Gov. Quinn recently reaffirmed his plans to completely restructure public employee pension plans. He touts these pensions as the main cause Illinois is so far in debt. Once again, he’s nuts.
When an employee gets paid, Social Security is withheld, and the employer also has to pay an equal share. This is very similar to the public employee pension plan. What the Legislature has done for years is withhold the employee’s share of that pension, but it hasn’t put its share into the pot. What would happen if the state refused to pay its share of Social Security? Federal violation.
If I were to choose not to pay my mortgage for several years, I could reasonably say at the end I don’t have enough money to pay all that mortgage buildup. That’s exactly what the Legislature and governor are saying about the pension plan. They finally owe about $85 billion to the retirement fund, and they can’t afford to pay it. Furthermore, they want us to pay it, or they want to take away our retirement. That’s stupid.
I worked 41 years for the state, and all along they promised me such and such for a pension. I retired July 1, and I expect that pension. It’s nothing but wrong to renege on that promise. No different if a person worked a lifetime and paid Social Security, then at retirement, he’s told the government is going to severely reduce his benefits.
For years, our union made proposals to the state regarding how to fix the budget problem. All the legislators could answer was, “If I voted to do that, I wouldn’t get re-elected.” The Legislature kept pushing it back each year until finally members decided to try to do something about it. But what they’re trying to do is completely wrong – it’s immoral.