12 AM  

As much as I think that Blagojevich is a terrible politician I think this is the moment that he can really prove himself. If he can put a dent in this crisis I think the public may see him as a little more than a politician concerned more about looking good than actually doing his job as governor. We'll have to see.

Oh and I hope Senate President Jones was reading today's Sun-Times too.

Mr. Ethics,  9:16 AM  

The state employees pension plan -SERS - is not that rich and generous. Just read the benefits and find that it isn't a golden calf. Back off blaming the state workers. They are not the bad giys here.

Extreme Wisdom 9:51 PM  

Mr. Ethics,

I am not familiar with whether you get the same bennies the politically powerful trough feeders in education get.

Our most recent Superintendent went from $148K to 226K compensation increase in 2 years, and retired to "consult" with school districts for the musical chair "Superintendent Search Scam."

Pulling in a 150+ pension while inking contracts with bought off boards to "find" the best candidate at over 10K/search.

[BTW folks, this is the RULE, not the exception up here in Suburbia]

Do you guys get "end-of career bumps?" Are they as rich as the Education Thugs?

Oh, I forgot, it's "for the children."


They said only Nixon could go to China. Maybe only Blago can give the trough feeders the haircut they so richly deserve...

But I won't hold my breath. I'll give him 2 cheers if he makes a veto stick.

Extreme Wisdom 9:53 PM  

SORRY! that wasn't 2 years!!! It was 6! Which is, of course, still trough feeding to a massive degree.

JB Powers 8:30 AM  

Mr. E wrote "They are not the bad giys here."...sort of...they would be the very young bad guys now working as consultants for the state in the job they left at age 48 in an early retirement program, so they now make 3x their original salary as well as their full benefits.

Anonymous,  5:57 AM  

Why are state employees, yet again, being put upon for their pension funds? First of all, for the average retiree, it isn't that generous and I know because my husband is about to retire. Also, the reason the pensions exist at all is that years ago, when people were hired for state employment, their salaries were lower than what they would have earned in the private sector, so the state made up for it with healthcare, deferred compensation accounts, etc. But believe me, it's no golden parachute like private business offers its upper level administrators. No one is getting rich or retiring to Maui on what the state pension fund pays out. People who put away much of their monthly check in deferred comp and who went to work sick to save sick days and lived within their means are the ones who come out OK.

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