It’s now clear that “pension reform” is going to happen in Illinois sooner than later. Teachers and public employees are probably going to lose their cost of living increases and maybe pay more for health insurance. There are other dire consequences that appear possible at this time.
I want to know how the State and the public are going to “share in the pain ” of pension reform. I have suggested that the soon to expire temporary state income tax increase be made permanent, and all future revenue from the increase be placed in the public worker pensions.
We also need to think about what resources the State has that might be given to current and or retired teachers as part of a negotiated settlement on pension reform. I would suggest the following resources be made available to current and retired teachers as a small reward for the pain of giving up cost of living increases or other benefits:
1. Teachers and retirees have free access to all State licenses. Fishing, hunting, firearm cards, license plates, boating permits and all similar licenses.
2, Teachers and retirees have free access to all State parks, recreational and camping areas.
3. Teachers and retirees have free access to all public golf courses in Illinois.
4. Teachers and retirees have an i.d. card that when shown upon purchasing a store item, the state sales tax is automatically removed.
5. Teachers and retirees have free access to all State museums.
6. The State will cover the costs associated with any traffic violation fine that a teacher and or retiree might incur.
7. Any retired teacher will have access to free care for an extended period of time in a State run nursing home.
8. All stores in the State will require their cashiers to ask every customer if they would like to donate $1 to the Teachers’ Pension Fund.
9. All future State money obtained from casinos and horseracing will be put towards reducing the pension deficit.
10. All state properties will have advertisements on them encouraging people to donate a portion of their income to reduce the pension deficit.
11. The State of Illinois will run a massive public relations blitz explaining how State legislators were responsible for the pension debt, and not teachers.
12. In order to retain their tax exempt status, all religious institutions will be required to encourage their members to be good citizens and help to reduce the pension deficit through donations.
13. Illinois income tax forms will have a place where people can elect to donate to reduce the pension deficit. All donations will be tax-deductible.
14. The children of Illinois teachers will receive an automatic 10% tuition reduction if they attend a State university.
15. The State portion of all entertainment taxes will go directly into the pension fund.
16. The State will encourage entertainers to have “Pension Aide Concerts”. The proceeds will go directly into the pension fund.
17. Any State legislator who previously voted to “borrow”,(steal) money from the pension fund will be required to donate 25% of their salary to the pension fund.
Let’s go State legislators, we need to NEGOTIATE this pension reform. What are the teachers and public employees going to get for the sacrifices they are going to be asked to make? The above list is mostly in jest, but it’s time to get serious about the public “sharing in the pain” that was brought on by your stealing from the pension.