Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Cullerton wants votes on pensions and gay marriage - Springfield, IL - The State Journal-Register

You’d almost think Cullerton were trying out as stand-up comic here.  The guy’s been in Srpingfield since 1979 and voted for most of the budgets that have landed Illinois insolvent.

Illinois Senate President John Cullerton wants to push forward with a pension overhaul "as quickly as possible" and says the timing is good to move forward with legalizing gay marriage.

He spoke to the City Club of Chicago on Monday, giving a slide-show presentation on Illinois' financial problems.

Cullerton wants votes on pensions and gay marriage - Springfield, IL - The State Journal-Register

The comments to this piece over at SJ-R are excellent.  Including,

You never know for sure, but a lot of what is in there was pretty much ruled out by his own legal researcher. There are a few pieces, such as redirecting the money used for current pension bond payments when paid off, that would pass muster if seperately enacted.

It's possible the courts could change their mind about the rules at hiring (plus enhancements granted while employed) are what applies but they've been pretty consistent up to this point in Illinois (and NY and AZ which also have a constitutional clause). I would expect none of the retroactive stuff to those already retired would stand up in court. The major thing the latest bill is hanging it's hat on is making the changes apply going forward for current workers; the courts here usually haven't gone along with that argument in the past but courts in other states that just rely on contract law and don't have the constitutional diminishment clause have allowed changes to as yet unearned benefits. For an example of that, see the latest FL decision that reversed the lower courts. So nothing is cast in concrete ...

I'm convinced there are two different agendas going on with one end goal, another tax hike.

1) Depending on how you read current law, the pension funding is either ahead of (1995 ramp bill) or equal to the bond repayment funding. Both have 'continuing appropriations' so they can get paid more or less regardless of the General Assembly. The current bill SB0001 has a section in it that is supposed to 'guarentee' the State will pay in to the pension funds; however, if you read it carefully, in it's present form it actually says all past and any future state debt (read bonds and other borrowing) gets paid ahead of any of the payments that are supposed to be guarenteed by the bill. That's the first agenda point - guarentee the bonds will get paid so the State can keep on borrowing and spending.

2) The GA is going to keep passing stuff that will end up in court. Even the S&P report downgrading the state said so. If the courts let something slip through, the GA wins. If the courts reject it, then the GA will raise taxes and claim there is nothing else they can do ... the courts made them raise taxes. There's the second agenda point - finding someone other than themselves to blame the coming tax hike on.

Spfld Reader,

The sad thing is that Cullerton is actually one of the more moderate people on pension reform. Compared to a lot of the other garbage that has been proposed, he (or his staff) at least tried to skirt the constitutional restrictions.

This bill is a nightmare to try to read and figure out. They put almost every proposal (except Martire's change the ramp suggestion) from the last two years in it. It has a Part A that is supposed to be the changes. It also has a Part B that is supposed to kick in if Part A is found invalid. To a layman like myself, Part B seems to be at least half or more the same as Part A with some different qualifers and thresholds ... and is nothing more than a delaying tactic that will result in having a second lawsuit against it if/when Part A is ruled invalid.

Same Sex Marriage advocates tell me marriage will some how affirm them and make them feel full Citizens of Illinois.  I'm at a loss how a license from these peculiar politicans Illinois Voters send to Springfield will affirm anyone.  A affirmation from someone who treats me as a dope with bills per jjw's analysis above seems not much.  Seems being Gay in a well run Indiana a far more preferable thing: affirmation or not.

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