As many people know, Illinois is a fiscal mess and a national leader in out-migration.  To turn Illinois around, how about our elected officials Take the Pledge this November?  Will our elected officials endorse these eight suggestions?  Does any of these suggestions apply to your state?

1. Illinois is sinking in pension debt.  Moving to a 401(K)/403(b) defined contribution plan for all new State of Illinois hires with the ability to put all newly hired public-sector (municipal, school, etc.) employees on a defined contribution plan as well will finally put a cap on unfunded pension liabilities and give certainty to businesses and job-seekers about the future of Illinois.  Illinois recently moved to Tier 3 pensions, hybrid defined benefit-defined contribution plans that include a defined benefit component.  This hinders the ability of public-sector employees to seek private-sector employment without compromising their defined benefit plan.

According to Reuters (February 2018), Illinois has an unfunded public pension liability of $129 billion.  This is up from $111 billion in 2016.  Moving new public-sector hires to a defined contribution plan caps unfunded pension liability.  In addition, the funds in the public-sector employee’s account belong to him – allowing him to move freely between public- and private-sector employment without losing his 35% funded Illinois pension.  No more public-sector job lock, no more collecting multiple pensions, no more unfunded pension liability – a win for all.

2. Freeze public-sector hiring until we have shrunk the state workforce by 11.5% via attrition.  Assuming a 4% turnover, this should take three years.  The average cost per state employee (wages, benefits) is $97,545.  Shrinking the payroll by 11.5% saves taxpayers at least $839 million in payroll cost, allowing Illinois to start working down the size of the unfunded pension liability.  Those in need of state services will receive their services at a slower rate while a greater role for technological efficiency is implemented – but they will get their services.

3. Repeal the 32% tax increase that went into effect July 1, 2017.  In theory, this income tax increase generated $5 billion of revenue.  In reality, it just continues to drive productive citizens and businesses out of Illinois.

4. Reduce taxing bodies.  How about that Richmond Cemetery District?  Those 13 miles of road handled by the Vernon Township Highway Department (Michael Lofstrom, highway commissioner)?  School districts should be combined so that the district is accountable to the student, kindergarten through 12th grade.  There is no reason for any community to have two highly compensated superintendents (and administrations) with limited accountability.  Some of this is a local control issue, which we need to address on a local basis.  All the same, using the bully pulpit to advocate for less taxing bodies serves the interests of the resident can only help in turning Illinois around.

5. Work requirement for SNAP and Medicaid.  By requiring that those receiving state assistance work 20 hours per week, Maine was able to reduce the number of Medicaid participants by 80,000 people.  Assuming that Illinois was 65% as effective as Maine on a per thousand basis, we would reduce the Medicaid rolls by 500,000 people, saving taxpayers $3.3 billion per year.  Those working in the cash economy who falsely claim the need for SNAP and Medicaid will now need to make a choice: work 20 hours per week to receive their SNAP and Medicaid, or exit the rolls.  Reducing the SNAP and Medicaid rolls should be a point of pride, since this means more of our population is self-sustaining.  Transitioning to the private marketplace and reducing the SNAP and Medicaid rolls are an accomplishment that should be celebrated.

6. Close the public-private pay disparity.  According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average public-sector employee earns $48.78/hour.  The average private-sector employee earns $33.55/hour.  Yes, you read that right.  Public-sector employees make 45.4% more than you, Mr. Private-Sector Worker.  This unconscionable gap needs to be closed via slowing down the rate of pay increases below the rate of inflation, shifting more of the cost of the health insurance and pension onto the public-sector employee – just as the private sector has done.  It isn’t a race to the bottom; it is a race to financial sustainability.  There has been a lot of talk about the gender gap in employee pay.  We need to address the pay gap between public and private employees and close it over the next 20 years.

7. Create representative districts drawn by an independent panel, as done in Iowa.  Many states have gerrymandered their districts.  To what end?  Uncompetitive races have only suppressed voter participation in our democracy.  Other states gerrymander – that doesn’t make it right.  Our gerrymandering has led Illinois to the depths of financial despair, with people leaving the state at the clip of 114,779 in 2017.  Over 563,000 citizens of Illinois signed the petition in 2014 (and again in 2016) for the Illinois Independent Redistricting Amendment for just this, only to be suppressed by our court system.

8. Term limits.  Term limits are universally supported by people of all shapes and sizes.  They are not supported by career politicians.  Their magnificently gerrymandered districts guarantee them political careers that enrich their families (I won’t name names) at our expense.

None of these eight suggestions results in the loss of public services to those in need.  No one loses his job.  It shows the needed maturity to address our challenges head on and a seriousness about turning our great state around.

You want my vote?  Let me know you are taking The Pledge.

