By Jim Bowman
He framed the problem as usual as one purely of meeting retirees' payment schedule. Never as fiscal issue threatening everyone in the state.
Asked why there had been no urgency in solving the pension problem, he denied the need for urgency. The state was in crisis "according to a tough standard . . . assuming pensioners live to 90." And even by that standard, the state had 32 years before the money would run out.
He harked back again to Democrats' 2010 pension solution -- a staple of his crisis-talk rebuttal -- that raised retirement age and reduced benefits for new hires. However, a 1995 Republican solution, re-amortizing the debt, he called inadequate.
They both were inadequate, said the fiscally cautious Illinois Policy Institute. There had been "perhaps no bigger fake reform" than the Republicans' of 1995, which had done nothing but allow Governor Jim Edgar and others "to stand tall" for having "solved" the problem.
But "even more" fake reforms were to come, perpetrated by Democratic governors Blagojevich and Quinn, "with their large Democrat majorities," including "issuance of pension obligation bonds and Tier 2 reforms that fix nothing," the institute said. The band-aids had an inglorious history.
Republicans of '95 were no bargain either.
From Illinois Blues: How the Ruling Party Talks to Voters— available in paperback, epub and Amazon Kindle formats.
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