Pat Quinn's Union Bailout
We try to keep it PG-13 on the ATR blog, so it will be difficult for me to give a straightforward assessment of Pat Quinn's credentials as Governor of Illinois. Suffice it to say I don't think he is a particularly honest, principled, or intelligent man. I've already said too much.
The latest chink in his armor is the absurd deal he is about to make with Illinois' public employee unions. The agreement will bar the governor or his successor from laying off any public employees for two years.
Kristina Rasmussen at the Illinois Policy Institute has the depressing details contrasting Quinn's approach to that of New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie. The "compromise" calls for a paltry $50 million in cuts in labor spending, much of which would be eroded by a promised 7.25 percent wage bump in the name of cost of living - in a time of nearly zero inflation. And it's not as if public employee unions are hurting for income. On average, Illinois government workers earned 15.7 percent more than their private sector counterparts in 2008 (see page 92).
It's not as if this is anything new for Gov. Quinn. His original FY 2011 budget actually called for a 2,665 employee increase in the public sector payroll. Rather than rein in the size of government, he would rather impose a crippling $6 billion income tax increase. Or $4 billion. Or maybe $3 billion. Whatever.
Taxpayer Protection Pledge signer Bill Brady, the governor's opponent in November, is correct in underscoring the need for a variety of budget-cutting options to deal with Illinois' overspending problem, saying, "The Quinn Administration should not agree to anything that limits Illinois' flexibility to manage this catastrophe." And the Chicago Tribune points out a relevant conflict of interest for the governor: the biggest beneficiary of the deal, AFSCME, endorsed Quinn's re-election bid barely a week ago.