Illinois needs Governor Walker to fix some of its problems

Illinois needs Governor Walker’s assistance regarding public employee benefits and collective bargaining and to help straighten out the fiscal mess like he did in Wisconsin.

Many teachers in the state don’t pay anything toward their pension but can retire in their mid-fifties with annuities equal to 50 – 60% of their final pay, plus a 3% compounded cost of living increase each year.


The (Illinois) state’s pension bill, which has quadrupled in five years, consumes all $7 billion of additional revenue from last year’s income and corporate tax hikes. Even so, the pension funds are projected to go bust in a decade.

The Chicago School district is $700M in the hole, but the teacher’s union still insists that its membership take a strike vote. The union wants more bargaining power “at the table” says the union president.

If the union continues to demand a 24% increases in pay for an extra hour of work, the “table” will be an autopsy gurney for the school district, the city of Chicago and the state.

The union also wants contract language to reduce class sizes, the old bargaining technique to increase dues paying members under the guise of we are “doing it for the kids.”

Bond rating agencies have threatened to lower the Illinois bond rating two notches if the state doesn’t do something about its pensions. The pensions are threatening the state’s entire fiscal structure.


Illinois has a $9 billion backlog of unpaid bills—and squeezing local budgets, thereby making municipal defaults more likely. Mr. Emanuel is warning that retirement costs could drive up Chicago’s property taxes by 150% over the next three years and increase class sizes to 55 students.

Governor Quinn and the General Assembly have tried to increase public employees contributions to their pensions, or raise the retirement age by a couple of years, but the unions are threatening a lawsuit if lawmakers approve any reforms to their benefits.

They argue that reducing pensions for current workers and retirees is illegal and the plan is coercive. But state and federal courts have ruled that lawmakers can tweak benefits if necessary to protect public welfare. Minnesota and Colorado have defended their pension reductions on those grounds.

The legislature did not pass pension reform or any reduction in spending. Their solutions are either increases in taxes and fees or shifting state expenditures to the school districts and the community colleges.

This is about where Walker entered the fray in Wisconsin, but the voters in that state provided him with a majority in both houses to allow passage of the collective bargaining restrictions, save millions of dollars for school districts around the state and to turn a state deficit into a surplus in less than two years.

With the corruption in Illinois, even Governor Walker may be challenged.


Lawmakers are way behind the voters on this one. By a three-to-one margin, voters favor reducing pension benefits over paying higher taxes.



  1. Yet the School Boards cave every time when teachers strike! Quinn and the dems have no interest in changing the system, as they show with their phoney delay tactics, rather they look for “solutions” to keep the money pouring in. The teachers are just spoiled rotten, as you stated, by paying next to nothing and retiring in their mid-50’s. Taxpayers have to WAKE UP like in Wisconsin, but as long as the Chicago Machine is in charge, don’t hold your breath.

  2. JRM_CommonSense

    It is not only teachers, but ALL public employee groups that need to be reined in and required to live by the same rules as the people who pay their salaries..

  3. Truth About Energy

    The voters must constantly be reminded that the most corrupt acts are often legal acts. The inaction of these elected officials has caused more damage than even the actions of Rod and George.

  4. Such incestuous behavior between politicians and government-sector workers, is exactly why notable liberals as FDR, thought such unions were a bad idea.

  5. matt emigholz

    I think everyone needs to look at this pension problem from both sides the pensions that the public employess get are mostly funded by the employees i personally pay into this pension system which is mandated (without an option). the legislators are the ones whom have chosen over many years not to put any additional money towards it. but yet everyone seems to think that its the employees fault. Im sure that everyone in this state would like a fair return on their investment! if the private sector employees were contributing their own money they would feel the same way don’t bash the unions because they expect what the have paid for and were promised. and as far as the retirement benefits these were also promised so in fact they are a form of deferred income so if the ste chooses to remove these benefits then the employees need to be compensated. as far as wages go, I ve worked in both the private and public sector and I can guarantee as far as my job goes I made a whole lot more in the private sector benfits included. before you make a blanket statement about wages and benefits know the facts. In my opinion this all boils down to rights of the people. the more you take away the more you’ll never get back. Its just a matter of time before the government controls everything!!!!!

    • Ted Biondo

      Matt – welcome to the blog. The problem is not just that the legislators have underfunded the pensions except IMRF by $80B or more, but the fact that the pensions are too lucrative to start with. No one in private industry has a pension with the expected value of these outlandish expenditures of tax dollars.

