Pension proposal is distraction from governor’s failures

Fox Valley Labor News staff reports
Thursday, Jan. 28, 2016

Democratic Senate President John Cullerton said the governor’s pension plan outlined at the governor’s news conference wasn’t what he and Rauner talked about. “It’s not my plan. It goes beyond what we discussed and beyond what I support.” Photo courtesy of Illinois Senate Democrats

CHICAGO — Days away from his second State of the State address, Gov. Bruce Rauner is trying to distract from the fact he has failed to pass a state budget during his first year in office by announcing he will now support Democratic Senate President John Cullerton’s pension proposal — only Cullerton says it’s not his plan.

Hours after Rauners’ announcement, Cullerton released a statement and spoke out about the governor’s remarks.

“It’s not my plan. It goes beyond what we discussed and beyond what I support.” The statement also highlighted what he called a “fundamental disagreement role the role of collective bargaining.” He firmly believes collective bargaining should continue to exist, and the governor does not share that ideal.

Last spring, Cullerton called for a “consideration” model, which would offer public employees a “choice” between receiving cost-of-living-increases, or including pay raises in the calculation of their retirement benefits.


Gov. Bruce Rauner had a busy week, coming up with ideas for CPS to declare bankruptcy, then lying he was supporting Democratic Sen. President John Cullerton’s pension proposal — only he wasn’t. Wonder what he’ll say during his State of the State address?

Rauner said he wants to take that unconstitutional model further by including a legislative poison pill, proposing to take away workers’ rights to bargain salary increases with their employers.

Rauner insists that removing the right to bargain over wags would ensure the new bill passes constitutional muster.

Sen. Linda Holmes said she will not support any pension reform plan that would remove wage considerations from collective bargaining. “It’s another attack on organized labor,” she stressed.

We Are One Illinois coalition of unions called on the governor to give up on his damaging personal obsession against unions and finally get to work on the real issues impaction our state.

“Our coalition has always advocated a responsible solution to the pension funding issue that is both constitutional and fair. His disregard for working families is causing irreparable harm to children and communities across Illinois.

To add to the governor’s bone-headed ideas, a day earlier, his legislative allies proposed a plan for a state takeover of Chicago Public Schools (CPS).

The legislation was called a “lifeline” that would allow an oversight board to take over Chicago Public Schools (CPS), as it drowns in a $500 million budget deficit, and create a path to bankruptcy.

While there were no actual legislation to unveil, two bills will soon be introduced “within the week” to allow CPS and also the city of Chicago to declare bankruptcy, while the other wold create an oversight board for CPS.

In a statement, Cullerton said it won’t happen. “It’s mean-spirited and evidence of their total lack of knowledge of the real problems facing Chicago Public Schools.”

The bankruptcy idea was announced as CPS continues to meet around-the-clock with the Chicago Teachers Union on making a deal that would avert the need for up to 5,000 layoffs.



Budget impasse may cripple IMSA students


Sen. Linda Holmes

Senator Linda Holmes
Personal view
Thursday, Oct. 15, 2015

The Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy is facing financial difficulties. It draws funding from the state’s higher ed appropriations, and Gov. Bruce Rauner vetoed that spending. IMSA has informed parents it faces major financial hurdles starting in December as a result. Fair labor laws and access to quality education ensure a thriving middle class, and right now it seems both are in peril.

I am frustrated at the continued impasse in Springfield that now threatens to derail the education of some of our state’s brightest students.

The Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy in Aurora draws some of the highest performing students from across Illinois to focus on science, technology, engineering and math. These are the fields which are critical to the continued success of our country’s role as a lead innovator. As Gov. Bruce Rauner refuses to work with the Democratic majorities in the General Assembly to craft a compromise budget, one of the unfunded portions is higher education. IMSA relies on part of that budget to fund its operations.

I helped approve a budget for higher education in Illinois. Gov. Rauner vetoed it, eliminating all funding.

Now, IMSA has informed parents that, absent state support for higher education, it does not know how it will continue operations come December.

At this point, I don’t know what will move Gov. Rauner off his anti-union agenda that everything, including the state budget and IMSA funding, is tied to. His inaction already closed the doors of a 60-year-old child care facility in Aurora and sent the message to physically and financially vulnerable Illinoisans that their state does not care about them.

This intractable situation is poised to affect children whose achievements could shape the future of the state in areas vital to our economic success. I want to urge your readers to call for an end to the budget stalemate, on behalf of schools like IMSA and the public universities that are also imperiled by this failure. I helped approve a spending plan that went to the governor.

He could have worked with us to make changes to what he didn’t like. Instead, he shut almost everything down. It is up to him to act like a statesman.