As many people know, Illinois is a fiscal mess and a national leader in out-migration.  To turn Illinois around, how about our elected officials Take the Pledge this November?  Will our elected officials endorse these eight suggestions?  Does any of these suggestions apply to your state?

1. Illinois is sinking in pension debt.  Moving to a 401(K)/403(b) defined contribution plan for all new State of Illinois hires with the ability to put all newly hired public-sector (municipal, school, etc.) employees on a defined contribution plan as well will finally put a cap on unfunded pension liabilities and give certainty to businesses and job-seekers about the future of Illinois.  Illinois recently moved to Tier 3 pensions, hybrid defined benefit-defined contribution plans that include a defined benefit component.  This hinders the ability of public-sector employees to seek private-sector employment without compromising their defined benefit plan.

According to Reuters (February 2018), Illinois has an unfunded public pension liability of $129 billion.  This is up from $111 billion in 2016.  Moving new public-sector hires to a defined contribution plan caps unfunded pension liability.  In addition, the funds in the public-sector employee’s account belong to him – allowing him to move freely between public- and private-sector employment without losing his 35% funded Illinois pension.  No more public-sector job lock, no more collecting multiple pensions, no more unfunded pension liability – a win for all.

2. Freeze public-sector hiring until we have shrunk the state workforce by 11.5% via attrition.  Assuming a 4% turnover, this should take three years.  The average cost per state employee (wages, benefits) is $97,545.  Shrinking the payroll by 11.5% saves taxpayers at least $839 million in payroll cost, allowing Illinois to start working down the size of the unfunded pension liability.  Those in need of state services will receive their services at a slower rate while a greater role for technological efficiency is implemented – but they will get their services.

3. Repeal the 32% tax increase that went into effect July 1, 2017.  In theory, this income tax increase generated $5 billion of revenue.  In reality, it just continues to drive productive citizens and businesses out of Illinois.

4. Reduce taxing bodies.  How about that Richmond Cemetery District?  Those 13 miles of road handled by the Vernon Township Highway Department (Michael Lofstrom, highway commissioner)?  School districts should be combined so that the district is accountable to the student, kindergarten through 12th grade.  There is no reason for any community to have two highly compensated superintendents (and administrations) with limited accountability.  Some of this is a local control issue, which we need to address on a local basis.  All the same, using the bully pulpit to advocate for less taxing bodies serves the interests of the resident can only help in turning Illinois around.

5. Work requirement for SNAP and Medicaid.  By requiring that those receiving state assistance work 20 hours per week, Maine was able to reduce the number of Medicaid participants by 80,000 people.  Assuming that Illinois was 65% as effective as Maine on a per thousand basis, we would reduce the Medicaid rolls by 500,000 people, saving taxpayers $3.3 billion per year.  Those working in the cash economy who falsely claim the need for SNAP and Medicaid will now need to make a choice: work 20 hours per week to receive their SNAP and Medicaid, or exit the rolls.  Reducing the SNAP and Medicaid rolls should be a point of pride, since this means more of our population is self-sustaining.  Transitioning to the private marketplace and reducing the SNAP and Medicaid rolls are an accomplishment that should be celebrated.

6. Close the public-private pay disparity.  According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average public-sector employee earns $48.78/hour.  The average private-sector employee earns $33.55/hour.  Yes, you read that right.  Public-sector employees make 45.4% more than you, Mr. Private-Sector Worker.  This unconscionable gap needs to be closed via slowing down the rate of pay increases below the rate of inflation, shifting more of the cost of the health insurance and pension onto the public-sector employee – just as the private sector has done.  It isn’t a race to the bottom; it is a race to financial sustainability.  There has been a lot of talk about the gender gap in employee pay.  We need to address the pay gap between public and private employees and close it over the next 20 years.

7. Create representative districts drawn by an independent panel, as done in Iowa.  Many states have gerrymandered their districts.  To what end?  Uncompetitive races have only suppressed voter participation in our democracy.  Other states gerrymander – that doesn’t make it right.  Our gerrymandering has led Illinois to the depths of financial despair, with people leaving the state at the clip of 114,779 in 2017.  Over 563,000 citizens of Illinois signed the petition in 2014 (and again in 2016) for the Illinois Independent Redistricting Amendment for just this, only to be suppressed by our court system.

8. Term limits.  Term limits are universally supported by people of all shapes and sizes.  They are not supported by career politicians.  Their magnificently gerrymandered districts guarantee them political careers that enrich their families (I won’t name names) at our expense.

None of these eight suggestions results in the loss of public services to those in need.  No one loses his job.  It shows the needed maturity to address our challenges head on and a seriousness about turning our great state around.

You want my vote?  Let me know you are taking The Pledge.



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