Wirepoints founder expresses concern over Radogno's role in budget package
Many have spoken out against Illinois Sen. Christine Radogno (R-Lemont) due to recent decisions she’s made as Senate minority leader.
Most recently, she’s taken it upon herself to negotiate a complex budget package with Senate President John Cullerton (D-Chicago).
Wirepoints Founder Mark Glennon does not believe Radogno should have been heading the negotiations.
“The simple fact is, she’s not the one to be negotiating something so complicated with someone so cunning as Senate President Cullerton and the Democrats,” Glennon told the Chicago City Wire.
Radogno has had several strikes that suggest she is not up for the task of negotiating this package, he said.
She spoke out in favor of SB 1, a 2013 bill that made an attempt at state pension reform. Radogno was certain the bill would fix the state’s budget issues -- but at the time, there was evidence that the package would actually raise the state’s unfunded liability total.
Radogno spoke out against the Republicans that opposed the bill. In the end, however, the courts struck it down.
In addition, Radogno repeatedly said the Tier 2 reforms in 2010 would solve the pension crisis.
“While many of the pension systems examined currently have poor funding ratios, these funds are projected to recover and achieve a targeted 90 percent funding sometime around mid-century,” she said.
She said it was “generally due to recent reforms that established benefit changes for newly hired employees.”
However, the funds Radogno said would be recovered from Tier 2 members would actually be coming from Tier 1 members, who weren’t addressed in the reform at all.
Glennon is concerned that Radogno either doesn’t know the facts or is not being forthright about the information. Both options were cause for concern while she negotiated the budget package.
Supporters are marketing this package as a solution to the stalemate the General Assembly has had with Gov. Bruce Rauner over the state budget. The package would increase personal and corporate income taxes and suggests borrowing money to pay off debt.
“The package is a bad collection of items and lacks in long-term vision,” Glennon said.
If the state is able to borrow money to pay off the debt, it would simply be pushing the problem off a few years until the borrowed money would need to be repaid.
Glennon does, however, see some merit in the package. It would freeze property taxes for two years and reform workers’ comp. But even these elements will not be enough to appease taxpayers.
“Radogno doesn’t see how the average voter and taxpayer will respond to it,” Glennon said. “Most taxpayers will see it as a tax increase. They’ll see it as just another typical Illinois solution.”
Glennon fears the budget package won’t be enough to stop the exodus of taxpayers and employers who have taken flight the last several years.
The state Senate is scheduled to vote on the pack today, Jan. 25. It will likely pass, but Glennon doesn’t see a bright future for the package once it leaves the Senate.
“The package will be renegotiated or thrown out completely by the governor and then maybe the House,” he said.