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Forum: Pension shift plan a ‘disaster’

Updated: December 14, 2012 6:27AM



House Speaker Mike Madigan’s continued push for shifting the costs of teachers’ pensions onto local school districts should scare the daylights out of suburban property taxpayers.

Under the guise of “pension reform,” Madigan (D-Chicago) and Gov. Pat Quinn would shift hundreds of millions in pension costs to local districts — forcing massive cuts or property tax increases onto suburban and downstate homeowners.

It makes sense for school districts to have “skin in the game,” but pension benefits are set by the Illinois General Assembly. To allow politicians in Springfield to set the benefits, but send the bill to suburban property taxpayers, is a recipe for disaster.

Illinois desperately needs public employee pension reform. But we cannot allow decades of mismanagement to be shoved onto the suburban and downstate property taxpayers and call it “reform.”

Chicago property taxpayers do pay for Chicago Public Schools pension benefits. But CPS is also the beneficiary of state funding not available to suburban and downstate school systems.

The pension cost shift being pushed by Quinn, Madigan, Senate President John Cullerton (D-Chicago) and their Democrat allies in the House and Senate will ease the pension burden on the state — freeing up cash to pay for more spending.

But it shouldn’t come from suburban and downstate property taxpayers.

State Sen. Christine Radogno (R-Lemont)

Senate Minority Leader

Appreciation for Peanut

For me, it’s a tossup between Dan Hampton and Walter Payton for the greatest Chicago Bear of all time. I loved the way Payton would take a hit (or give the hit!) and help up the player up he collided with. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a player who loved the game like Walter.

Hampton was the best defensive lineman I’ve ever seen. He could not be stopped by one man. If Walter was known as “Sweetness,” Hampton was his antithesis. It will be a long while before we see someone anchoring the left side of our defensive line like #99.

After watching the Bears victory over the Titans, I started thinking about Peanut Tillman’s considerable contributions to the Bears over the years. What a bedrock he has been at cornerback for the last 10 years.

Arguably, the cornerback position is the toughest in football — you’re all by your lonesome. Peanut has been defending against the best receivers, game after grueling game. We’ve been blessed with a cornerback who plays with as big of a heart as any Chicago Bear who put on the uniform. The type of player my 16-year-old son will be talking about 40 years down the road.

Here’s hoping #33 will be flying at Soldier Field long after Peanut hangs up the cleats. He deserves to be mentioned in the same breath as the other Chicago Bear greats.

Rich Lindbloom

Homewood



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