Illinois politics. Just the words bring forth a cascade of nausea.
Our past two governors convicted of felonies, along with a parade of con men, hangers on, yes men, and opportunists who follow them to prison.
And still nothing changes.
METRA (the Chicago area public transport system) just announced a million dollars plus worth of contracts for lobbying and public relations. You may know that METRA is deeply in debt, and just dramatically raised fares. Why one of the many folks who earn a paycheck from METRA couldn't do these things wasn't addressed. Nor was the fact that the contracts didn't go to people with professional backgrounds in these fields.
The contracts went to Senate Majority leader Mike Madigan's former chief of staff, House Minority leader Tom Cross's former chief of staff, and former U.S. Representative Bill Lipinski, whose son is a current U.S. Representative.
The system works.
The pension system is Illinois, which I depend on for my daily bread, having spent 35 years contributing to the system, is a disaster. Chronically under funded and used as a piggy bank by state officials for years, it is now coming out that the fund has been used to repay pals and cronies on the backs of people like myself.
The Tribune had another article today about another outrage of politicians slyly doling out pensions as favors to insiders.
"Which gouge most enrages you? Is it the injury Bob Molaro inflicts on you and every Illinois taxpayer? Or is it the spiteful insult from his enabler Ed Burke?
The injury: As the Tribune and WGN-TV reported Friday, all it took for former state Rep. Molaro to nearly double his public pension was spending one month as an aide to Ald. Ed Burke, chairman of the Chicago City Council's Finance Committee. Under Illinois' diabolical pension math, Molaro's $12,000 pay for that month pushed his pension from about $64,000 a year to more than $120,000. Over his expected life span, he'll collect some $3 million.
The insult: During this monthlong scam which begat lifelong dividends, little taxpayer, Burke and Molaro were sneering at you. Burke had Molaro, his fellow Democrat, write a 19-page white paper aboutChicago's ailing pension funds. Can't you see the two of them delighting in Molaro's term paper — his work product consists mainly of public information readily available from pension funds — while they're … grabbing pension funds! Is that delicious or what?"
Read more: Another Pension Outrage Chicago Tribune
Read more: METRA Approves Lobbying Contracts Chicago Tribune