A PENSION VICTORY ? I THINK NOT
I just received several e.mails from the Illinois Retired Teachers Assoc. and others who have been fighting the pension proposals of the state legislature. The e.mails are of a congratulatory nature and suggest that all the phone calls and e.mails by teachers to their state legislators have caused the pension reforms to be postponed.
This isn’t a victory, it’s a postponement. The issue will be brought up again this summer and once the fall election is over, the reforms will be enacted; it’s just a matter of what the reforms will contain.
Instead of sending congratulatory e.mails, our unions and organizations need to be thinking of alternative pension proposals that don’t put the burden of pension reform on the current and retired teachers. I have previously suggested several proposals about this and we all need to work on ways for the state to pay back the pension funds that they stole,(they use the term, “borrowed”).
I would suggest we push for the temporary state income tax increase to be made permanent. All the funds collected after the point when it was to expire should go into the pension fund. I suggest we all work on ways to convince legislators that it’s high time public education should come with a price tag and no longer be “free”. Parents and families need to start paying for public education, especially if they don’t already pay a property tax. It’s time for non property owners to pay their fair share of the expenses of schooling. The days of a free ride should be over. The school fees could be based on income and a person’s ability to pay.
There must be solutions to this pension problem that the state legislators created by violating the state Constitution and stealing the funds over many years. The solutions should not hurt public employees who contributed to the pensions and kept their part of the pension bargain. Please use this postponement to urge your legislators to think of creative revenue raising methods as part of any pension reform.
Teachers and public employees should also plan for several huge protests and demonstrations at Springfield this summer. Now is no time to sit back and congratulate ourselves on this hollow “victory”.