|Mike Madigan looking over Pat Quinn's shoulder. How appropriate is this photograph!|
After four or five of Quinn's visits, all the WGIL news people would literally hide in the janitor closet so they wouldn't have to listen to the gadfly's populist babble. Quinn would end up talking to a part-time secretary who sat there listening to his rant with glassy eyes. Take it from one who saw him in person, Quinn is simply a self-promoter who cares more about getting himself noticed than he does about his current cause.
Fast-forward to this morning as the Illinois State Legislature prepares to vote on Senate Bill 1673, which will change the Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA) for both active and retired teachers. Quinn and his overseer, Speaker of the House Mike Madigan, support this legislation.
The legislation will make active and retired teachers, like me and my wife, either give up our health insurance (which we pay $10,400 a year for together) or give up our yearly 3% cost of living adjustments. The state currently pays 25% of our medical premiums so if we lose the health insurance and take the COLA, the COLA money will go to pay the extra premium. Nice, huh? There is no choice for us. We must keep the medical insurance!
Quinn previously promised that he would never do anything to hurt retired teachers. He's a liar, fellow teachers!
So I ask you, are insurance companies going to insure 64 and 61 year old retired teachers who both have pre-exiting medical conditions? Doubtful. The choice is no choice at all. My wife and I will have to keep our health insurance with the state until we turn 65, but by then our 3% COLA bump will be long gone. There are no second chances to make a choice, according to Quinn's plan.
Plus, SB 1673 will shift the cost of pensions from the state to local school districts. Think your property taxes in the suburbs are high now, Fremd teachers? Just wait, Bunky! You haven't begun to pay! If you do choose the COLA instead of the insurance, the money will get sucked up in higher property taxes.
Of course Quinn is a puppet who is being controlled by Speaker Madigan. Take a look at Representative Mike Bost's rant about Madigan which occurred on the House floor yesterday. It is a classic!
Rep. Bost knows that he and the other legislators are powerless against Madigan and his end-of-the session maneuvers.
Every year Madigan hides controversial bills until the Memorial Day weekend, and then tries to pass them when Illinois citizens are not looking. Yesterday, none of the legislators' offices in Springfield were staffed. I had to call the local offices. The whole thing is just plain sleazy.
So teachers, both retired and active, there is not much time left. Hold these legislators' fingers to the fire. Call today and ask your state representative and state senator to vote "no" on Senate Bill 1673. I don't know if we can stop them, but we need to try!