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Joey Zamboni
6 days ago

I can only speak for myself… I earned my pension with over 30+ years in law enforcement… They were hard years, no 9-5 weekends & holidays off… Unpredictable hours too… I started when salaries were way low ($16k a year) & my friends were making double that to start in corporate America, & they told me I was stupid… I chose the stability of steady work & of course the pension… Salaries eventually rose to a living wage, for which I’m grateful… I chose the “tortoise” route over the “hare” route… Now people are jealous & want to diminish or… Read more »

Poor Taxpayer
7 days ago

Lightfoot, firefighters’ union sign new contract that includes pay raises

Poor Taxpayer Fan
9 days ago

Poor Taxpayer should be a cop.

Poor Taxpayer
7 days ago

That is the truth, I am still working at age 68, 45 hours of more per week. If I had been a cop I would have retired at age 42 to live the luxury life in Florida on Illinois Taxpayers. Instead I work and pay lots of taxes to support nonworkers and dream of the day I can retire. It is not easy to save money from your pay check and pay your bills. If I had it all over to do again, a Firemen or a Cop would have been my choice. Multimillionaires all of them. Working in the… Read more »

Joey Zamboni
6 days ago
Reply to  Poor Taxpayer

You are incorrect…

Minimum of 20 years on & age 50 to collect 50% of your salary…

I did 30 years to collect 75% at age 55… (see my post above)

I get a bare bones HMO that I partially pay for, till age 65, then it’s medicare…

I feel for you tho, I hope you are able to retire sometime soon…

Poor Taxpayer
9 days ago

Talk is cheap. There is no Santa Claus, the unions will NEVER ALLOW ANY CHANGE. If you do not like it you can move. Illinois sucks for the poor honest hard working taxpayer and their children thanks to the greed of the Unions. Pensions over $100,000 per year are the norm. The money is going to Florida to buy luxury homes.

s & p 500
9 days ago

The latest CAFR shows a balance sheet with around $50 billion assets and $250 billion debts. I had to read the balance sheet several times to make sure I was reading it right.

https://illinoiscomptroller.gov/financial-data/find-a-report/comprehensive-reporting/comprehensive-annual-financial-report-cafr/fiscal-year-2019/

Jeffrey Taylor
10 days ago

Two things would be important for me to support a pension amendment. First, make the case better for an “important public purpose” by tying pension reform to things that will benefit everyone, not just the budget. Agree to pass the graduated tax and use the funds saved from pensions to promote the area’s future. Some ideas: invest in schools, disadvantaged communities, health care, people with disabilities, entrepreneurship among minorities, or public/private partnerships for water management (Chicago’s future and our great natural resource). Second, it would be best for pensions to be made NEGOTIABLE. As a private sector union worker, I… Read more »

mqyl
7 days ago
Reply to  Jeffrey Taylor

If they amend the state constitution, don’t expect any pension or health care benefits changes to significantly lower the huge tax burden on IL residents. They’ll make small changes and declare victory. Then, the IL residents will wonder why their burden is still so great.

Poor Taxpayer
10 days ago

Cold day in Hell.

Flash413
11 days ago

How about if the greedy police, fire, and teachers delay their move to Florida until the age of 65 like those of us footing the bill? In other words, work a full career like the rest of us. Police and Fire employees could be given less physically demanding jobs after attaining a certain age. And what’s with teachers retiring after 30 years in the first place?

Poor Taxpayer
11 days ago

They are laughing all the way to the bank.
Luxury homes in Florida on Illinois Taxpayers, bunch of suckers.
Nobody stays in Illinois with the pension, they go to Florida.
Leave while you still can.

Juicy Smollier
11 days ago

The issue which should first be addressed is the health care benefits issue, to be honest. It is the one source of totally unpredictable (and constantly rising) costs, whereas at least we know what the (also unsustainable) pension benefit is. Thus, the first responsible step would be to make people take care of their own health or health care, since that is a true skin in the game measure anyway, actually unrelated to work. As for Peggy’s comment below, I don’t think they would (or should, at least to start) do anything to someone whose pension is less than 40k… Read more »

Admin
11 days ago
Reply to  Juicy Smollier

Juicy, you are right on all counts. And reforming the healthcare benefit is indeed a huge part of it, which is extensively covered in our report, which will be released in full next week.

bagelgirl
10 days ago
Reply to  Juicy Smollier

My own theory is that the first $40,000 of pension payments should be the threshhold for pension reform. Anything over $40,000 should be subject to pension reform. That’s a start. If we establish a threshhold, the majority of pensioners will vote yes.

