CHICAGO - One powerful Chicagoan - listed as Chicago's richest with a net value of $4.4 billion and among Crain's Chicago top 100 Clout list - emerged Friday in a Chicago Tribune op-ed, slapping down Springfield's top four legislative leaders' pension agreement to be voted on next week during a one-day session.
Citadel LLC founder and CEO Ken Griffin criticized the Madigan proposal, which includes:
- raising state workers’ retirement age on a sliding scale
- setting up a state funding guarantee
- introducing a 401(k) option
- reducing the employee contribution.
- limiting annual cost of living increases to reflect annuity payments, based on length of employment
- providing authorization for unions to sue the state if the full amount required for pensions is not paid each year
Griffin writes the deal will ultimately force the state of Illinois to break its promises to government workers. He says there's no way Illinois will be able to provide the pension security it says it will:
The proposed legislation provides for modest reforms of our broken pension system coupled with guarantees that payments to government employee pensions will come before paying for schools, hospitals, parks, police or fire protection. This isn't a reform, but rather a fiscal death sentence: The state would be stuck with pension funding requirements that squeeze out all other priorities and tie the hands of future leaders.
The bitter truth is that our politicians have sold government employees a fraudulent bill of goods. Absent extraordinary economic growth, our state is going to collapse under the weight of generous pension promises made by union leaders and politicians. And with each passing day, the $100 billion gap between what has been promised and what is provided for grows by roughly $5 million.
Here is where this story will inevitably end: Our state is going to be forced to break its promises to our government employees and retirees. They will receive less than they bargained for. Our state's taxpayers will see the 67 percent "temporary" tax increase converted into a permanent tax increase. And soon we will hear that even further tax increases are needed to meet our obligations. This is the price we are all going to pay for sending the wrong leaders to Springfield for too many years.
The REST is HERE. Besides heading Citadel, Griffin also serves on Republican gubernatorial candidate Bruce Rauner's finance committee. Griffin's comments could prepare the way for Rauner to make a public statement against the proposal at a tricky time - just when Republican state lawmakers are picking their favorite in the GOP gubernatorial race.
Only State Senator Bill Brady has thus far committed on how he plans to vote next week in Springfield on the proposal. Brady told Associated Press write Kerry Lester that he will support the pension deal.