The U.S. Supreme Court has issued a groundbreaking ruling today on the case of Harris v. Quinn. The court’s ruling states that state governments cannot force-unionize participants in state entitlement programs or force them to pay union dues as a condition of receiving help from the state. The court’s 5-4 decision was in favor of the plaintiff […]

Illinois Watchdog Tax

By Brian Costin Illinois is ranked as the third-most corrupt state in the nation. And Illinoisans have by far the lowest level of trust in state government in the nation at only 28 percent. So why are lawmakers trying to make it harder and more expensive for citizens to fight public corruption? A “watchdog tax” bill that does just […]

Illinois’ pension savings greater than originally forecast? Not so fast

You may be hearing about rosy new pension estimates coming out of Springfield, but don’t be too quick to bite. A memo recently released by legislative leadership points to “good news” coming from a new analysis of Senate Bill 1 to be included in Illinois’ upcoming bond offering on Feb. 6, 2014. The memo claims […]

Pension bill’s accounting gimmicks ignores $6-$8B in debt

House Speaker Mike Madigan and proponents of the temporary pension “fix” enacted last week promised taxpayers that it would immediately reduce the state’s unfunded pension liability by about $20 billion. But despite these promises, the credit rating agencies have indicated that they would be waiting for actuarial analyses before making any decisions on how the new law […]

Smoke and mirrors

For 33 years, Clyde Tome served the city of Detroit as a firefighter. Every day he was on duty he knew his life was on the line; in one encounter with riot fires, Tome watched a colleague die. Another time, he saw a nearby fireman killed in a random shooting. For his commitment, Tome counted […]

The facts: Illinois pension ‘fix’

The 401(k) option is a fake: The bill says that some people would be allowed to participate in a 401(k)-style plan. But participation in the 401(k) option is limited to 5 percent of Tier 1 members (which includes members who were hired before 2011). Once 5 percent of these members are in the plan, it is […]

We have to pass the pension bill to find out what’s in it

“We have to pass the bill so that you can find out what is in it.” Remember when former Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi said this about ObamaCare? Well, the Illinois General Assembly is repeating that horrible mistake, and we need your help today to stop them. Illinois’ legislative leaders announced a pension […]

Backdoor pension deal

There’s immense pressure on Illinois legislators to pass a pension bill. With the state pension system nearing insolvency and credit agencies warning of further downgrades, the perceived wisdom is that any pension fix, no matter how small, is a “step forward” that must be passed. But when it comes to pension reform in Illinois, that […]

End lawmaker pensions

If you think politicians are going to fix Illinois’ crumbling pensions, you may want to see what they’ve done to their own pension fund. It’s broke. In fact, the General Assembly Retirement System, or GARS, makes Illinois’ other state-run pensions look healthy by comparison. GARS, which provides pensions to 294 retired legislators, is nearly out of […]

Stop Illinois’ next tax hike

Illinois politicians — the same people who hiked your state income tax rates by 67% in 2011 — think you need to pay even more. That’s right – even though Illinois taxpayers have already shelled out more than $18 billion in new tax-hike dollars, politicians are staging the next attempt to come back for more. Some […]