Yesterday, both the Illinois House and Senate passed "Pension Reform," following the pattern of two years ago. Take a difficult problem, pretend to fix it and proclaim "Reform." We saw the state do this with Workers' Compensation a few years ago where they politicized the system, and saddled the majority of cut backs on doctors who treat injured workers. They then called that "reform."
We have seen this happen with "temporary" income tax increases of 2%, which will expire this year. We've seen this with Medicare reform where an outside agency hired found nearly half of cases did not belong in the system. Now they are out and those watchdogs who missed all this in the past are back in. Only in Illinois!
With Democrats controlling all levers of power in Illinois, when difficult votes are needed, they turn to the Republicans they generally ignore and shut out, and insist they put a certain number of votes on the table for whatever "reform" measure they suddenly wish to pass. This usually happens around election time, or just after elections. It also doesn't happen until Speaker Michael Madigan wants it to happen. And he worked the measure pretty hard, both amongst the four leaders of the legislature, and among individual legislators.
So while everyone celebrates over the "Pension Reform" passed yesterday, details of such "reforms" continue to become public.
A 371 page bill released roughly 30 hours before being voted upon. The old joke of Nancy Pelosi about "Obamacare" returns: "You get to read what is in it after we pass it." Now Democrats want to call it by its real name, "The Affordable Care Act."
Before everyone gets upset with Republicans who voted for the "pension reform" measure, remember, a partial loaf is better than no bread at all. I can understand the actions of those Republicans who voted for that "reform" measure yesterday. When you are in a super minority, you grab that half loaf to ease those hunger pains of being shut out of governance on a regular basis by the super majority party.
But it doesn't ease the hunger of real reform.