Tribune Pins Tail on Teacher Unions

Tuesday, the Chicago Tribune editorial was about the teacher pension problem.

Too many claims on too few dollars.

As regular readers know, teacher union lobbyists regularly urged legislators to skip making payments for pensions in order to increase State Aid to Education.

Trib pension edit blaming unions 3-23-15 inset

Take from the March 24, 2015, Chicago Tribune editorial.

That allowed higher teacher salaries, which, in turn, led to higher retirement pensions.

They knew the strong language in the Illinois State Constitution would protect future pension payments.

That assumption, of course, is now in question.

Nevertheless, shifting past pension payments to then-current salary increases certainly are a key part of the present problem of not enough money being in the pension fund to pay future pensions.

That is a point I have not previously seen in the Tribune.


Tribune Pins Tail on Teacher Unions — 4 Comments

  1. If you think that your taxes are high, look at the school board candidates, because I guarantee they are about to get much higher in Crystal Lake.

    The real story that everyone is missing is the number of teachers and teachers union members running for the school board in D155 & D47.

    D47 has a MEMBER OF THE UNION LEADERSHIP (CURT WADLINGTON) running and judging by the number of teachers that has signs in their yards, Fetzner is their friend as well judging by sign placements.

    D155 has a slate of 3 d47 teachers running for school board; Blazier, Guss and Pelz that ARE ENDORSED BY THE D155 TEACHERS UNION.

  2. The Chicago Tribune Editorial is a good one.

    Chicago Tribune
    Editorial: Teacher for a day, pension for life.
    March 23, 2015

    Union lobbyists (employed by the union not government) menioned in the article are David Piccioli and Steven Preckwinkle of the Illinois Federation of Teachers.

    The Illinois Federation of Teachers (IFT) is one of the two major statewide teacher unions in Illinois.

    The other is the Illinois Education Association (IEA).

    IFT is present in Woodstock.

    IEA is present in most other school districts in McHenry County.

    The largest school district in which IFT is present is Chicago Public Schools (CPS), which is AFT Local 1.

    AFT is the American Federation of Teachers, which is the national affiliate of IFT.

    NEA (National Education Association) is the national affilate of IEA.

    During the time Piccioli and Preckwinkle were lobbyists, Chicago Public Schools were allowed pension holidays.

    A pension holiday is Illinois General Assembly vernacular not common vernacular.

    It means, a pension payment is skipped, meaning the current year payment to the pension fund is not made by the employer.

    Which means the employees contribute to the pension fund, but not the employer.

    Stupid. Irresponsible.

    One of the worst aspects of underfunding pensions, is the pension fund has less assets (investments), so the investment gain is reduced.

    But since it’s a defined benefit pension, the thinking has always been by the powerbrokers, who cares, the taxpayer is required by the Illinois State constitution to make up the difference.

    For YEARS CPS had pension holidays during the second Mayor Daley’s tenure.

    By the way that Daley was an elected delegate to the Constitutional Convention, along with Michael Madigan, when the pension guarantee sentence was added to the Illinois State Constitution in 1970.

    Michael Madigan went on to become an Illinois State Representative, first elected to the General Assembly in 1971, serving continuously from then and still serving today, and Speaker of the House from 1983 – 1994 & 1997 through today (Republican Lee Daniels was Speaker in 1995 & 1996).

    Richard M Daley went on to become an Illinois Senator, first elected to the General Assembly in 1972, serving from 1972 – 1980.

    John Cullerton was a State Representative 1979 – 1990, State Senator 1991 through today, and has been Senate President since 2009.

    Those elected politicians are part of the political process which created todays pension mess.

    The general public has been duped into thinking the unscrupulous State of Illinois and government employers are the reason for the pension shortfall, because they did not make their required pension payment.

    The public is not told the various methods used to game the system.

    Such as, during budgeting, re-allocating pension funding to General State Aid for Education allowing salaries to be hiked even more.

    Such as, legislators and Governors hiking pension benefits, which hikes the contribution.

    Such as, the state issuing pension obligation bonds, which have to be repaid, which will hike further contribution payments.

    That is insane.

    Why were the teachers not striking over that?

    Because the teachers thought their pension is protected by one sentence added to the Illinois State Constitution in 1970.

    Well that may be what’s written in the Constitution, but the pensions have become so underfunded, full pension payments may not be made.

    Why is that.

    Because taxpayers have a choice.

    They can move out of state.

    Taxes become too high, those who can move and choose to do so will.

    Depending on how bad things get, there could be a run on the housing market.

    That is, more people want to sell than by.

    So politicians indebting taxpayers, without the full willing knowledge of taxpayers of the scheme, could backfire for pensioners, government employees, taxpayers, everyone.

    We are now in a big guessing game.

    How much taxes will taxpayers accept before moving out of state.

    So the teachers should have been kicking and screaming all these years about all the games being played, the teachers could have gone on strike, the teachers could have educated the public about how the system really works, etc.

    But they did not.

    So that is a little creepy.

    Teachers and administrators, whom are supposed to be these altruistic people educating are youth, are deceiving us, blaming the problem on the state not making its payment, or in the case of Chicago Public Schools, the school district not making its payment.

    Chicago Public Schools is in a separate pension system from the rest of the school districts in the state.

    That is typical for Chicago and Cook County.

    Chicago and Cook county have separate pension systems from other municipalities and counties in the state.

    They are all listed in the Illinois Pension Code.

    But in the case of Chicago Public Schools, the pension fund is Chicago Teacher Pension Fund (CTPF).

    In the other school districts in Illinois, the pension fund is the Teacheres Retirement System of the State of Illinois (TRS).

    Both Chicago Public Schools and the City of Chicago face major financial problems right now with potential penalty payments to banks for interest rate swaps that backfired with the combination of declining short term interest rates and declining credit ratings for CPS and the City of Chicago.

    There is way to much funny math that was done to the defined benefit pensions in Illinois.

    Via a constitutional amendment, repeal the pension sentence added to the State constitution in 1970.

    Then renegotiate the pensions.

    The taxpayers need more negotiating tools because of all the games that have been played.

    The taxpayers have been harmed through hidden obligations and trickery by politicians, union lobbyists, union bosses, and others in the public sector.

    The taxpayers funding the schemes were not provided adequate explanation of the various schemes and the risks.

  3. Here it is.

    99th General Assembly.

    House Joint Resolution Constitutional Amendment 9

    House Sponsors: Representatives Joe Sosnowski and Tom Morrison.

    Proposes to amend Article XIII, Section 5, of the Illinois State Constitution.

    Repeals the pension sentence added to the State Constitution in 1970.

    Membership in any pension or retirement system of the State, any unit of local government or school district, or any agency or instrumentality othereof shall be an enforceable contractual relationship, the benefits of which shall not be diminished or impaired.

    The amendment would need to pass the General Assembly process and be approved by voters during an election.

    That should be the focus to reform pensions.

    The primary supporting documentation for this amendment is Illinios Pension Scam by Bill Zettler, and the Champion News Online YouTube videos featuring the former Jack Roeser during his weekly radio show on 890 AM.

    Endless attempts have been made to negotiate pension reform with public sector unions to no avail.

    Time to move on.

    Repeal the pension sentence via constitutional amendment, then renegotiate pensions.

    Taxpayers have rights too.

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