IEA Spokesman Too Young To Know His Union’s Role in the Pension Crisis

Illinois Policy Institute Local Pension Accountability Tour panelists in Crystal Lake were, from left to right, IEA Spokesman Mike Sayre, a District 155 teacher at Harbor Oaks Annex Academy, Crystal Lake Grade School Board President Jeff Mason and Illinois Policy Institute staff member Diane Rickert.

I went to the Illinois Policy Institute’s Pension.  Got there a little late and was pleasantly surprised to discover that it was over an hour after it started.

Mike Sayre

Representing the Illinois Education Association was Crystal Lake High School teacher Mike Sayre.

I waited in vain for him to accept the responsibility his union and the Illinois Federation of Teachers had in helping create the teacher pension mess.

As I thought about it, I conclude he was too young to know what IEA and IFT lobbyists had done over the years to shortchange the Teachers Retirement System.

Although I have written about this before, let me repeat the scenario that went on year after year after year after year.

The Governor’s budget would have “X” hundreds of millions of dollars for education.

Included would be recommendations for K-12, universities and pensions.

As the session went on teacher union lobbyists would ask for more money for State Aid to Education.  In other words, for current salaries.

Where would that money come from?

The pension portion of the education budget.

Concurrently, those same lobbyists would be trying to improve teacher pensions.  Think  early retirement.  (I was astounded that one of my high school classmates who went into teaching was able to retire at age 52.)

The effect?

Higher teacher salaries, which, in turn, led to higher teacher pensions…while the pension fund was being shorted.

So, when Mike Sayre blames the legislators for not paying what they should have over the years, he is partly right.

The part he doesn’t know about is that his union urged those legislators to do what he complained about Tuesday night.

He said the IEA wants a guarantee that the General Assembly will put money into the Teachers Retirement Fund.

It is virtually impossible for one General Assembly to bind a future General Assembly.

It would be like telling future IEA lobbyists not to try to improve benefits for current dues paying members, that is active teachers.

Just trying to parcel out the responsibility for the mess all parties got us taxpayers in.

= = = = =
On the IEA handout for the event was the following assertion: “The pension crisis was caused by politicians who diverted the pension system payments to other programs.”

What other programs?

State Aid to Education so current salaries could be raised with the assumption that pension payments would take care of themselves. After all the Illinois Constitution says pensions can’t be impaired.

Even I told teachers that for years when they expressed concerns.


Comments

IEA Spokesman Too Young To Know His Union’s Role in the Pension Crisis — 7 Comments

  1. I was there, and asked the panel if their organizations would support elimination of unfunded mandates to help local districts afford the pension shift.

    The IPI lady and the D-47 board member said discussion of eliminating at least some of the mandates needed to be part of the debate.

    The IEA guy said his organization had no position on unfunded mandates. I.e. whatever lobbyists convince the IL GA to pile on to school districts to keep the money pump flowing — no matter how useless, inefficient, or ineffective — teacher unions won’t oppose.

    From the IEA 2011 – 2012 Legislative Platform — http://www.ieanea.org/media/2009/07/2011-2012-Legislative-Platform.pdf

    The Association will continue to oppose waivers or modifications of state mandates in the following 38 areas: 39
    1. Collective Bargaining 40
    2. Tenure 41
    3. Seniority 42
    4. Certification 43
    5. Special Education 44
    6. Staff and Program Reductions.

    Mr. Sayre said the top priotity of the association is education of the children.

    So why would the any association members consider refusing to teach if their local organization’s demands weren’t met?

    When was the last time the association recommended ways districts could save money?

  2. The real solution is a defined contribution 401k.

    Not sure why teachers continue to trust the politicians with pensions.

    The courts cannot raise taxes to enforce the diminished compensation clause of the IL Constitution.

    When the state is broke enough, the courts will slash the pensions just like the private sector.

  3. Allen, it’s because pensions are a golden nest egg while 401k’s are not.

    Quite honestly a state pension is better than winning the lottery in terms of money generated…that’s a problem!

    Retirement age of 65, change ALL pensions to 401k’s, and only 1 pension from the taxpayers…easy solution to fix the mess, but politicians will never vote for it because it would affect them also!

    Just goes to show you that politicians are corrupt and not there for the good of the people!

  4. What about taxing the pensions? Create a close system where the tax revenue would support the system?

    Teachers contribute over 9% to their pensions, while you contribute less than 7% to your social security. Teachers do not receive social security.

    The system has ben raided for years by both parties and now teachers who have no other options are left with few choices:

    1. Shift the program and have them contribute to Social security in lieu of the pension.
    2. Bring the payouts in line with a safety net program versus the last three years games played now.
    3. Tax the program and eliminate the legisatures ability to sweep the funds.

  5. If the legislature and the Governor want to tax retirement income, they would have to tax it regardless of source, I believe.

  6. Inish.. How many teachers actually pay the 9% fully without support from the school district?

    Not many, and no local districts completely fund the 9%.

    I pay double SS since I’m self employed.

    When I retire at age 67, my SS benefit will not even be close to what a retired teacher from the HS district I live gets, even though I will have contributed the maxiumum amount yearly to SS.

    I have to make up the difference with other retirement vehicles.

    Why should public employees be treated any differently? My property tax bill can’t take any more!

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