      Private industry has done away with defined benefit plans – too expensive. No one in the private sector has 3% compounded COLA’s – they don’t even have COLAs at all. And the relationship between the Democratic legislators and the public unions are obvious because not only do private employees not have pensions like these but your pensions are based on 8% or higher return on investments. Tell me where I can get that return and I’ll have a bridge for you to buy!

      It’s a lie fomented by the Chicago controlled General Assembly and the unions went for that dream return and you expect the taxpayers of Illinois to pay for it – is crazy!!! What are you people going to do when the state goes bankrupt? This is the real other side of the pension problems.

  6. Matt, the private sector pays 7.5% of their income towards SS and their retirement age is 67. How does your union job compare to that? I agree, part of the problem with the discussion is there is such a vast difference of how one union operates compared with other unions. I heard some cops can retire after only 20 years. Some unions pay zero towards benefits and others are mandated. Yes, it would be nice to bring the unions with the rediculous arrangements up to a level playing field without bashing all of them. That’s not right.

  7. Denny Wallace

    “….Many teachers in the state don’t pay anything toward their pension but can retire in their mid-fifties with annuities equal to 50 – 60% of their final pay, plus a 3% compounded cost of living increase each year….”

    #1 They retire at 75% of ending earnings…. Where are you getting 50-60%

    #2 The 75% of ending earnings + COLA is bad enough abuse of the Taxpayer but the ability to collect beginning as early as age 55-56 is insane.

    #3 Age 55-56 Early retirement should be something you earn and not be an entitlement just because you showed for work about 6,000 days without getting fired. (fyi 6,000 Teacher work days in a career only = about 25 “work” years for everyone else.

    #4 100% of all Teacher Contributions paid toward their pensions are paid back to the teacher + 7% compounded interest earnings by age 66-67 years old…. Afterwhich time, 100% of the Teachers pension is paid for by the Taxpayer.

    #5 Sooner or later we must apply an “LIFE expectancy” adjustment factor to Defined Benefit Pensions… In the 1930’s or 1940’s paying someone’s pension after age 65 was no big deal as few people lived long enough to cause it to become a burden… Yet today…. MOST everyone is causing such Taxpayer paid largess to become a burden to all.

    #6 People are in much better health come retirement (age 55-65 or even 70+ years old)… What we need is a way to ease retirees into retirement where there work week gradually decreases (i.e. Earnings too)….

    #7 Comparing todays retirees to 1940… I’d suggest most people age 70-75 are in better overall condition\health vs those who suffered through post depression era…. So why treat Retrement age the same?

  8. Noonecaresanymore

    This article, among so many others, is the reason I stopped paying for the newspaper. I’m saddened that I was even compelled to get on and read it this morning.

    • Ted Biondo

      First “No one cares anymore,” you weren’t compelled to get on this site and read anything, especially this post. I think your “comment” is what is sad. Is that all you had to say? Don’t you want to prove what I posted was wrong, or not factual. Illinois is one of the most corrupt states in the U.S., and that’s all you wanted to say?

      No, instead you come out with the typical liberal emotional drivel and say nothing about the facts concerning either Illinois or Wisconsin. This isn’t a debate of the issues like others who comment on this site. I’m saddened that I wasted time reading your comment! That’s why I’ll stop answering comments like yours from now on.

      I care – No one cares anymore – or I have wasted my time writing these 700 posts in the last two years. I want people to see the other side of the issues that the liberal media doesn’t cover. You have my permission to not read anymore of my posts, Ok?

  9. Truth About Energy

    State Representative Jim Sacia:

    Since we’ve returned home from Springfield, I continue to look at hundreds of emails much like this one: “I am a teacher that votes … Teachers did not cause this problem, past and present legislators are to blame.” No, not totally true!

    In the 10 years I’ve been in the legislature, three times we have either borrowed the money (on two occasions) or once omitted the state’s yearly payment (approximately $4 billion) to the pension fund. Each time the teachers unions (all) and the state employee unions (all) agreed to go neutral meaning they did not object to the bill.

    Why would they do that? Simple, they negotiated a perk, such as step increases for those soon to retire to enhance their retirement. Many rank and file union members angrily respond to me that it didn’t happen that way. Oh yes it did. Do you really believe bills of that magnitude would pass without unions backing away? Never happen!

    Poor noonecaresanymore! Don’t care anymore, but no one cares about your entitlement anymore.

  10. matt emigholz

    For all your info I to pay social security if you all dont want me to have a pension convince the state to let me invest my own money instead of mandating and just taking it. and if you dont have some kind of cola your pension is depleteing its value from the time you start to recieve it I for one surely demand a return on my investment doesnt social security for thethe most part usually get some kind of cola? I agree this stuff is all out of whack but the public employees shouldnt be the only ones taking the hit lets make cuts across the board if the state did that we wouldnt be here I also pay a healthy chunk of my paycheck for the benfits i currently recieve you all are under the assumption that all state workers have these plush jobs and get all these free benefits once again know the facts the majority of the state workers recieve a modest at best salary!!!

