A bipartisan group of legislators… Democrats and Republicans. Conservatives and Liberals. They came together to produce 62 votes in the House and 30 in the Senate to pass a pension reform bill that is projected to save $160 billion over 30 years and make adjustments in the retirement age and compounding COLAs that will help strapped Illinois taxpayers. It was not a great bill. It did not go far enough. But it is probably about the best reform bill that can pass chambers with super-majorities of Democrats.
There was justification for a NO vote too. Especially those who voted NO, like Senator Kirk Dillard, primarily out of disappointment that the bill was not subject to a public hearing process over at least two legislative days. Rep. David McSweeney voted NO because he was uncomfortable with some of the numbers, and wanted an Amendment to ensure that the bill would be redone if the non-partisan analysis of the savings projections did not pan out. So a principled yes vote was possible. So was a principled no vote.
NBC 5′s The Ward Room wrote about how pension reform passing hurts the Rauner campaign by taking an issue away from him. This is why he was so hostile to the plan, even though many big business leaders had signed on to support the bill.
Here are some key graphs from the piece:
Earlier this year, Crain’s Chicago Business detailed how Rauner’s career in private equity and great wealth was built in part on public pension dollars:
Mr. Rauner, a millionaire who retired as GTCR chairman last year in anticipation of a run for the state’s top office, led a firm with more than $10 billion under management largely from public pensions nationwide, including the biggest in Illinois. After earning millions of dollars from this work, Mr. Rauner says he wants to use his insights to overhaul the state’s pension system, the worst in the country in terms of meeting its obligations
Wow, lot of insider dealing there.
Rauner’s pretty much put himself out on a limb here. His outsider campaign strategy relies on voters believing his business experience and lack of a political career means he alone can ride into Springfield, deal with the union members who have paid into the current system and make the necessary changes down the road.
Any deal that doesn’t essentially replace the current system with something else seemingly doesn’t do Rauner any good.
Unless he wasn’t really serious about what it would take to solve the problem.
So the self-described outsider, non-politician, is playing politics with a $100 billion problem. Just a preview of the type of ineffective Governor he would be if, by some miracle, he won the primary and the general.