Bad news from Gov. Quinn: Illinois’ pension systems are kind of a trainwreck

posted at 8:21 pm on February 6, 2013 by Erika Johnsen

As Republicans search for ways in which the party can more effectively make its case for free-markets and slimmer tax codes as the best and most efficient means to create the healthiest, most prosperous societies, many of the country’s 30 GOP governors are looking to turn their states into models of the ways in which conservative principles can work — a feat highlighted by the WSJ earlier this week:

Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback says he wants to create a ‘red-state model’ for the national Republican Party.

How? By turning Kansas into what he calls Exhibit A for how sharp cuts in taxes and government spending can generate jobs, wean residents off public aid and spur economic growth. …

Coming off the largest tax cut in state history on Jan. 1, Kansas is now on the leading edge of a growing but still largely untested quest among conservative governors to create growth by dramatically revamping state tax codes. …

The focus on fiscal innovations in the heartland comes as conservatives nationally seek ways to revive the GOP’s standing in the aftermath of its stinging election losses last year. Bruised by the continuing budget battles in Washington, where divided government has led to near-gridlock, top Republicans nationally are holding up Kansas and other GOP-dominated states as examples of what the party might accomplish if left to its own devices.

And while many GOP governors are looking for innovative solutions to help make their states more competitive, the highly illustrative flip side of the red-blue coin is readily available from the state with the country’s worst credit rating. Reuters reports:

Illinois Governor Pat Quinn, already the most unpopular governor in the nation, has his work cut out for him at his annual “state of the state” speech on Wednesday…

The fiscal crisis caused by pension underfunding in Illinois is so bad that some hospitals wait a year to be paid by the state for insurance claims.

At the same time, teachers in Chicago’s wealthy suburbs are retiring with six-figure salaries set by school districts on which pensions are calculated, and the state pays the bill. The benefits cannot be reduced, according to the state constitution.

Illinois’ pension systems are in the worst financial shape of any state at 39 percent funded when no less than 80 percent is considered healthy. State pensions are in the hole by the staggering amount of nearly $97 billion, or $20,000 per Illinois household and nearly four times the annual state revenue. …

But economic growth in President Barack Obama’s home state has lagged the nation for decades, according to a national task force on state budget problems, and its unemployment rate of 8.7 percent is the sixth highest in the nation.

The state has been making half-hearted, gimmicky attempts to “balance” their budget via delaying bill payments, and any real reform to the system will require Democrats willing to take on the state’s organized labor interests — a daunting task, to say the least. Breaking up union-strangleholds have also been on Republican governors’ to-do lists of late, with right-to-work legislation recently passing through Indiana and Michigan, and Pennsylvania might even be on deck. Maybe Illinois should consider take a leaf out of their book? …I know, I know. I can dream.


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Really? No sh*t!

annoyinglittletwerp on February 6, 2013 at 8:23 PM

My ex-husband(a conservative, Romney-supporting AFSCME guy) HATES Quinn. Most Illinois unionistas feel as he does.

annoyinglittletwerp on February 6, 2013 at 8:25 PM

Who doesn’t enjoy watching a nice train wreck from time to time? Popcorn?

Bmore on February 6, 2013 at 8:26 PM

Geez. It’s like “Moocher Wednesday” on Hot Air or something. Bring back the overcoat and top hat.

Axe on February 6, 2013 at 8:26 PM

Quinn is a fool. He has a tremendous financial dilemma facing him, yet he also had to throw in the importance of “gun control legislation” and “gay marriage” into his speech.

Governor, you need to stick to the money problems this state has. Your gun control crap will change nothing and gay marriage will add nothing to the fiscal well-being of this state.

predator on February 6, 2013 at 8:27 PM

*Looter. Looter Wednesday. :) I have no excuse. Same phyla, in my defense.

Axe on February 6, 2013 at 8:28 PM

“The benefits cannot be reduced, according to the state constitution.”

Bah. Constitutions are made to be amended.