  11. Noonecaresanymore

    Good points, Ted Biondo. And by “good” I mean sloppy. Yes, I was compelled. But thank you for “proving” me wrong. I never indicated in my post that you are wrong. I have found that attempting to lay out facts, or open-minded opinions for that matter, on this website does nothing but frustrate people and cause unnecessary angst. I do, however, enjoy reading oppositional opinions and broaden my own. The hit teachers in this community have taken mentally is a travesty.

    The excellent news is that I don’t care if you think my comment is “sad”.

    I am a teacher. Since the day I turned 18 I have voted Republican and have been conservative through and through. You choose strong adjectives about “liberal emotional drivel” with little empirical evidence yourself. I DO believe there is a need for union reform, undoubtedly. However, what I find the most disheartening about what happens in this city is the lack of questioning about OTHER things happening. For example, a substantial amount of people were deeply angered by the teacher strike. Strike ends. Administration gets raises. Talk of tax payer money being spent on other things increases. The whole situation becomes ironical, if you will.

    I’m probably in the minority of teachers that believes unionization could use some reform. You specifically cite the deficit in Chicago Public. We, too, had a deficit. We even have talks of more deficits coming. Yet, again, few question the money being utilized for other things than teachers.

    Strong teachers are necessary in large cities. We have many. Denny Wallace, if you’re going to jump in with some rubbish about “superstar teachers” you can put little typing fingers down for a second. I happen to be one. I won’t prove it to you, because I don’t have to.

    Unions have protected teachers, students, and parents from oversized classrooms, where I GUARANTEE, parents who care will be outraged. I’m not only a teacher, I’m a parent. I’m not going to waste anytime trying to prove or disprove anything. Fact: We can’t prove anything on here. List a bunch of statistical information and more statistical information from the opposing side will appear. I can tell you about factual information coming out of some Wisconsin school districts. But It will be countered by the usuals on here.

    I think it would be interesting to know how many of the usual suspects go to their bosses/administration, whatever, to ask for pay cuts because they would like to save their companies a little money.

    Mr. Biondo, as it turns out, I’m a very open-minded citizen. I’m tired of extremists from both sides coming forward to solve nothing. Middle ground exists…we just have to find it.

    • Ted Biondo

      Interesting comments, No one Cares anymore. Your first comment didn’t have any facts, but made emtional comments about my post, right? However, as far as the deficit in the budget is concerned – what deficit? I will assume you are speaking of RSD205.

      The district was in debt before Thompson became superintendent. But the district has increased the surplus from $26M in 2006 to $144M today. Finally, I have always stated that teachers, based on merit, not seniority or even degree, but based on success, should be paid whatever. They could be mentors for other teachers and paid accordingly to duplicate themselves many times over – surprised?

  12. Noonecaresanymore

    Truth about Energy… And MY point is proven. No one cares about your entitlement? Exactly what disgusts me. At what point have I acted entitled to anything? Seems to me like the person who is entitled is you. Entitled to make comments that are completely untrue and based on nothing. But, bringing me back to my original point… thank you for reinforcing, Truth about Energy.

  13. Denny Wallace

    “…For example, a substantial amount of people were deeply angered by the teacher strike. Strike ends. Administration gets raises. Talk of tax payer money being spent on other things increases. The whole situation becomes ironical, if you will….”

    So Admsinistrative pay raises are wrong… especailly considering most (unlike Teachers) have gone without pay riases or even minimal pay raises for many years?

    All Administration didn’t get pay raises (again unlike across the board pay raises for ALL Teachers)… + at least pay raises of Administration are based upon merit… and of course Adminsitration doesn’t have the one-size-fits-all mentality of the Teacher Union where everyone is paid the same (assuming seniority\education are equal)… Adminsitration (hopefully) are paid based upon the demands of the job and to the quality of work performed…

    “…of tax payer money being spent on other things increases. ….” Oh so investing in maintenance of schools and capital investments through possible bond referendums is the same as drawing a line in the sand trying to gain control of costs of operating our schools?

  14. Denny Wallace

    “….Unions have protected teachers, students, and parents from oversized classrooms…”

    The unions “protect the interests of the Adult Teachers far more than the interests of the Kids… Yet of course just my opinion.

