Back in December, Gov.-elect Bruce Rauner said Democrats had concocted a "booby-trap budget" that would detonate just as he took office. He was right. But is Rauner setting another trap with a new pension reform plan he proposed last week? Rich Miller of Capitol Fax explains.
Set aside the fact that both Rep. Elaine Nekritz and Sen. Daniel Biss, who both worked very hard on the legislature's pension reform law, cannot fathom how Rauner's proposal to move every state employee and public school teacher into the lower-cost "Tier Two" pension plan on July 1st will actually save that much money in the first year, or "immediately" knock $25 billion off the state's massive unfunded liability. Let's just take him at his word on this one, as supremely difficult as that likely is.
The problem with the plan is that he's counting on that $2.2 billion "savings" to help balance the budget next fiscal year. All those who believe that a judge won't almost immediately stop the plan's implementation, as another judge did to the last pension reform law, please raise their hands.
I didn't think so.
There is no way on God's green Earth that the state can rely on that $2.2 billion savings next fiscal year. It's a complete and utter fantasy, which makes this yet another dishonest budget.
(Read the rest of Miller's thoughts on Rauner's budget plans at Reboot Illinois.)
It's not just individual Illinoisans with strong opinions on Rauner's budget ideas. Eric Weinheimer, the president and CEO of Donors Forum, a group of Illinois nonprofits, said he believes that the proposed budget would make life in Illinois unduly difficult for Illinois' philanthropic organizations. He urged the governor and the state's legislators to work together to create a plan that both balances Illinois' budget and creates an environment that allows Illinois' philanthropic sector to thrive.
(Check out Weinheimer's thoughts at Reboot Illinois.)