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Archive → May 18th, 2016

AFSCME workers have become some the highest-compensated state workers in the nation

For years, Illinois taxpayers haven’t been represented at the bargaining table between Illinois’ largest government union and the state. Illinois’ former governors cared more about appeasing the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees than protecting the taxpayers the governors were supposed to represent. That’s how AFSCME workers have become some the highest-compensated state workers in the nation.

Now the union is working overtime to remove Gov. Bruce Rauner – who actually represents taxpayers’ interests – from labor contract negotiations. The union supports House Bill 580, which would strip the governor of his ability to negotiate. AFSCME wants the current contract dealings turned over to unelected arbitrators who are likelier to decide in the union’s favor.

AFSCME wants to remove the governor from contract negotiations because union officials know Rauner will not agree to outrageous demands. Union leaders are demanding $3 billion in additional salary and benefits for union members in a new contract. They’re seeking four-year raises ranging from 11.5 to 29 percent, overtime after 37.5 hours of work per week, five weeks of vacation and enhanced health care coverage. Those additional demands would come on top of the costly benefits that AFSCME workers already receive.

Here are four facts about state-worker compensation the union doesn’t want taxpayers to know:

1. Illinois state workers are the highest-paid state workers in the country

Illinois state workers are the highest-paid state workers in the country when adjusted for cost of living. Illinois pays its state workers more than $59,000 a year, far more than its neighbors and nearly $10,000 more than the national average.

Moreover, state AFSCME workers have received salary increases not matched in Illinois’ private sector.

Median AFSCME worker salaries increased more than 40 percent from 2005 to 2014, reaching more than $62,800. During that same period, median private-sector earnings in Illinois remained virtually flat.

2. AFSCME workers receive Cadillac health care benefits

In addition to paying state workers the highest salaries in the nation, Illinois taxpayers also subsidize a majority of AFSCME workers’ Cadillac health care benefits.

The average AFSCME worker receives the ObamaCare equivalent of platinum-level benefits, but only pays the equivalent of bronze-level insurance premiums. That forces a vast share of AFSCME workers’ health care costs onto state taxpayers.

AFSCME workers pay for just 23 percent of their health care costs, or $4,452 a year. State taxpayers pay the remaining 77 percent, or an average of $14,880 per worker.

3. Most state workers receive free retiree health insurance

The state also subsidizes 100 percent of the health insurance costs for state retirees who spent 20 or more years working for the state. Such a benefit is almost unheard of in the private sector.

This benefit costs taxpayers $200,000 to $500,000 per state retiree. An ordinary worker in the private sector thus would need to have $200,000 to $500,000 in the bank before retirement to purchase the insurance most retired state workers get for free.

4. Career state retirees on average receive $1.6 million in pension benefits

Thanks to unrealistic pension rules, career state workers – meaning those who work 30 or more years – will average $1.6 million in benefits over the course of their retirements.

That’s on top of Social Security benefits, which nearly all state workers receive. In addition, over half of state workers end up retiring in their 50s.

It’s not fair that Illinois residents, struggling with stagnant incomes in one of the nation’s weakest economies, continue to subsidize AFSCME benefits to such an extent.

Many other unions that contract with the state have recognized that taxpayers can’t afford higher taxes to fund even greater pay and benefits for state workers. Officials from more than 17 unions, including the Teamsters, understood the depth of Illinois’ fiscal crisis and agreed to affordable contracts with the state.

AFSCME, which represents a mere 0.5 percent of Illinois’ total labor force (35,000 state workers out of a total 6.5 million workers), is putting undue pressure on the state and its finances.

The General Assembly needs to allow the governor’s veto of HB 580 to stand.

Instead of increasing benefits as AFSCME has demanded, the state should work to bring its employees’ total compensation more in line with what the private sector can afford.

Ted Dabrowski

Vice President of Policy

Source: Will County News

Stop Obama Regime’s Wrecking Ball for Your Neighborhood

Stop Obama Regime’s Wrecking Ball for Your Neighborhood


http://willcountynews.com/2016/05/13/obamas-to-force-suburbs-to-be-less-white-and-less-wealthy/   Video

If you live in a quiet, middle class suburb, your neighborhood has a target on it, and Obama and his apparatchiks are aiming right at you. Ask yourself if adding a high rise full of subsidized, Section 8 housing will help or hurt your property values. You can do something about it right now.


From https://swordattheready.wordpress.com/tag/affirmatively-furthering-fair-housing/



Do you want the federal government to impose racial quotas, based on its racialist “disparate impact” theory on every neighborhood in America?

We have been warning you since prior to the 2012 election that the Obama Regime (here, here, here, here, and here) is determined to destroy traditional suburbs, which leftists despise, characterizing them as bastions of “white privilege.”  It’s called Affirmative Furthering Fair Housing, and it needs to be stopped.

I have urged you to pay attention because what these Marxist cockroaches have been doing hits you, LITERALLY, where you live. I’ll say it again: VOTING IS NOT ENOUGH. So take action now.

Go to this site, obamazone.org, and send a sample letter just like this one in under 30 seconds:

Senator Mike Lee has introduced an amendment to the Transportation and Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) appropriations bill defunding implementation of the “Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing” rule. Please support the Lee amendment to defund racial quotas in local zoning decisions, and I urge you to sign the attached pledge, “Defund HUD racial and income housing quotas” at http://getliberty.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/DefundHUDRacialHousingQuotasPledge.pdf .