    However, FACTS ARE… It doesn’t require Teacher Unions to control class size… who you crapping to suggest differently…

    Every single conditions, procedure, school policy can and would be managed just fine if the Teacher Union disolved tomorrow…

    You can’t seriously believe that 2,000 + PROFESSIONAL Teachers couldn’t stand-up for themselves just like all other working Professonals do everyday?

    What possible motivation could Administration… School Board or community in general ever have to implement anything that adversely affects Public school Education?

    Please tell me the last time the teacher UNION EVER MADE CONTRACT PROPOSALS that were only for the benefit of students? Answer…. NEVER.

  15. Noonecaresanymore

    I’m glad you threw in the word “hopefully” because it proves you don’t REALLY know. Or do you? You, Mr. Wallace, sure enjoy throwing your Jedi mind tricks into all your posts. I’ll stop commenting now. Have a magnificent time thwarting people from reading your comments anymore. I’d been warned, but I didn’t listen.

  16. Denny Wallace

    “….We have many. Denny Wallace, if you’re going to jump in with some rubbish about “superstar teachers” you can put little typing fingers down for a second. I happen to be one. I won’t prove it to you, because I don’t have to. ….”

    So correcting the unfairness of many Teachers being underpaid is rubbish?

    So adding an army of part-time help for each and every classroom Teacher is rubbish?

    So putting the Teachers in-charge through Self-Directed Work teams is Rubbish?

    So demanding the Full-time Professionals (Administration and teachers) be held accountable is Rubbish?

    FYI Never, ever have I suggested any Teacher or full-time Education Professional in general has to prove anything to Denny Wallace…

    I admit I’m a rookie, amateur yet demanding more out of the Full-time Professionals is hardly the same as proving anything to me…

    So finding seeking out and finding the middle ground = your right and I’m all wrong? Interesting concept.

  17. readingmike94

    yet ted the legislative body will get paid overtime to do what they should have done in the regular session where is the outrage and the calling out of sen severson and others?
    they are going to pocket an extra $100 a day for not doing their work (denny where is that outrage) i demand senators and representives to show me where the money went actual documentation of gifts to others or statement saying we kept it they are taking our tax money and keeping it for not doing their job!
    on the second note where is the outrage about pensions lawmakers get they get full benefits after how many terms? (ahem one) where is the outrage over that???
    on a third note i would like to see both parties jefferson and severson show me independent votes not on the party line we pay our lawmakers big bucks yet they are at the whim of either the dictator madigan or the gop whip there is no independent voting i dare them to show me (either side of the aisle 10 votes that were not strictly along party lines that is the real problem in illinois

    • Ted Biondo

      readingmike – Why would I call out Senator Syverson or any of the Republicans in the General Assembly? How do the Republican House members or the senators have any votes to force anything. All three branches of Illinois government are controlled by Chicago Democrats – they control the whole process. The blue party keeps returning them year after year – go talk to them!

      I will not hold the minority party guilty of going home after all the Democrats have adjourned the assembly and left town – would you?

  18. The next time some Liberal tells you that what conservatives propose will “hurt the children”, ask if they remember this?

    National Education Association’s retiring top lawyer, Bob Chanin, speaking at the NEA’s annual meeting in July, 2009:

    “Despite what some among us would like to believe it is not because of our creative ideas. It is not because of the merit of our positions. It is not because we care about children and it is not because we have a vision of a great public school for every child. NEA and its affiliates are effective advocates because we have power.”

    “And we have power because there are more than 3.2 million people who are willing to pay us hundreds of millions of dollars in dues each year, because they believe that we are the unions that can most effectively represent them, the unions that can protect their rights and advance their interests as education employees.”

    “IT IS NOT BECAUSE WE CARE ABOUT CHILDREN” Remember these words, exactly as they were spoken.

  19. Denny Wallace

    “…I’m glad you threw in the word “hopefully” because it proves you don’t REALLY know….”

    So I guess you come from the crowd suggesting every former Teacher who crosses over to Adminstration suddenly becomes dumb as hell or just mean spirited such that their only goal in life is to make life miserable for teachers?

    No one in Adminstration is anygood?

    Further more… I clearly admit I really don’t know who in Administration (and Teachers too) are good… bad or ugly when it comes to work performance… Yet obviously it is possible to figure this out… Not by rookie, amateurs like me…. (nor part-timers) but certainly Education professionals are well qualified to do so…

    Isn’t the foundation to Education based upon a teachers ability to assess performance and to objectively assess the work of others (i.e. their students)…. Why can’t such experience and proven skill be applied to assessing their Peers… same to for Adminstration?


    What are teachers so afraid of?

