CHICAGO - Crain's Marc Levine clearly lays out Governor Pat Quinn's pension proposal Friday, and argues that Quinn's plan will wrongfully allow Springfield lawmakers to escape being accountable for passing irreponsible budgets year after year. Those foolish budgets delayed paying pension obligations, while at the same time they bought up new constituents with fancy new entitlement programs. Now the Democratic leadership can't avoid the mess they've made, and Republicans are on the hot seat for going along up until just recently. None of them can continue to kick the can down the road. They're at a dead end.
So Governor Quinn and Speaker Madigan's answer? Kick the can over to local governments to pick up where the state legislature failed. That means local property taxes will be hiked, and taxpayers get taken again. Levine rips on that plan:
Recent comments from Mr. Quinn and his bipartisan pension committee indicate the real goal here may be a cost shift in which local communities, for the first time, would be forced to pay for large portions of the pension system historically paid by the state. This almost certainly would mean large property tax increases.
The governor and the General Assembly are appropriately embarrassed at the prospect of raising income taxes again. So it appears they plan to force local leaders to raise billions in property taxes instead. This is wrong. Local school boards never made pension promises — Springfield politicians did.
Read more at Crain's.