Dusty on February 6, 2013 at 8:28 PM

Bah. Constitutions are made to be amended.

Dusty on February 6, 2013 at 8:28 PM

What for? Hit that sucker with a lightening bolt and make it live! :)

They can borrow my equipment.

Or just ignore it. That works too.

Axe on February 6, 2013 at 8:31 PM

I wish someone could convey these “laboratory” findings. Over and over it is being proven that liberalism=fail.

KCB on February 6, 2013 at 8:32 PM

Gee…sorry to hear that.
Ohio and Texas have budget surpluses.

NeoKong on February 6, 2013 at 8:35 PM

KCB on February 6, 2013 at 8:32 PM

Tis the meaning of insanity, right?

Bmore on February 6, 2013 at 8:36 PM

Geez. It’s like “Moocher Wednesday” on Hot Air or something. Bring back the overcoat and top hat.

Axe on February 6, 2013 at 8:26 PM

…not the long raincoat that just covers the top of the socks?

KOOLAID2 on February 6, 2013 at 8:36 PM

Math is hard.

iurockhead on February 6, 2013 at 8:37 PM

Illinois Governor Pat Quinn, already the most unpopular governor in the nation, has his work cut out for him at his annual “state of the state” speech on Wednesday…

…wonder if he’ll lie?

KOOLAID2 on February 6, 2013 at 8:37 PM

T

is the meaning of insanity, right?

Bmore on February 6, 2013 at 8:36 PM

Exactly! Name one place where it is working!

KCB on February 6, 2013 at 8:38 PM

Illinois’ pension systems are kind of a trainwreckRezco….

FIFY

viking01 on February 6, 2013 at 8:39 PM

Listened to about 20 minutes of it. He kept saying “That’s our Illinois” like he was trying to create some sort of marketable catch phrase. Yes, we’re a shining example to others.

iceman1960 on February 6, 2013 at 8:39 PM

That Quinn even addressed the problem proves that it is bigger than any Democrat has been willing to acknowledge.

It might be the first time that a resident of My Progressive Little Ponyland slightly changed the hue of his rose-coloured glasses. Heaven knows that he and his fellow Democrats in Illinois have rejected historical fact, statistics, and reality to the great pain and inconvenience of their constituents…

Chart of the Day: Illinois Democrats Were Soooo Certain They Were Right And Scott Walker Was Wrong

Resist We Much on February 6, 2013 at 8:41 PM

*lightning. Sorry. Bmore’s iPad thingy. My dog ate it. Whatever.

…not the long raincoat that just covers the top of the socks?

KOOLAID2 on February 6, 2013 at 8:36 PM

I think it’s the socks that make that image work. =)

Axe on February 6, 2013 at 8:42 PM

I just left my job in IL and took one in the Indianapolis area. In the process of moving my wife and 4 children here. Time for all good tax paying people to join responsible states (if you can).

kerrhome on February 6, 2013 at 8:44 PM

OT/Flashback: How Liberals Argue

Axe on February 6, 2013 at 8:44 PM

Illinois is long gone.

States headed for the financial meltdown and then Obligatory financial rescue by D.C. (and maybe even a Federal Administration of the states themselves as a Beltway bonus).

California

Illinois

Colorado, you wait.

New York

Maryland

And besides, these state leaders will just raise taxes “on those that can afford to pay a little more” so Julio and Maria can have a baby for free, and Juanita and Kadeesha can get all the freebies they need down at Family Services.

Viva Progressivism!!

PappyD61 on February 6, 2013 at 8:45 PM

Chickens – Meet roost

redguy on February 6, 2013 at 8:45 PM

Axe on February 6, 2013 at 8:42 PM

Love the Blues Brothers!

KCB on February 6, 2013 at 8:48 PM

All Illinois will have left is gang bangers taking the scrapes that the producers left behind.
States bordering Illinois will soon start building walls to keep the gang bangers from coming into their states.

redguy on February 6, 2013 at 8:48 PM

OT/ …gg you watching Minisoda and MSU?
Big Ten reigns in BB this year…makes up for our football follies.