    So your taunts and dis-information appears to be your efforts to play Jedi mind games

  20. Noonecaresanymore

    And like I clearly stated TED, facts get you nowhere on this RRSTAR website. They are all countered with random BS from right-winged, close-minded know-it-alls. You want to see emotional? Go read somewhere else. I stated facts, about myself and unions. You and Wally should go hang out together. This newspaper blows…. my mind with propaganda. PS- Wally, I never indicated administrators don’t deserve raises, or are sooo terrible. NEVER indicated that. I indicated that people who read and comment to this newspaper website question the same things over and over, but clearly let other things slide by. Have a nice evening gentlemen. I officially wash my hands of all things related to this newspaper.

    • Ted Biondo

      Goodbye, No One Cares Anymore. It looks like you don’t care either!

  21. Denny Wallace

    You didn’t say Administrators don’t deserve raises? Well absent saying what you mean how is someone to interpret this “…Strike ends. Administration gets raises….”

    + lack of any commentary about Adminstration just more Teacher Union Propaganda about how they are the only one’s protecting the kids or looking out for the kids interests… Hmmm I guess suggesting Adminstration would just stand by and let kids\teachers get abused…

    “…I stated facts, about myself and unions….” I see opinion… taunts, rants and mudslinging but FACTS… looks to be just your view of the world but that doesn’t = FACTS (Even if turns out true it’s just your opinions)

    I wonder which person from my past has become the all-knowing, self-rightous person who only talks about a desire to “finding the middle ground”… yet action count more than words.

    “Offically wash your hands”? Looks like you made up your mind to do that a long, long time ago….

  22. matt emigholz

    to juice,

    my union job already makes me retire at 67 i also pay 7.5% to social security and payt at least an additional 4% to this pension system where in my private sector job I made 20% more salary and didnt have to pay anything into the pension system the compnay i worked for paid into it for me along with paying all insurance premiums. so it boils down to what company you work for. IF you cant get the job you want its nobodys fault but your own (not directed at you juice). look past the bs and in the future it will compnanies running everything firing at will this really boils down to rights . the pension arguement is just the begining wait and see.

  23. Denny Wallace

    “…Yet, again, few question the money being utilized for other things than teachers. …”

    So how much should we be spending on Teachers if approximately $166,000,000 million dollars isn’t sufficient in our 5.5 to 6 hour schools lasting all of 172 full school days per year?

    That = $6,000+ spent directly on Teachers per each student… So how much more do you suggest we need to spend on Teachers to achieve the Education success our community deserves?

    You taunt with “…. few question the money being utilized for other things than teachers….” Well what more do we need to spend on Teachers is spending $6,000+ per student isn’t enough?

    I’m truly interested in talking about (maybe even finding) the middle ground… are YOU?

  24. Denny Wallace

    “…my union job already makes me retire at 67 …” I think that’s protected by age discrimination laws… Not sure anyone can be FORCED to retire…

    “…i also pay 7.5% to social security and payt at least an additional 4% to this pension system where in my private sector job I made 20% more salary and didnt have to pay anything into the pension system the compnay i worked for….”


    I can assure you the Pension plan in the Private sector didn’t provide 75% of ending earning as early as age 55-56 + free medical insurance + COLA on the Private Pension Plan…

    Social security pays COLA but most private pension plans do not and SS is no more than most people pension… i.e. the non SS retirement earnings don’t increase with COLA.

    “…so it boils down to what company you work for….” I agree but that’s not anywhere close to jobs paid for by the Taxpayers… There is no supply and demand its just gimme, gimme, gimme and we gotta take the painful steps to regain control… SIMPLE FACT… WE CAN’T CONTINUE PAYING OUT THE STATE EMPLOYEE PENSION PROMISES… JUST A FACT!

    “…compnanies running everything firing at will….” Except for the 20-30% of Gov’t jobs it’s been employment at will for 30+ years…

    “…the pension arguement is just the begining wait and see….” YEP but it’s the maga-costs of pension promises that are breaking the bank and gotta be reigned in…

  25. JRM_CommonSense

    Social Security DOEs NOT pay a COLA every year. This year we got a small increase but we got no increases for the previous 2 years. Just so you know!

    • Ted Biondo

      JRM is correct on the Social Security COLA stats. Just thought I would add my statement to yours, JRM!

  26. Truth About Energy

    “For all your info I to pay social security if you all dont want me to have a pension convince the state to let me invest my own money instead of mandating and just taking it.”

