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Comment: Honoring Pension Promises (Score 3, Interesting) 386

by Dak Halliday (#42165187) Attached to: Khan Academy: the Future of Taxpayer Reeducation?

Hate to have to say this about Illinois Governor Quinn.

I don't think Illinois Governor Quinn intends to honor any promises made to Illinois retirees. Typically, retirees took below market wages for decades in exchange for promises of a decent pension with cost of living (COLA) increases to partially compensate for inflation, and paid health insurance. Employees had to accept hefty deductions for the pension itself and additional deductions to fund a COLA. The State was supposed to match those contributions. In addition, many employees were asked to forgo eligibility for Social Security. This was so the State wouldn't have to kick in their required Social Security contribution.

I've read the legislation Quinn and his allies have been trying to run through. He wants to sock retirees with the full cost of health insurance, and make them forgo their COLA. Some of these retirees are making less than $12,000 annually, and may not be able to keep their homes if Quinn's proposals go through. Governor Quinn asked the families of retirees to talk to them over Thanksgiving dinner. My kids told me that I should not agree to give up any part of my retirement benefits. They weren't sure they could afford to support me. They said I should not trust Governor Quinn.

It turns out that the State hasn't been making their matching contributions, and in some cases the State may actually have side-tracked employee deducted contributions. In addition, the State of Illinois has been promising tax breaks to wealthy corporations - promises they can't make good on if they have to pay what they owe retirees.

"Mr. Watson, come here, I want you." -- Alexander Graham Bell