KOOLAID2 on February 6, 2013 at 8:49 PM

Love the Blues Brothers!

KCB on February 6, 2013 at 8:48 PM

On a mission from Gad. :)

Axe on February 6, 2013 at 8:50 PM

Is there a good list of “conservative” states out there?

MT on February 6, 2013 at 8:52 PM

Exactly! Name one place where it is working!

KCB on February 6, 2013 at 8:38 PM

The Asylums? No, that can’t be right, the ACLU did away with all those institutions. Hmm… I give, where?

Bmore on February 6, 2013 at 8:53 PM

Bmore on February 6, 2013 at 8:53 PM

Kalyfornia?

KCB on February 6, 2013 at 8:56 PM

Is there a good list of “conservative” states out there?

MT on February 6, 2013 at 8:52 PM

…oh no list…there’s only one…but it’s big!…Texas!

KOOLAID2 on February 6, 2013 at 8:56 PM

Idaho

Rusty Allen on February 6, 2013 at 8:58 PM

Quinn is a fool. He has a tremendous financial dilemma facing him, yet he also had to throw in the importance of “gun control legislation” and “gay marriage” into his speech.

Governor, you need to stick to the money problems this state has. Your gun control crap will change nothing and gay marriage will add nothing to the fiscal well-being of this state.

predator on February 6, 2013 at 8:27 PM

He also advocated for raising the minimum wage.

Quinn said the state minimum wage — currently $8.25 an hour — should be bumped up over four years to “at least $10 an hour.”

Fallon on February 6, 2013 at 8:58 PM

Is there a good list of “conservative” states out there?

MT on February 6, 2013 at 8:52 PM

Better known as The South?

….though Florida is hit or miss except for the panhandle and the People’s Republic of Palm Beach County.

viking01 on February 6, 2013 at 8:58 PM

“You are a complete moron with no hint of a rational thought in your whole body. Your mind is so fried from the drugs you did when you were a hippie, that you are now incapable of reasoning or drawing a rational conclusion from the facts. You are only interested in entertainment, and are so buried in your own narcissism, that you shun the truths of the world to fuel your own self-righteous attitude of condescension against perceived enemies of goodness purveyed by the deceitful Neo-Marxists who seek to take control over every aspect of your life and render you a slave to the state. You are the sheeple who allowed people like Obama to become elected. May you never reproduce, vote, or influence any citizen of your quackery, and may God have mercy on your soul.”

– From How Liberals Argue

Axe on February 6, 2013 at 9:02 PM

Fallon on February 6, 2013 at 8:58 PM

That’s how much I make here in TX. It’s NOT minimum wage…and I’m fine with it.
Some jobs-like mine-aren’t worth 10 bucks an hour.

annoyinglittletwerp on February 6, 2013 at 9:05 PM

Kalyfornia?

KCB on February 6, 2013 at 8:56 PM

Maybe, I do know a mentally ill fellow from there. I’ll ask him sometime. Wait….if he’s here….does that maybe suggest it isn’t working there either?

Bmore on February 6, 2013 at 9:05 PM

$97 billion.

Yah..uh…good luck with that, Illinois. Reap it.

Bishop on February 6, 2013 at 9:06 PM

Rusty Allen on February 6, 2013 at 8:58 PM

B-52′s ?

Bmore on February 6, 2013 at 9:06 PM

Yup

Rusty Allen on February 6, 2013 at 9:08 PM

With the average household’s share on the national debt at approximately $140,000 ($16 trillion/115 million households), what’s another $20,000?

I left Illinois for Michigan 20 years ago. While Detroit is the pit of pits, it doesn’t rule Michigan the way Chicago/C(r)ook County rule Illinois. Michigan is running a surplus.

bw222 on February 6, 2013 at 9:12 PM

He also advocated for raising the minimum wage.

