Thursday, February 24, 2005

Rod's dishonest accounting

If Rod lies about something simple like "fully funding" the Tinley Park Mental Health Center, what's the odds of him telling the truth on something complicated like savings created by changes to the pension system?

Again, from the Chicago Trib editorial:
The state by law is obligated to pump $2.6 billion into the pension funds this year. The governor wants to change that law. He says that, because of the savings to be achieved by his reforms, he can reduce the pension payment by $820 million. That would make the money available for spending on prisons, schools, etc.

Republicans, though, say the governor's plan to reduce contributions over the next 40 years would leave the funds $87 billion short of what they need. According to a GOP analysis released Wednesday, the state should reduce its contribution by only $76 million to $100 million this year. State Budget Director John Filan said the GOP analysis is "totally inaccurate."
If Rod wasn't a proven liar on this type of issue, you could assume that his numbers were just padded with optimism. But as we've seen Rod's commitment to not raising taxes trumps everything, and he's got no qualms about borrowing against the future--if it makes him and his budget look good. So the GOP numbers are probably correct.

BTW the GOP plan for getting the money isn't anything to get excited about. In the Crain's Chicago Business (Greg Hinz) article House GOP Leader Tom Cross says, "If we need money for this budget year, let’s go into the market and borrow it at 1% interest. Let’s not do it" by tapping pension funds. [Thank you, Ralph, for pointing to the Crain's article.]

So the choice between the Blago solution and the GOP solution is a choice between which mechanism are we going to obligate future taxpayers for current government. Is anybody else in favor of ending the two-party system in Illinois?

Archpundit makes the case that the pension problem is the legacy of Gov. Jim Edgar. (Anybody else remember the Trib endorsement of Edgar where they said Dawn Clark Netsch was right on the issues, but Edgar got the endorsement because he had "leadership" or some such drivel?)


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