10 ways to address the village financial crisis

Now that the Illinois Supreme Court has overturned the Illinois Pension Reform Act, the Resolution opposing the States defunding of municipalities through a tax goodie is moot. There are many who will try to pin the blame on the new governor, and some, especially those who won’t do their due diligence will buy into that hooey. Rauner-vs.-Madigan

The truth here is that, at the State level,the government pension systems have been underfunded for many years mainly because they used overly optimistic estimates for their investment returns. The Wall Street fueled collapse and resulting losses just made things many times worse. Sadly, the local governmental agencies have made the same egregious errors expecting largess to come from a now admittedly bankrupt State of Illinois.

A P foxes in the hen house

There IS a solution, although no one, not the politicians, not the unions and certainly not the taxpayers are going to like it… it will be very bitter medicine, indeed. #1 Admit Politicians promised to much to retiring Gov’t employees, (in the case of Morton Grove, just look to the police and fire pensions, how much they have been underfunded. The unions milked the public while in bed with the politicians).

DiMaria behind the curtain

#2 Government employee unions have co-ownership of the Pension funding mess by demanding so much in taxpayer paid giveaways. (think pay-to-play politics). Just how many union dollars have gone into the campaigns of village, township and school-boards?

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#3 No current or past Government worker\retiree has done anything wrong in collecting (or expecting to get) the retirement benefits promised them. They did the work, they deserve the promised reward. #4 FACTS ARE >>> MISTAKES were made (and now got to FIX THE MISTAKES OF THE PAST) promising what the politicians knew then Taxpayer could never afford to honor in the future. #5 It’s not a question of IF WE FIX ARE MISTAKES OF THE PAST… SIMPLY A MATTER OF WHEN WE MAN UP TO THE FACT WE HAVE NO CHOICE… i.e. We can’t possibly pay more out to retired government workers then we do to pay for Public schools and State Government services.

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#6 Future State employees retirement plans are what MUST BE CHANGED… Those already retired should not suffer from the mistakes of the past… It’s not their fault politicians (and Government Employee unions) were stupid enough to give away pension perks we never possibly could afford.

#7 Doesn’t matter if changing the Taxpayer Paid State pension rules (Game) is unfair… We gotta do what we gotta do IN THE FAIREST WAY POSSIBLE (to Taxpayers and FUTURE government employees who retire)

#8 Bottom-line…. Government Employees deserve no more (and no less) than what is typically offered retiring employees in the Private sector.

#9 There are HUGE COSTS to even a few years of early retirement… same for compounding COLA increases, overly generous survivor benefits and discounted (even free) retirement health care coverage.

#10 End the boondoggle of taxpayer giveaways (many times Cash Bonuses) just to bump up end-of-career earnings artificially inflating LIFETIME + COLA State Workers retirement checks, (that has been especially egregious in the case of teachers at the Niles High Schools).

The question facing Morton Grove now is EXACTLY WHAT IS PRESIDENT DiMARIA’S PLAN? He needs to come out with it clearly in plain language so that we know where we stand and what the village is going to do to solve this crisis we face.

screwupfairy

You were elected to LEAD Mr. DiMaria. It’s time to stop the happy talk flim-flam, slicky used-car salesman’s palaver and be straight with the people. The KING

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Resolved???

Talk about getting taken for a ride. Morton Grove News warned about this Action Party bus to nowhere during the recent campaign specifically in promises made and lack of concrete results and the false hope that Village President DiMaria had an actual plan.

bus to nowhere

Now, we are told that the village board has passed a resolution to protect the funds the village receives from the state and a resolution responding to Gov. Bruce Rauner’s “Turnaround Agenda.” Morton Grove affirmed it wants local control at the village level and rejected state-mandated laws that cost the village money to enforce.

Wasn’t it DiMaria who was just recently telling us how it was such a good deal to be spending our tax dollars to pay a lobbyist to insure that Morton Grove got state dollars? Morton Grove News said then that the promised state dollars were a fantasy and that the money spent on the lobbyist was a wasted crony-driven payoff for political purposes.

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Well, guess what? There are no State of Illinois dollars to be had! (gasp!)… imagine that, just one more empty promise from the slickey used-car salesman posing as the leader of Morton Grove.

Do these officials actually believe that their “Action” in this matter will accomplish anything at all? Do they really believe that the good people of Morton Grove believe this garbage? Unfortunately, the answer here is, “probably”.

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Well, I hate to throw fertilizer on your cornflakes folks, but the resolutions aren’t worth the cost of the paper they were written on. Fact; State actions trump village actions. That means that if the State decides to cut the gravy sent back to the village… it’s gone… vanished… kaput!

The Champion article reporting the meeting stated: “The state distributes a portion of state income tax revenue into the Local Government Distributive fund, and it’s earmarked for municipalities such as Morton Grove.

That fund has proven over the years to be a reliable source of the funding the village needs to provide services such as police, fire, snow plowing, street repair, etc., said Ryan Horne, the village administrator.

Such a cut could require the village to reduce services or raise property taxes to make up the difference in funding.”

When you cut through the bureaucratic obfuscation and gobbledegook it boils down to the fact that Morton Grove has been living above it’s means because of feeding at the State trough. The “free money” is gone and the pigs will now start going hungry.

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Much of the political theater revolved around union opposition to the State’s position on “right-to-work” legislation. What was not mentioned is that the Village has been underfunding police and fire pensions for a long time now and promising to pay amounts that cannot be sustained by the current taxes collected by the village.

This is not new information. It is not as if the collective geniuses in village government just had this information fall from the sky yesterday. As long ago as the Krier administration the rationale for the 28% increase in the tax levy was laid at the feet of the “pension crisis”. Yet, knowing this, the DiMaria administration has increased village payroll, (for example, the economic development personnel have increased five-fold under DiMaria), yet new businesses and tax revenue from new businesses should have it’s picture on the side of a milk carton… it has gone missing.

 

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DiMaria said, (of the two pointless resolutions passed by the board); “It verifies local control. There are a lot of points in it we don’t support.” To quote the church lady from Saturday Night Live; “Well, isn’t that special?” It seems as though the village president is defending these indefensible exercises in futility out of both sides of his mouth at the same time.

Trustee John Pietron lamented that the state’s fiscal situation has gotten as bad as it has, laying some of the blame at Wall Street’s feet. “It’s the average person paying the price for it. It’s unfortunate it has to happen,” he said.

Shouldn’t Wall-street insider Dan DiMaria understand the way that the markets work? After all, he has made his living as a commodities broker, stock broker and a mortgage broker. Where was his expertise when we needed it? Where was the contingency planning part of DiMaria’s plan that the Action Party candidates so recently campaigned on? Why wasn’t there a few bucks put aside in case of a rainy day? And now, the best the village “leaders” can come up with is they “disagree”! How many hours did the Village Attorney work on that gem of a piece of legislation?

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Such disempowering bull… and hive mentality cowardice.

Unless you can get something viable and tangible on a very local level, forget the rest. The system is crumbling under its own wicked weight and all you’re gonna have is what’s immediately around you.

Work on that, while raising your conscious awareness and that of those around you. Nothing else matters at this point.