Sunday, July 18, 2010

The Illinois Taxpayer Was Treated 'Like Custer at Little Big Horn'

Champion News (hat tip: ChicagoNow) describes the gradual descent of the Illinois public sector pension into its current state of quasi-insolvency. The TRS (Teachers' Retirement System) pension deficit alone is $44 billion.

If the rules in effect in 1970 when the pension guarantee was approved were still in effect we would have approximately a $10 billion surplus in the TRS fund.

...Before 1970 there were few substantive changes to the pension rights granted to retirees. Afterwards the teacher unions worked their legislative magic and got increased benefit after increased benefit passed starting immediately in 1971. It was like Custer at the Little Big Horn - except the taxpayers didn't know about the slaughter until 40 years later.

Here is a list of just some of the pension enhancements passed by a compliant legislature at the expense of every Illinois taxpayer:

1971 - Pension maximum raised to 75% from 60%. That didn't take long.
     - Annual COLA raised to 2% from 1.5%
     - No pension reduction if younger than 60 with 35 years service.
1972 - 85 sick days (1/2 year service) allowed for early retirement.
1973 - Survivor benefits paid at age 50 instead of 55.
1978 - Annual COLA raised to 3% from 2% (not compounded)
1979 - ERO (Early Retirement Option) allowed.
1980 - Retiree health insurance program established.
1982 - Employer pick-up of employee contributions allowed.
1983 - Unmarried children over 18 eligible for health insurance coverage.
1984 - Sick leave credit upped to 170 days from 85 days.
1990 - 3% COLA compounded.
1990 - Survivors get COLA.
1990 - Disability and pensions added for part-time and substitute teachers.
1991 - Retiree health care premiums 75% subsidy.
1998 - Waive Early Retirement cost - 34 work-years becomes 35 years for pension.

Each legislative step led the Illinois taxpayer closer and closer to ruin.

Public sector unions have been waging war against the very hand that feeds them for decades.

Whether these unions are disbanded legislatively or crushed through other means, disband they must.

1 comment:

Don Sensing said...

Taxpayers treated like Custer at the LBH? Sorry, no. Custer got to fight back.