Quinn said the state minimum wage — currently $8.25 an hour — should be bumped up over four years to “at least $10 an hour.”

Fallon on February 6, 2013 at 8:58 PM

Why stop there Quinn? Hell, make it $20, $30, $40 dollars an hour. I’ll have to drive to Indiana just to get a cheeseburger.

predator on February 6, 2013 at 9:12 PM

Ah, up goes the thread my comment was lost on. Lets see if its there.

Bmore on February 6, 2013 at 9:15 PM

just raise taxes. solved. that was easy
math is a biatch sometimes

mickytx on February 6, 2013 at 9:20 PM

Can we send a clone of Walker to Ill? Hes an expert in blue state management.

tommy71 on February 6, 2013 at 9:24 PM

Hey! Maybe Illinois can raise taxes to cover the shortfall!

GarandFan on February 6, 2013 at 9:25 PM

Schadenfreude is fun for the whole family, but sure as God made little green apples, Quinn is gonna go hat in hand to his pal Obama. And probably call in some favors. And Obama will use our Federal tax money to bail Illinois out of its self-made disaster. Which rather sours the chuckles I would otherwise have.

quikstrike98 on February 6, 2013 at 9:26 PM

A nice commentary about Quinn’s speech:

“Our Illinois” Helps Gov. Quinn Avoid “Actual Illinois”

…In Our Illinois, “small business means big business,” said Quinn and therefore, “Driving economic growth for small businesses requires doing all we can to make sure government is not in the way.” Back in Actual Illinois, small businesses are paying the fourth-highest combined national-local corporate tax in the industrialized world. In Actual Illinois, the only way to get state government to ignore your business is if you’re sitting on stacks of unpaid invoices for services rendered to state agencies…

Fallon on February 6, 2013 at 9:28 PM

My wife saw Quinn at a suburban Dunkin Donuts a few years ago.
She gave him the finger.

St Gaudens on February 6, 2013 at 9:33 PM

I spent twelve year in the Chicago area running a successful private courier business for a large management consulting firm north of the city. I loved the city and all that it had to offer, and while I despised the way the Democrats thrived in the area I enjoyed watching it. I still have a lot of conservative friends back there, too. Even so, nobody is more happier than I am to see the state drifting into insolvency. Let it rot. But that won’t happen, because dear leader will use our money to rescue it. And it’s unions. Watch and see.

HiJack on February 6, 2013 at 9:33 PM

Feds propose financial leveling for States in 3..2..
After all, that oil and gas money comes out of Federal lands
/s

notalemon on February 6, 2013 at 9:41 PM


Illinois Governor Pat Quinn, already the most unpopular governor in the nation,

Wow! I bet Govs. Deval Patrick & Lil Cuomo musta breathed a huge sigh of relief over that

BlaxPac on February 6, 2013 at 9:52 PM

This will end up in Washington as Obama will try to bail them out; the GOP in the House need to let them burn.

Tater Salad on February 6, 2013 at 9:57 PM

I hope the Dems in IL (and in CA) continue on their merry way to destroying their states. They deserve it.

I can’t wait to see retirees dumpster diving from their tent because the bankruptcy courts don’t give a damn about state constitutions or state law and will rewrite their benefit plans.

Couldn’t happen to a more deserving bunch.

mbecker908 on February 6, 2013 at 9:59 PM

Not likely PA even considers Right to Work in the near future. Corbett is going to need all the luck in the world to win a 2nd term.

reddevil on February 6, 2013 at 10:10 PM

Axe on February 6, 2013 at 9:02 PM

good stuff, you write that? DanMa’am heard some it and thought it was political Siri.

DanMan on February 6, 2013 at 10:24 PM

Here’s a dirty I stumbled on last week. Even our big Texas cities with their liberal mayors are writing off over 50% of their municipal debt by merely accepting ObamaCare as law and thus releasing them of the unfunded health care bennies their retirees think are coming to them.

Own it SEIU!!