    – Workers in the private economy have no choice with respect to SS. According Juice, your annuity will have paid out everything that was added too it 12 years after you retire. Perhaps you should be placed on SS, like everyone else, at that point. Oh, I am sure that you would not object to that embrace of equality…pshhhh

  27. Denny Wallace

    What’s the nonsense about “if you all dont want me to have a pension …”

    I’ve never heard anyone suggesting someone should get a FAIR Pension… but the defition of fairness is the only thing I’ve heard bantered about…

    + Try retiring earlu under Social Security where even a year or two cuts your SS benefits in half….

    Everyone but Teachers are lucky to retire at 60-65% of ending earnings…. + that’s at age 65-67 years old…. Not age 55-56 years old collecting 75% of ending earnings + free medical until eligible for medicare…

    Yet stating such simple commonsense = “…BS from right-winged, close-minded know-it-alls…”

    Imagine that!

  28. matt emigholz

    let me make this as clear as i can if you dont want me to have a pension tell them to let me invest my own money instead of just takin it I damn sure could do a better job than the government can I

    • Ted Biondo

      I have to agree with Matt in this case. I’ve been saying the same thing for decades about Social Security, and even considering the drop in stocks – it came back, I would have been hundreds of thousands ahead if I did it on my own with just an S&P index account.

      Social Security is, or soon will be (means testing) just another wealth transfer tool. Right now it is a generational wealth transfer.

  29. JRM_CommonSense

    Sorry, but retiring 2 years early DOES NOT cut your Social Security in half. How do I know that? Well, I retired at 62, three years ago and I lost 20%. What I lost was not worth working an additional 5 an 1/2 years. Besides that, when I reach retirement age, I can pay back every cent that I got from SS to date, and get full retirement payout from that date forward, no penalty. Smart people know that this is equivalent to getting an interest fee loan from Uncle Sam that can easily be paid back with proper planning and sound financial management. How does that sound!

  30. Denny Wallace

    I stand corrected… Obviously I’m guilty of hyperbole in my example of suggesting your benefits are cut in half retiring a couple years early…

    Let’s say your full retirement age is 66 and your monthly benefit starting at that age is $1,000. If you choose to start getting benefits at age 62, your monthly benefit will be reduced by 25 percent to $750 to account for the longer period of time you receive benefits. This is generally a permanent reduction in your monthly benefit.

    However, in SS example the maxium early retirement option is 5 years and your SS Benefits would be reduced by 30%

    My hyperbole was misleading and I’m sorry for that… Yet it jusy goes to show the HUGE VALUE of an Early retirement option that pays you 7% of ending earnings as early as age 55-56 years old…

    The best anyone can do in the private sector is to retire 5 years early (age 60 to 62)… Yet they take a 30% hit on retirement earnings… well below 50% of ending earnings

  31. readingmike94

    and the crickets keep chirping is there an article or outrage about the pensions lawmakers receive?

  32. JRM_CommonSense

    Missed that change Ted. However, since I started investing in zero coupon municipal bonds 10 years ago as the means of repaying the early social security, I will be able to let all of those bonds reach full maturity before cashing them in. The federal tax free nature of these bonds actually make this a windfall situation for me now that I won’t be paying SS back. Thanks for that info Ted. I hope you had been following the same plan and will reap the same benefits.

    • Ted Biondo

      JRM – I’m sure you are aware because of your comments about investments, that if people can afford it, retiring early at 62 and investing their SS benefits for four additional years, causes the crossover point where the reduced benefits at 62 yrs old finally equal the full benefits at 66 yrs old, to increase to 80 or 81 years old, from the 77 or 78 years old without investing the benefits.

      And I also agree with you in that taking the SS benefits early (62) and making use of investment strategies while you are young is much better, than if you receive 20% increased benefits when you chose to retire at 66, and so what if you have a few more bucks when you are in a nursing home with the home collecting most of your extra benefits.

  33. Carol Foster

    Next time you turn on your favorite music, or stop and look at the picture on the wall that brings you pleasure, remember what you’ve said here about emotional drival. It’s actually the creative spirit that seperates us from the apes. To discount it so casually is to make all of mankind inconsequenctial and ignore God’s plan for us.
    Even if you’re a non Christain or non God believing individual, to write-off another’s strong feeling in any matter under discussion is unacceptable behavior and poor manners. It’s a bully tactic used by non listeners.
    You referenced that poster as a “liberal” because they didn’t agree with you. Your form of name calling to demean those who don’t agree with you. Turns out you were wrong as usual and that person was a lifetime Republican.
    Maybe in the future you might want to ask posters for their political party before you insult their opinions by calling them “drivel.” Before you unfairly lump them into any group you feel can’t possibly have the right to an opinon or feelings in the matter at hand. Perhaps you might even want to consider not allowing those who don’t conform to your opinions to post here so they won’t annoy your thought processes.
    Before you listen to your favorite tune, be sure you find out its’ writers etc. political origin to see if it’s OK for your listening pleasure.

