Senator Radogno writes,
House Speaker Mike Madigan’s continued push for shifting the costs of teachers’ pensions onto local school districts should scare the daylights out of suburban property taxpayers.
Under the guise of “pension reform,” Madigan (D-Chicago) and Gov. Pat Quinn would shift hundreds of millions in pension costs to local districts — forcing massive cuts or property tax increases onto suburban and downstate homeowners.
It makes sense for school districts to have “skin in the game,” but pension benefits are set by the Illinois General Assembly. To allow politicians in Springfield to set the benefits, but send the bill to suburban property taxpayers, is a recipe for disaster.
Illinois desperately needs public employee pension reform. But we cannot allow decades of mismanagement to be shoved onto the suburban and downstate property taxpayers and call it “reform.”
Chicago property taxpayers do pay for Chicago Public Schools pension benefits. But CPS is also the beneficiary of state funding not available to suburban and downstate school systems.
The pension cost shift being pushed by Quinn, Madigan, Senate President John Cullerton (D-Chicago) and their Democrat allies in the House and Senate will ease the pension burden on the state — freeing up cash to pay for more spending.
But it shouldn’t come from suburban and downstate property taxpayers.
State Sen. Christine Radogno (R-Lemont)
Senate Minority Leader
When Madigan and Cullerton shift the pension costs onto municipalities, maybe they should just shift management of the plans onto communities too. We’ll get stuck with the funding now either way. Maybe we should grab the right to define the benefit too.