Of Course Edgar Wants to Raise Taxes – He’s Pulling $307,000/yr Out of the System Now

By Bill Zettler

Just another Public “Servant” Sacrificing Himself for the Common Good.

Jim Edgar took time yesterday to step down from on high as “Distinguished Fellow” at U of I long enough to criticize Bill Brady for opposing tax increases and praise Pat Quinn for proposing tax increases. “Distinguished Fellow” is someone who pulls down $3,500 a week for being “Distinguished” which in Illinois means being an ex-politician. My guess is that works out to about $1,000/hr. His total take includes $177,000 from U of I and another $130,000 from the state pension system.

I am sure Edgar thinks his comments are just moderate and sensible since he has “Distinguished” himself throughout his career as a moderate and sensible fellow.

What it really shows though is the sense of entitlement public employees have from the highest to the lowest. In their mind the gravy train of public salaries, pensions and fringe benefits, not to mention crony capitalism, has always been there in the past and should always be there in the future.

The question is not whether such blandishments are their due but how they should be paid for. In their eyes, raising taxes may be unfortunate but someone has to pay for the 5% of Illinois workers who are part of the state system and who better than the 95% who are not part of it? After all, God must love the 95% because he made so many of them.

Bill Brady can win in a landslide if he establishes a new paradigm for governance in Illinois.

Voters want change – big change – and the candidate who courageously steps forward and proposes the big changes will get their votes. On the other hand, Jim Edgar and Pat Quinn represent the “business as usual” spectrum of politics. If Quinn wins it will be by default – Brady gave it to him by not being bold enough.

Every time Quinn mentions $2.8 billion in new tax revenue from the income tax increase Brady needs to bring up a list of $2.8 billion in cuts or non-tax revenue sources.

Some easy, popular billion dollar cuts:

… $1 billion – switch all state employees to HSA (Health Savings Account) from current plan.

… $1.5 billion – No public employee can make more than $10,000/month (including the

… $2.4 billion – 10% across the board compensation cuts (K-Univ and state employees)

… $2 billion – constitutional pension reform limiting max. pension to IL median family income –

… $1.6 billion – schools districts pay pensions on salaries over IL median family income –

… $1 billion – eliminate all earmarks from state to other governmental units

… $1.5 billion – ask every public teacher (K-Univ) to teach one more class per day

Some easy, popular revenue sources:

… Sell corrupt Tollway system – $20 billion

… Sell state lottery – $10 billion

… Sell Thompson Center and other state owned real-estate

… Sell Thomson Correctional facility to private party and outsource prisons.

… Sell leases for oil and natural gas on all state owned land.

… Move unneeded capital expenditures to general fund revenue.

Every time Quinn mentions $2.8 billion in new tax revenue from the income tax increase Brady needs to bring up what happened to Michigan two years ago when their Democratic Governor pushed through new taxes on the ridiculous premise that raising taxes would encourage business’ to move to Michigan. Instead, Michigan now has the highest unemployment in the country at 14.6%.

Illinois budget problems were created by “business as usual” politicians like Edgar and Quinn. Only a “New Paradigm” politician can solve those problems. Let’s hope Bill Brady is that “New Paradigm” politician.

Bill Zettler is a free-lance writer and consultant specializing in public sector compensation. He can be contacted at this email address. Click here to read more by Mr. Zettler.