Gov. Pat Quinn. File Photo
Updated: March 23, 2013 8:06PM
Mr. Eden Martin’s column Thursday, “Gov. Quinn’s union deal adds to our woes,” was notable for its glaring omission of key facts.
Mr. Martin says that Gov. Pat Quinn’s agreement with AFSCME, after 15 months of negotiation, makes our financial challenges worse. False. The governor secured the best contract for taxpayers in Illinois’ history of collective bargaining.
Curiously, Mr. Martin ignores that this agreement will save taxpayers more than $900 million in health care costs, reducing the state’s group health expenses by almost 20 percent.
If there was simply no contract — as Mr. Martin suggests — there would be no health care savings, as labor law requires health care to be negotiated. The governor has a responsibility to reach an agreement that’s fair to taxpayers and employees who provide vital state services.
This contract also includes the lowest cost of living adjustments in state history. In Iowa and Ohio, administrations agreed to flat COLAs but did not secure increases in contributions to health insurance. Health insurance inflation rises at a much higher rate than wage inflation. Illinois got the better deal.
But perhaps the most inconvenient truth for Mr. Martin is that no Illinois governor has enacted more difficult fiscal reforms than Pat Quinn.
Inheriting decades of mismanagement, Gov. Quinn reduced discretionary spending more than any other governor and cut his own office budget by more than 25 percent. He closed 54 state facilities to save taxpayers $100 million a year. He restructured Medicaid to reduce the liability by more than $2 billion. And he signed into law pension reform for new employees that will save billions of dollars over future years.
Comprehensive pension reform for current employees is next. Lawmakers must send him a bill to get this job done. The governor stands ready to sign pension reform today and will continue working relentlessly until it is the law of the land.
press secretary, Gov. Pat Quinn
Turbines are the real bird killers
I find it strange the Sun-Times is worried about a few birds being killed by feral cats. Millions of birds are killed by a new predator, wind turbines. What do you say about that?
Mark Weyermuller, Wilmette
School closings vitimize kids
It is abundantly clear how little this city cares about the poor children who are the victims not only of its urban violence which surrounds them but are also victimized by our so called “leaders.” Closing schools is framed as benefiting poor children. In the lunacy that passes for social commentary here in Chicago this is accepted as perfectly legitimate. In the light of this most vicious action against the poor, it is very clear that there are two Chicagos: one that suffers every day by the dictates of an uncaring mayor in the pocket of charter school money and the other Chicago which in its silent complicity allows the cruelty of the former to take place.
Edward D. Juillard, Morgan Park
Park deal bad from the start
In reference to the story that appeared Friday day regarding the huge fine that has been levied against the City of Chicago and its taxpayers you quoted former Mayor Richard M. Daley at the time of inking the deal saying, “That it was a great deal for the city of Chicago.”
Did he or any of the city politicians that approved this deal ever take rudimentary arithmetic in school? Making an assumption that only 25 percent of the 9,178 parking spaces are filled, with an average daily fee of $20 and allowing for no inflation whatsoever, the income generated over the 99-year lease would be in excess of 1.6 billion dollars. This figure is considerably more than the $563 million the city relinquished the parking rights for. Mr Daley, not even factoring in the contractual problems the city now finds itself in, this was NOT a great deal for the city of Chicago.
Peter Reason, Near West Side
I’ve heard of the saying “Indian summer,” but with late March temps in the teens, I think we’re experiencing “Indian winter.” What’s that saying about March: “in like a lion, out like . . . a bigger lion.” And to think opening day for the White Sox is April 1. No fooling.
William Choslovsky, Lincoln Park
Beavers’ unwise actions
William Beavers, Cook County commissioner, was convicted on Friday by a jury, of tax evasion charges.
His downfall is yet another pathetic example of a public official’s betrayal of trust. His self-created casualty resulted from his failure to understand that it is easier to look through the window than into the mirror. At , he should have learned that much. What a way to end a career.
Beavers’ fall from grace would have been prevented had he attended to the following profound wisdom: If one does not pay meticulous, scrupulous attention to one’s boundaries (whether person, professional, occupational, or otherwise), all relationships will be ruined.
Leon J. Hoffman, Lake View
A bill Senate should pass
For the past several weeks, the world has focused its attention to the selection of the next Roman Catholic Pope in Rome. Here in Illinois we of the Greek Orthodox faith have focused on the positives of the worldwide pool of candidates for the next pope, the ability of the cardinals to meet and decide their next leader without interference from any nation and the ease of travel for not only the leadership but also the faithful to travel without restrictions.
We appreciate these positives because unless changes are soon made, the next time our faith selects our Ecumenical Patriarchate we may not have this ability because of Turkish state law. The necessary changes are the focus of a resolution before the Illinois State Senate.
SR70 calls for Turkey to 1) remove government interference in our future patriarchal elections, 2) recognize the “ecumenical” title and status of our leader, 3) remove the restrictions that denying him legal status, 4) allow for the re-opening of the Theological School of Halki and 5) return the church’s property that has been confiscated over the years. The resolution has 29 state Senate Co-Sponsors. Gov. Pat Quinn has endorsed the resolution, as well as the Council of Religious Leaders of Metropolitan Chicago.
Cardinal Francis George wrote a personal endorsement to the state Senators in support of our resolution before heading to Rome to freely pick his next leader without fear of outside interference. If only we could count on this peaceful ability to continue our faith.
John C. Ackrman, Washington, Ill.