Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Reaping What You Sow

The Chicago Free Press did both a front page article (see cover photo on left) and an editorial on the Governor's anonymous attack on Reps. Feigenholtz, Harris and me.

I wrote about the whole incident last week, so there's no real point in rehashing it here. But both the Free Press article and editorial are worth reading in their entireties.

Here are a few tidbits from the editorial.

The Chicago Pride Parade June 24 brought out record crowds to watch the familiar assortment of fabulous floats, dancers, twirlers, community organizations, businesses and politicians.

Unfortunately, it also attracted a mean-spirited attack directed against some of the GLBT community’s members and allies.

We’re not talking about the handful of anti-gay protesters who always show up. We’re talking about the ham-handed, cowardly actions of members of Gov. Rod Blagojevich’s staff...

But wait, there's more:

Whatever—Blagojevich is free to posture all he wants. But having his aides use our Pride Parade to falsely attack three of our community’s strongest allies was a petty stunt that demeaned his office and incorrectly assumed that GLBTs in Chicago aren’t smart enough to know better.

Further, for the governor’s office to threaten HIV/AIDS organizations that get state funding made the action even more despicable.

Let’s make it plain—Feigenholtz, Fritchey and Harris are deservedly held in the highest regard by Chicago’s GLBT community. They’ve been there for years for us—on HIV/AIDS, GLBT rights and any other issue of importance to us.

And as always, they were also proudly there to march in our Pride Parade June 24, while the governor was nowhere to be found.

But then again, that’s one of the oldest tricks in the book—a ringleader having his henchmen commit the crime while he stays far away from the scene. Feigenholtz, Fritchey and Harris deserve better. So does Illinois.

Now mind you, the GLBT community have been staunch supporters of the Governor in the past, which is what makes the Governor's move that much more ill-conceived.

It just goes to make the title of my previous post, Burning Bridges, all the more poignant.


At July 3, 2007 at 2:25 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Theatrics aside, we taxpayers need to look sharp at new efforts to sell off a state asset without clearly explaining how they will replace the (lotto) revenues currently going to education.

Funding the pensions is fine, and we know our legislators want to make sure that Illinois retains its lavish government employee pension system--it's their pension system too--but will there be even a teensy weensy effort to put these lavish pensions more in line with the 21st century ...such as, gasp, having the future pensionnaires pay a little more for this perk. After all, most of those of us who are paying for these plans won't even have a defined benefit pension. We have to make our own pensions by saving the money from our overtaxed salaries. On top of what we are paying for the state employees' pleasant retirement.

Illinoisians surely love their state government, even to bankruptcy, despite their carping about the guv's flying habits.

At July 3, 2007 at 8:32 PM, Anonymous RichL said...

The reality is that depositing the proceeds from virtually any state asset sale in the pension fund will pay for itself in reduced future pension payments. It's too bad that this basic financial concept has been buried in a political p---ing match.

At July 4, 2007 at 11:24 AM, Anonymous JohnR said...

It is pretty obvious to everyone who has spent more than 1 minute looking at the lottery lease/pension plan will save the state billions of dollars.

Think of it this way - when you have a huge credit card debt at a high interest, you don't make payments below the minimum payment and still expect that the debt will be paid off.

That is what the state is doing now - it is making payments into the pensions that don't even cover the interest on the debt.

Every single dollar going in is wasted on interest!

You have to do something to address the principle and the high interest. Refinance it with a pension obligation bond (so you pay a lower interest). Generate up-front money with a lease of a state asset like the lottery, or the toll road, or the Governor's mansion - whatever.

If you don't do something about the principle, you are just wasting billions of dollars a year. Not figuratively. Literally.

At July 4, 2007 at 4:39 PM, Anonymous My 2 cents worth said...

I fully agree that something must be done about the pension problem, but what do you do about the money that will be gone from education down the road? Selling the lottery is simply of shifting of obligations.

At July 5, 2007 at 7:25 AM, Anonymous Bill said...

State pensions are hardly "lavish" with the average annual benefit totaling a whopping $18,000 per year. That is somewhat less than state employees would receive from social security if they were eligble for it, which most are not. Actually, if all state employees were to be covered by SS and a defined contribution plan, the cost to the state would be MORE than the current pension plan. The IRS would not allow any "holidays" regarding the state's contribution each year like the GA does with the state's pension obligations. The state would have to actually match their employees contributions of over 6% of payroll.
The pension problems stem from the 25 years of chronic under-funding highlighted by the infamous SB 27 holiday which you voted for,John.
Pumping 26 billion into the funds would SAVE the state many more billions in the next few decades. The interest saved would more than offset the lost of $600 million from the lottery each year.
The Gov's plan works and should be adopted.
I guess it is more fun, however, to talk about Rod's travel habits and other nonsensical traits. If Rod and Emil are for it, the Speaker and his dolts in the so called Dem caucus will be against it whether it is good policy ot not.

At July 6, 2007 at 12:39 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

2 cents, when you deposit $10 billion in the pension funds, the state's balance sheet saves $850 million a year. Dedicate $630M of that to education to replace the lottery and you still have over $200 million in savings.


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