    • Ted Biondo

      Carol, we are separate from the apes also because of logic and common sense and due to the current technology that allows us to escape from that environment, not just creative art, etc. I seem to remember a lot of art on the walls in the caves where our former ancestors lived! The technology was needed to get us out of there.

      Of course, I was an engineer and cannot draw anything, but I do appreciate those who do, and I attend plays at RVC all the time, OK?

      I don’t care if people agree with me or not, Carol, but I don’t want them to try and control how I spend my money and I do not want them to take it from me and give it to someone who hasn’t earned it the way I did. I do charity for those things that I think actually helps people, not something that someone else thinks help people.

  34. Joe Melugin

    The Wisconsin legislature last year increased what public employees must pay toward their pensions. Before the law passed, workers paid less than 1 percent of their salaries –in some cases nothing – toward pensions. Under the new law, public employees pay 5.8 percent to 6.65 percent, according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Pension benefits themselves were not changed.

    Most Illinois public employees already pay more than that. Teachers contribute 9.4 percent to their pensions, state university employees pay 8 percent, judges pay 11 percent and legislators pay 11.5 percent. State employees pay 4 percent if they also contribute to the Social Security system and 8 percent if they do not.

    Wisconsin pensions are in good shape because the state of Wisconsin as employer didn’t skip its pension payments like Illinois as employer has done for most of the last 40 years. How does Wisconsin have enough money to make its pension payments, despite its state employees paying less into the systems than Illinois state employees?

    Individual income tax rates

    Illinois: 5% (after being 3% for 20 years)

    — 4.6 percent on the first $10,070 of taxable income.
    — 6.15 percent on taxable income between $10,071 and $20,130.
    — 6.5 percent on taxable income between $20,131 and $151,000.
    — 6.75 percent on taxable income between $151,001 and $221,660.
    — 7.75 percent on taxable income of $221,661 and above.

  35. Carol Foster

    Well, Ted, as usual, your responce isn’t about anything except money. And it’s all about you and your money.
    You say nothing about how you treated a fellow Republican, and others here, but we are all happy to know you take in a play at the college. Guess that’s your token sign of something, but I’m not sure what it infers makes your behavior acceptable.
    One thing we can say that’s true about you is you’ve insulted some Republicans unknowingly here as you’ve insulted “liberals.,” so even if by accident,your an equally bad mannered person and maybe that’s your virture?
    As for not caring, and this is only my personal opinion, that makes you one devil of a fibber in the matter.

  36. JRM_CommonSense

    Ain’t never seen a Brinks car following a hearse!
    Ain’t never see a hearse with a luggage rack!
    AND, if your last expense is to have your ashes dumped off the Lanai Deck on a the Carnival Dream as it is docking at Cozumel, then you have planned well. The only drawback is that you will never have margaritas and ceviche at Pancho’s Backyard to end the day again!

  37. Denny Wallace

    Say Carol don’t act so surprise when you look for reasons to be offended and then find what you are looking for.

    Keep up the good work Ted… even though at times you and I must agree to disagree…

  38. Truth About Energy

    Sales taxes are much lower in Wisconsin, as is the tax on gasoline.

  39. readingmike94

    wow I am surprise ted and denny denny you always make the comments that1. there shouldn’t be a one size fits all model yet the state legislators make a nice pension (look it up) yet they vote along party lines (dem and rep) they dont stray from the party line (look it up severson and jefferson have voted party line nearly 100% of the time)
    2. how should a lawmaker from chicago make the same as one from centralia? and ted you always complain about pensions why the silence over the pensions that our lawmakers receive? and even in this recent reform bill passed they exempt judges why??
    3. how many terms does it take to get a state pension if you are a legislator? (the answer is one) so nice pension and work if you can get it (ted why not the comparison to private sector?) you both criticize teachers and other state employees why not our legislators?
    4. heck in the private sector if you dont get the job done you dont get paid now even if you work in a group and that group doesnt help you in an organization none of you should get paid yet ted despite the dems failure the gop will be lined up with the public holding the bill they all get the $100 a day plus expenses so where is the outcry? where is the demand and proof that they actually gave the money to others?

    • Ted Biondo

      I’ll check it out Readingmike94 – the “lucrative” legislative pensions but I might have to compare them again to the TRS. I think the legislators get the IMRF, but I’ll check – might be a good topic. Thanks.

  40. Denny Wallace

    #1 So Pension Plans compare to Job Descriptions and Pay scales? + Your Pension is calculated the same way for all is not + to paying everyone the same wages.