Under the regulation, in October HUD will be empowered to condition eligibility for community development block grants on redrawing zoning maps to create evenly distributed neighborhoods based on racial composition and income. This has nothing to do with true housing discrimination based on race, which has been illegal since the 1960s. Zoning only determines what can be built, not who can live in a community, and it is disingenuous for the Obama administration to suggest otherwise with its overreaching rulemaking

In Westchester County, N.Y., a trial run for the rule has already occurred where HUD has attempted to rezone six cities, 19 towns and 20 villages as a condition for receiving $5 million of grants. Rather than submit to federal rule, County Executive Rob Astorino simply rejected the money from 2012, and Westchester lost out on some $7 million of grants from 2011 for the same reason. 

This is just the beginning, and left unchecked, the impact of this regulation will be felt nationwide. In 2012, HUD dispersed about $3.8 billion of these grants to almost 1,200 municipalities. By virtue of accepting the grants, under the rule, each of these 1,200 municipalities will be forced to comply with HUD’s racial zoning edicts.

Under the Constitution and principles of federalism, local zoning decisions are left up to states, counties and municipalities to determine for themselves. At a time when the Supreme Court is roundly rejecting racial quotas as unconstitutional, there is no place for wasting taxpayer dollars on a radical agenda that will never withstand judicial scrutiny.

The House of Representatives has already acted, defunding implementation of the regulation two years in a row. Now, it is the Senate’s turn to act. Senator Mike Lee has introduced an amendment to the Transportation and Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) appropriations bill defunding implementation of the “Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing” rule. Americans for Limited Government strongly supports Lee’s amendment to defund racial quotas in local zoning decisions, and is urging senators to sign the attached pledge, “Defund HUD racial and income housing quotas.”

Every Senator should support the Lee amendment to preserve local decisions over community development, and to stop the Obama administration’s attempt to impose racial housing quotas on suburban neighborhoods.


Ms. Teri OBrien

– See more at: http://teriobrien.com/action-alert-stop-obama-regimes-wrecking-ball-neighborhood/#sthash.hlrk8JzU.dpuf

Source: Will County News

Are You Getting The Picture? They play Candy Crush at meetings

Pat Hughes headshot 2014 WEB

Are You Getting The Picture?

By Pat Hughes


Heading into a general election that promises to be political blood sport, State Representatives Kate Cloonen (D-Kankakee) and Mike Smiddy (D-Port Byron) gave Illinoisans a clear understanding of what they have been getting for the past two years and what they will be getting if these two are re-elected in November.


Cloonen Candy Crush

In one picture, Cloonen and Smiddy demonstrated to the officeholders and newspapers who endorse them exactly what they’d have to explain and rationalize for another two years.


In one picture, they reminded families and businesses that they, in fact, do not share the view that the state is at a crisis point. They don’t feel your pain. And, they are not interested in advancing policy solutions to help make your life better.


In one picture, Cloonen and Smiddy made it clear that all of their supporters will be spending the next two years doing exactly what they have done for the past two years: defending failed ideas and incompetent politicians.


Last week, Representatives Cloonen and Smiddy were caught on camera playing Candy Crush on the floor of the Illinois House during a budget debate. There are some who will claim that those of us who criticize Cloonen and Smiddy are just making political hay over a single moment of boredom on the House Floor. Before you count yourself among them, consider some of the events that have taken place on the House floor during the tenure of these two gamers:


  • Mike Madigan – a man who just 20 percent of Illinoisans view favorably – has been re-elected House Speaker twice on a straight party-line vote.
  • Irresponsible budgets – billions of dollars out of balance – have been sent to the Governor’s desk.
  • Numerous mandates have been placed on businesses, the costs of which are passed on to families and individuals in the form of price increases (HB 922, HB 923, HB 3619, HB 3655, HB 3761).
  • Educational Opportunity has been diminished and devalued (HB 3937, HB 5397, HB 397, HB 1369).
  • And, in perhaps the most honest demonstration of their values, Illinois Democrats voted to fund their own salaries in the event of a Government Shutdown. Meanwhile, state workers would see their own salaries slashed or experience layoffs (SB 274).


Vigilance is demanded. Critical thought is necessary. Courage and principle have never been more important. And, yet Cloonen and Smiddy could scarcely be bothered to look up from their I-Phones during debate.


The photo did not capture an “off-moment.” The photo captured the quintessential Illinois Democrat: uninterested, uninformed and out-of-touch. They don’t have to pay attention to debate in order to inform their vote. All they have to do is vote the way party bosses tell them to vote. For this, they will be guaranteed generous campaign funding from public sector unions, trial lawyers, and Speaker Madigan and his cronies.


That’s what they do. That’s who they are.


The people of Illinois are struggling. We have the highest unemployment rate in the Midwest. We have the second highest property taxes in the nation. Families are being driven out of their homes by a skyrocketing cost of living. We have an unfunded pension liability so large that it can never be funded. We have the lowest credit rating in the nation. Social service organizations have had to close their doors because Democrats would rather play games – literally – than pass a responsible balanced budget.


And if nothing changes by November, those who support Cloonen, Smiddy and their colleagues will have doomed Illinoisans to more of the same – or worse. However, we can break free. We can insist that politicians work for us. And we can reject them when they don’t.


That’s what we do. That’s who we are.


Democracy doesn’t thrive under the thumb of kept politicians, entrenched special interests and political monopolies. Democracy thrives on innovation, talent and competition. We have the power to end the reign of the Chicago Machine and cut ties with Speaker Madigan and his seat-warmers once and for all.


On November 8, let’s send Kate Cloonen and Mike Smiddy a message they will understand: Game Over.

Source: Will County News