Few things are as dear to Illinois Progressives as our public pension system. It provides fair and just retirement security for a key part of the working class. We critics of the system are pension thieves, vulture capitalists and couldn’t care less about Mr. and Ms. Average.
Well, reality seems to have a different opinion. Take a look at the superb, detailed report by my colleagues here at Wirepoints, Ted and John, on the Illinois teachers’ pension, by far our state’s largest. Their article is now reprinted in ZeroHedge and getting tens of thousands of views around the country.
Here’s how it works: Pensionable salary is set by local school districts, but pension cost is offloaded to state taxpayers as a whole. State taxpayers end up covering average pension costs well over $1,000 per student in some wealthy districts, while poorer districts are able to offload only $300 per student or less.
At the extreme, that results in a $6.6 million total projected pension payout for a school superintendent who worked only 33 years, as discussed in the article. All Illinois taxpayers, not the wealthy district where he worked, will have to pay that.
Wealthy communities have very well-funded schools mostly because property owners there are able and willing to pay up for the “best” schools money can buy, but that’s only part of the reason. They’re also able to shunt a large part of school cost — pensions — to less affluent taxpayers around the state.
When, in the debate last year over Illinois’ new school funding formula, did we hear even a word about that from equity’s champions? Never.
It’s an old story of Progressives being anything but. Labels and stated goals are what count, not actual results. Add the pension system to the list of ways Illinois Progressives betray the poor and working class.
–Mark Glennon is founder and Executive Editor of Wirepoints. Opinions expressed are his own.