Pam Althoff Holds One Hour Telephone Town Hall Meeting

Pam Althoff

Pam Althoff

When State Senator Pam Althoff’s Telephone Town Hall Meeting contacted me after her five hour session (with committee meetings in the morning), I decided to listen in.

Some notes I took follow.

A man from Woodstock with a $10,000 property tax bill said, “Taxes are out of control for Dorr Township. I can’t afford to retire in my home. As soon as I can, I’m moving out of this state.”

[I would point out that Woodstock School District 200 took every dime it could and that was most of the local tax increase.]

Althoff took two polls, the first about the Democrats 67% income tax hike. She said she would announce the results during the hour and did.

  • 71% said cut spending and the tax hike
  • 21% favored leaving the tax hike in place but not allowing government to grow
  • 2% wanted government to continue to increase in size
  • 6% were undecided

At least two people talked about government employee pensions.

Althoff said that something would have to be done or 15-20 years from now “people will get a pink slip.”

I’m not sure one can get fired from a pension program, but her point was that the five public pension funds would eventually run out of money.

When asked where she stood on the union-backed pension plan (the one State Senate President John Cullerton is sponsoring), she said, “I supported both of the pieces of (pension) legislation.”

Another person pointed to the 3% annual pension increases, which are compounded, in public pensions as a big problem. He said that nobody in the private sector gets anything like that.

Althoff agreed and pointed out that the compounding was more than 50% of the problem.

A poll was taken on what Althoff characterized as “conceal and carry.”

Althoff said she was in support of such legislation.

The results were

  • 47% support
  • 29% do not support in any form
  • 26% support with exemptions
  • 4% were undecided

A nurse called to ask if the state’s assuming administration of Obamacare would result in something like the pension crisis down the road.

Althoff did not try to dissuade her of that possibility.

A man called about fracking. He was worried about his well water.

He apparently thinks it will occur in McHenry County.

Althoff said she was undecided but did not tell him natural gas and oil has not be found under McHenry County’s acreage.

A man from a small town without zoning whom Althoff recognized as someone she had talked to before talked about windmill regulation in places like his. Althoff just passed a bill to give them some control within their village limits, but with no power outside those limits. Municipalities with zoning have some power within a mile and a half of their boundaries.

When the hour was up Althoff invited people to leave messages on her answering machine.


Pam Althoff Holds One Hour Telephone Town Hall Meeting — 6 Comments

  1. How did you hear about Sen. Pam’s one-hour call-in? I didn’t hear about it or see it in the paper or get an email from her.

  2. I remember when -then Congresswoman Bean held phone town hall- people on this site lost their minds.

    But now, it is consider ok?

  3. I don’t know about Althoff’s call, but quite a few legislators (State and Federal) robocall and if you happen to pick up the phone you can opt to listen in, and then if you have a question to ask you can opt in on that too.

    If that’s the case here maybe one could contact Althoff’s office and ask to be put on the Telephone Town Hall robocall list.

  4. Regarding pensions, SB 1 (Cullerton plan) and SB 2404 (Madigan plan) both have a funding guarantee that places pensions behind only bonds for purposes of what State bills get paid in what order.

    That’s crazy.

    For many reasons.

    First of all, what preceded the current pension hiking?

    The shall not diminish or impair guarantee that will result in a lawsuit for any reduction in benefits, irregardless if the benefit was not in place when that guarantee was added to the Illinois State Constitution in 1970.

    So now to solve the problem another guarantee is proposed?

    40 years of benefit increases was the primary cause of a $100 Billion dollar unfunded liability.

    If all those benefit increases were not in place, pensions would have a much better funded ratio.

    The ridiculous argument the state didn’t make it’s payment.

    The benefit increases caused the state payment to increase!

    If you can’t afford the payment, stop increasing the payment!

    Which is exactly what they did for 40 years of skipping, shorting, or borrowing to make the payment, and in the same years passing pension hiking legislation.

    That’s $100 Billion dollars the 5 state pension plans (TRS, SERS, SURS, GARS, JRS) should have today to achieve their return on investment to fund future pension payouts.

    So now they want to toss pothole patch reforms on the problem, more kick the can.

    The pothole patch reforms are not the main objective.

    The main objective is the funding guarantee.

    A funding guarantee on juiced pensions on which the taxpayers have unlimited liability?

    That’s nuts.


    Why anyone would trust Madigan after what he’s done to pensions is amazing.

    This is just the start, is his selling point.

    We can’t do everything at once, another selling point.

    He now admits he helped create the problem.

    Well that’s blatantly obvious.

    Why would he change?

  5. We need to Keep It Simple Spending (KISS).

    1. Balanced budget (live within your means)

    2. ONLY borrow if referendum voted on by citizen voters (also see #1)

    3. Know what constituents want BEFORE you spend (Stop going to special interests only and surprising us, also see #1)

  6. Bean’s problem was that she refused to hold an in-person town hall meeting.

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