James
10 days ago
Reply to  bagelgirl

Should we then assume you’re likely to vote to have a progressive state income tax in IL? That’s essentially the argument you’re using here–let the other guy pay the taxes (or have his pension reduced). Pick ’em off one at at time; that’s what will likely happen as lower-income voters will always vote to have those with higher incomes pay more taxes. If you’re not in favor of the progressive income tax amendment, then you seem to have ethics built on shifting sand. If the “let the other guy pay the taxes (or have his pension reduced)” philosophy applies in… Read more »

bagelgirl
10 days ago
Reply to  James

No. No progressive income tax. I want meaningful pension reform. I like the flat tax.

James
10 days ago
Reply to  bagelgirl

And apparently you see no logical conflict there. To me they are the same basic concept—tax or reduce someone else’s income more rather than mine. Let someone else pay the freight—it’s the American way.

Peggy Riordan
11 days ago

I disagree with your op-ed in the Tribune today. I worked for the State of Illinois My job was very dangerous and was shot at numerous times during my career. I retired and my pension is under $2K a month. I do not think that is extravagant and it is very difficult to live on that amount of money. I live a very frugal life. I would not vote for an amendment to change the pension guarantee in the Illinois Constitution. The cost of rent goes up every year alot more than my pension does. A studio apt.costs $1700.00 in… Read more »

Admin
11 days ago
Reply to  Peggy Riordan

Ms. Riordan, the specific reforms we favor spare smaller pensions from meaningful cuts, which will be in part 4 of our report. With a pension of just $2,000 per month, I assume you did not work a full career on that job. Most pensions are far, far higher for full career retirees.

Last edited 11 days ago by Mark Glennon
Rob
11 days ago
Reply to  Peggy Riordan

Moves are about $20 per mile. Moving to a neighboring state or to a smaller town in state would cost about $3200. But the monthly rent would be around $500 less so the cost of the move is made up in one year. A nice 2-br apt in Peoria is under $1200 a month. The more amenities and conveniences you insist on (aka lifestyle) the more you pay. No surprise.

bagelgirl
10 days ago
Reply to  Peggy Riordan

Pensioners receiving a modest benefit is not the problem. No one needs an annual pension of $100,000 plus in order to survive in old age.

James
10 days ago
Reply to  bagelgirl

The same thing might well be argued for salaries–even including yours, perhaps. Why should I support your business if I learn your employer pays you more than the number I can consider reasonable? Considering the average family income in IL is something like $65,000 per year I think I’ll change your second sentence to what I’d like to see: “no one needs an annual family income greater than $65,000 per year.” I like it. Do you like it? Does that matter to me?

Tom Paine's Ghost
10 days ago
Reply to  James

The difference is that with bagelgirl’s business, salary and pension it is subject to the competitive forces of the free market. With Illinois government workers there has been no counterbalance and – since IL state workers earn something like 20% more than their equivalent free market peers in salary alone – there is no dispute that they are overpaid. So their pensions must be cut. Not to mention that IL government worker pensions are the result of criminal collusion with IL politicians and realistically should be zero because of this criminal origin. Considering that not all government workers were directly… Read more »

Last edited 10 days ago by Tom Paine's Ghost
James
10 days ago

I don’t object to your basic premise. What I do find offensive, though, is people periodically holding forth with their obviously-no-holds-barred assertion as to what’s fair and what’s not regarding someone else’s proper way of living or income. No study or analysis is quoted—just a boldface assertion as to how things should work according to their circumstances or whims and with not a hint of any thought or research as to how it was derived. The devoutly “religious” often feel justified in spewing their baloney on everyone they meet, as but one example.

bagelgirl
10 days ago
Reply to  James

I can go along with that too.

Poor Taxpayer
11 days ago

NO CHANCE in HELL.

Gemini
12 days ago

Bravo, Mark.

Keep up the good work.