DanMan on February 6, 2013 at 10:27 PM

Who doesn’t enjoy watching a nice train wreck from time to time? Popcorn?

Bmore on February 6, 2013 at 8:26 PM

Me! I live here. Two more years, send the Youngest Scot off to college and we are out the door. Leaving the beloved home they were all born in. I despise this state!

herm2416 on February 6, 2013 at 10:28 PM

good stuff, you write that? DanMa’am heard some it and thought it was political Siri.

DanMan on February 6, 2013 at 10:24 PM

Not mine. :) Agree it’s good stuff.

Axe on February 6, 2013 at 10:39 PM

Here’s the thing.

No one owes you anything. Notta.

Make your way in life. That’s a good thing.

I love TX, no question. Though I grew up in the old part of
Yankee New England where self reliance was all too informative.

That’s why I live, learn and love in TX.
Almost shameful, my love. Nothing shameful about it.

mickytx on February 6, 2013 at 10:53 PM

A perennial democrat state, perennially run by democrat politicians who pander to a perennial unionist base, has a broken pension system?

Causation.

locomotivebreath1901 on February 6, 2013 at 10:56 PM

’tis true
nighty-nite all

mickytx on February 6, 2013 at 10:57 PM

just make revenue more, er revenue, more…
locomotivebreath1901 on February 6, 2013 at 10:56 PM

fair share and all. just not mine, never mine.

well said.

or…

“who’da thunk it?”

Let.It.Burn

mickytx on February 6, 2013 at 11:01 PM

We shouldn’t give irresponsible states like Illinois one dime. They made their bed, now let them lie in it.

We are very conservative here in Alabama. Come on down!

sherrimae on February 7, 2013 at 12:51 AM

Doh. Maybe you can exact a tax on people fleeing the State. HEY! How about a tax on Welfare payments? That will solve the problem right their. (liberal thinking)

pat on February 7, 2013 at 1:04 AM

Me! I live here. Two more years, send the Youngest Scot off to college and we are out the door. Leaving the beloved home they were all born in. I despise this state!

herm2416 on February 6, 2013 at 10:28 PM

I know of a nice area in Ga. ; ) new home here might not be so terrible. We don’t have nearly as many trains.

Bmore on February 7, 2013 at 1:34 AM

I find it incredibly ironic that this state would do nothing to it’s own constitution, but has no regard whatsoever for the United States constitution.

D.Mockracy on February 7, 2013 at 2:18 AM

I can’t believe Brownback is getting so much attention out there. He is just like Obama, only an extreme conservative. Governing style the same. Arrogance the same. He is not very popular these days because as much as people love tax cuts, the cuts went to people like me and taxes for the poor are going up. The evangelicals love him and most other conservatives are not impressed.

bopbottle on February 7, 2013 at 4:10 AM

Let’s see

Pensions to big blue state workers are sinking

New York
California
Illinois
Pennsylvania
Michigan (among others)

Liberal reaction-increase taxes in those states
Reaction: The most significant employers and employees move to another state.
Obama reaction: Increase taxes nationwide to cover big blue losses.

This is the equivalent of spreading the train wreck around so that all can suffer a disaster caused by few.

MaiDee on February 7, 2013 at 7:23 AM

What do you expect from politicians and dumb voters? Politicians will buy votes anyway they can.

SC.Charlie on February 7, 2013 at 8:24 AM

Quinn more interested in giving illegals drivers licenses and dealing with gay marriage instead of Illinois pension and debt emergencies. Won’t get re-elected.

Amazingoly on February 7, 2013 at 9:27 AM

The Ilinois problem isn’t really the pension structure, it is that the State decided not to pay anything into the pension fund some years, and paid a fraction of the full amount needed to maintain funding in other years (the money was spent on other stuff). It is sort of like having paid the Visa bill with the MasterCard, and then the MasterCard bill with the American Express, and then the American Express bill with the Visa

krome on February 7, 2013 at 11:10 AM