    #2 Because I don’t whine about something doesn’t = I agree with it… IT’S CALLED PRIORITIES!.. Politician Pensions aren’t even a pimple on the butt of the problem you are ranting on…

    #3 I don’t criticize Teachers…. or certainly not most all Teachers… State Employees never much commented on them. What I criticize is the total unreasonable logic applied to the taxpayer paid give-aways that are so out of line with everyone else in the community… + how Teachers ignore (or at least won’t admit to) the winning-lottery ticket size payday they recieve… Yet continue to bemoan how underpaid they are.

    #4 And you are think with the State Billions of Doolars in debt you want the public outcry to be about $100\day plus expenses we pay politicians? How clueless is that lame talk?

    Best you got?

  41. readingmike94

    wow! 1. yes all lawmakers receive the same compensation and they get paid the same amount of money so it is what you are always carping about you miss the point lawmakers get the same amount of money yet it is the sen majority and minority whip and the house speaker and minority leader who draw up the legislation who determines what lawmakers will vote on and how they will vote on party line and esp madigan nothing gets in the house without his ok so these four men make all the legislative decisions for the body (either house or senate) yet every lawmaker gets a nice check how does that work??

    2. yet if pensions are the number one priority and it is how hypercritical is it to suggest teachers state employees take a cut yet if you serve one term you get a huge pension and until recently you get the cost of living increase) and you dont get your own house in order (i think that is why there was a revolution somewhere ) the elites the lawmakers can get a pension and a nice one yet they throw the union under the bus and although it is small it speaks volumes for the entitlement mentality they have among themselves

    3. in terms of number you and ted compare private sector to public sector all the time where is the outcry that they get $100 a day plus expenses for not doing their job again its not the money it is the message they send out yet there is no outcry try calling severson or jefferson on this (we give the money to .. yet it cant be proven and the point is they should have never got it in the first place!!
    4. it is the logic denny how can lawmakers criticize pensions yet they get a generous one for serving one term how can they criticize cola until last term they got cola? how can they criticize union workers yet they get paid extra if they dont do there job? it is out of line what everybody who is not
    elected? 5. it is the perception in the state of illinois nothing gets done without the czar and now that it is overtime you need the minority party (it worked both ways when the gop was in power) yet for the average lawmaker they do nothing they are sheep they do what mikey and in both cases what the party leadership tells them why then do we need to vote for any lawmaker when they are robots what do they do that deserves a paycheck?? that is the point of this rant

  42. readingmike94


    read this link from the chicago tribune talking about the pension benefits of lawmakers

  43. readingmike94

    General Assembly Retirement System
    The General Assembly Retirement System was established in 1947.

    A member is eligible to retire when they meet the following requirements:

    •At age 55 with 8 years of credited service.
    •At age 62 with 4 years of credited service.
    General Assembly Retirement System $71.6 million 29.2 percent $245.2 million

    I am just saying largest unfunded program it is funded at 29% and unfunded balance beats the teachers by almost 3 to 1 margin

    you can look it up its not imrf they have their own retirement system as does the the judges retirement system did you know they (judges) make twice of what anybody else makes?

    if you go online ted the evidence suggests it is the single largest unfunded pension system 🙂
    General Assembly Retirement System
    The General Assembly Retirement System was established in 1947.

    A member is eligible to retire when they meet the following requirements:

    •At age 55 with 8 years of credited service.
    •At age 62 with 4 years of credited service.

  44. readingmike94

    wow denny no quick retort? (the tribune saw it the same way I did) to facts it is more than a pimple (more than any other retirement system in unfunded liability both in terms of % and in actual dollars) and ted will we see a column about this?

    • Ted Biondo

      readingmike94, I have it in my stack of things to look into – if it’s what you are saying I will write a column. Since there are only a 177 legislators and fewer administrators, I think it might be a stretch to say that these pensions are more than the retirement systems – in actual dollars – to those of hundreds of thousand of public workers, but I will keep an open mind.

      However, rereading the Chicago Tribune article, I see you are talking about more than just the legislators, but are including chicago alderman and other municipal employees. It still requires me to look at all the data. Thanks.

  45. readingmike94

    it is ted look into the info i presented in terms of unfunded liability it is more than any other system and it terms of % funded it is the smalles
    t it has unfunded pension amounts more than twice any other system that receives print ie teachers, state employees
    it is the biggest secret the general assembly retirement system
    it plays right into conservative’s hand since when was being an elected official deserving of a retirement system? lawmakers were never intended to serve years upon years yet they do it was to be a way of returning something back to the country i do admire school board officials they get no pay and alot of grief state legislature members not so much

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