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On behalf of a very good friend, a retired teacher, who's being told by the elected leeches in Springfield that they really didn't mean it when they told her the State of Illinois would live up to its end of the bargain regarding the Teachers Retirement System that she began paying into way back in 1971:

The union coalition We Are One Illinois and a group of active and retired public employees filed suit today in Sangamon County Circuit Court to overturn pension-slashing Senate Bill 1. Defendants in the suit are Gov. Pat Quinn, other constitutional officers, the state retirement systems and their boards.

We Are One Illinois Coalition members include the Illinois AFL-CIO; Illinois Federation of Teachers; Illinois Education Association; American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) Council 31; Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Local 73; Illinois Fraternal Order of Police State Lodge; Illinois Police Benevolent and Protective Association; Associated Fire Fighters of Illinois; Illinois Nurses Association; Laborers' International Union of North America Local 2002; Teamsters Local 700; and Teamsters Joint Council 25.

Click here for more information on the Illinois Educators Association site

Any and all suggestions on helping her and other retirees get the respect they're due are appreciated.  Thanks in advance.

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Comment Preferences

  •  This may be a pyhrric victory. (0+ / 0-)

    I just don't think Illinois can fund the pensions at 100% at this point, regardless of what they do.

    •  They have NEVER funded at 100% (9+ / 0-)

      That is the issue.  Legislatures would decide that oh, about 45% is good enough.  Teachers have been suing for more than 50 years.  The courts have manded that the state have several "catch-up" funding plans over the years which they gleefully ignored.

      Illinois teachers have paid 9.5% of their total wages each year into these funds which the state was supposed to match and never has.

      Imagine any private-sector employer who just wrote the Feds a note saying they didn't think they needed to pay their half of Social Security.  How many days or weeks would it be before their bank accounts were frozen and they were thrown in jail?

      Teachers worked at below-market salaries their entire careers with the Constitutional guarantee that their pensions would not be "diminished."  Illinois voters strengthened that language when the 1970 Illinois Constitution was passed by the voters.

      The "compromise" now has other public employees paying for retirement health care for the first time.  That is a logical compromise.

      Meanwhile retired teachers have been paying for their health from the first day of retirement.

      And, of course, because Illinois was one of the states that years ago opted out of Social Security, Illinois teachers who worked summers and other jobs paid Social Security at the regular rate, but have their Social Security benefits reduced 3:1 because they have a teacher pension - and even at that it is taxed.

      How many 401K owners would stand still for having their Social Security reduced because they opted into an employer profit sharing plan?

      I'm doing taxes.  I paid $1860 into Social Security in 2013 for part-time work.  Some time next year I will get a whopping $2 per month increase.  Whoopee.  

      Yes, Illinois is broke.  But it is not from paying their retirees.  It is from very poor priorities from years of bad legislators.

      "When I use a word," Humpty Dumpty (Antonin Scalia, John Boner, or Scotty Walker (pick your favorite) said in rather a scornful tone, "it means just what I choose it to mean -- neither more nor less."

      by Eman on Thu Jan 30, 2014 at 02:56:14 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  However... (5+ / 0-)

      The state is playing fast and loose with numbers, inflating the pension deficits based on 30 year projections.  Always a bit hazy on how some of those projections were made.

      [Lies, damned lies, and statistics]

      There are a lot of good teachers who are going to leave the state, possibly leave education all together.

      Christopher Mooney of the Institute of Government and Public Affairs described the attempted pension reform as a "red herring" that doesn't address the state's budget deficits.

      Why should Illinois not be responsible for the commitment made to people who dedicated 30-40 years, and then be told that the state won't provide COLA and healthcare benefits that were part of the arrangement?  Several years after these people have retired?  

      Excuse me for being blunt, but a "whoops, we fucked up" from Mike Madigan doesn't cover it.  And I sure as hell don't want to see any of the potential GOP candidates making things any better, only worse based on their rhetoric about "merit-based compensation" for teachers - based on what metrics?

      If you entered into a contract, made your financial contributions, performed the services required of you based on that contract, and then you found out that the other party had no intention of living up to their contractual obligations (costing you money), how would you feel?  What would you do?

    •  Not without tax hikes..... (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Odysseus, Another Grizzle, Sandino

      ....which is what should be done.  For years the politicians in Springfield, mostly democrats, have been raiding the pension funds to pay for programs that wouldn't have passed if they had proper tax based funding.  So now when the obligation come due the politicians, again mostly democrats, say tough luck teachers you need to take a haircut because of our political and budgetary malfeasance and the desire not to take it from bond holders etc.

      I say bullshit. Either raise taxes or take it from the politicians pay and pension and political hides.

      We Glory in war, in the shedding of human blood. What fools we are.

      by delver rootnose on Thu Jan 30, 2014 at 04:39:15 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Some Might Be Interested In Watching (3+ / 0-)

    Washington State's Supreme Court hearing a pension lawsuit where the State of Washington took away state employees cost of living benefit from people who have already retired.  The court hasn't issued a decision yet.

    Truly is theft.  Employees who in good faith worked for 30 and 40 years with the understanding of a COLA, then once they've worked they are told ooops sorry what we told you we didn't really mean.  Too bad you fell for our lies, too bad you can't go back and undo your 40 years of work.

    We got your 40 years of toil, too bad we're not going to pay you for your work.

    "I think that gay marriage is something that should be between a man and a woman.” - Arnold Schwarzenegger 2003

    by kerplunk on Thu Jan 30, 2014 at 04:19:23 PM PST

  •  I hope many eyes come to this diary. (5+ / 0-)

    I've forwarded to a couple of Illinois teachers.

    Those who fought the war in Afghanistan won it. Get them out of Afghanistan NOW . . . It's long past time. The time has come to repair this country and care for its' veterans.

    by llbear on Thu Jan 30, 2014 at 04:19:46 PM PST

  •  One of the methods that has been used (0+ / 0-)

    to attack pensions is to make the pension system itself the bad guy in all the media stories.  The Civic Club of Chicago has done a good job of that.

    The phrase "pension crisis" has become the adopted phrase for describing Illinois fiscal problems but the fault is not with the structure of the pensions.  The fault is with lax law to protect the pension funding and an irresponsible legislature - especially the "leaders" like Mikey Madigan - who continue to kick the can down the road.  All Mikey cares about is his own power.

    What Illinois has is a fiscal problem and the many ill conceived bonds and other debts the state has confirms that.  We have an antiquated tax system and several people are pushing for a graduated tax system that could be used to improve tax revenue without putting too much burden on lower income working families.  A Better Illinois is one such coalition of interests.

    Ralph Martire also has many useful suggestions.  For example our sales tax is too high but it is also too narrowly based.

    I'm not liberal. I'm actually just anti-evil, OK? - Elon James White

    by Satya1 on Fri Jan 31, 2014 at 05:51:45 AM PST

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