Talking to Springfield about pensions

Evanston aldermen are scheduled to vote this evening on a resolution asking the state legislature to do something about police and fire pensions.

As with the resolution the council recently adopted calling on the federal government to adopt comprehensive immigration reform, there's no particular reason to believe the pension resolution will have any measurable impact.

But unlike the immigration resolution, the pension proposal is extremely modest in its goals.

It meekly asks the legislature to stop the ruinous practice of caving into union demands for ever-enhanced pension benefits.

Instead it should demand that lawmakers:

  • Roll back the benefit increases they've burdened municipal taxpayers with in recent years.
  • Permit municipalities to switch from defined-benefit to defined-contribution plans for new hires in their police and fire departments.
  • Develop a plan to role up the underfunded local public safety plans into a state-wide plan run on a fiscally-sound basis, such as what at least appears to be the case with the Illinois Municipal Retirement Fund.

If we're going to invest in the cost of paper to send a message to the legislature, at least the message should comprehensively address the problem.



Defined benefit holdouts

The private sector's been forced to set aside for health care and retirement out of current income that unions and government don't. Imagine the knock down, drag out fight that would have to take place to make government live like the rest of us.

Put them all into 401K's, and make them buy their own health insurance. Then and only then would we see government willing to solve health care and retirement problems.


It always seemed to me that as I and my fellow retirees met our part of the bargain that the City of Evanston would be equally honorable in honoring theirs. I am disappointed to discover that my assumptions may not be true. My great grandparents, grandparents, parents and I called Evanston home for many years. Were they around today I am sure they would be as ashamed over the City's position in this funding debate as I am.

Those days are over

The days of public sector employees enjoying salary and benefits that far exceed their private-sector counterparts has to come to an end. We are in the midst of what could be a lengthy recession and the taxpayers are simply not willing to pay for these outsized compensation packages anymore. I am not going to feel sorry about someone losing their pension because I don't have one myself. I certainly am not going to feel sympathy for the loss of exorbitant medical benefits that I do not enjoy. The unions have had the taxpayers over a barrel for years, and now the tables are going to turn . . .