I am not a member of a public sector union, so I ask the following questions as a taxpayer, in response to a recent editorial by Adam Schuster of the Illinois Policy Institute.
What would Schuster and others who call for a reform of public pensions do if this reform were actually carried out?
Would they be in favor of using the financial savings to make permanent the improvements proposed by Mayor Lori Lightfoot in municipal services – such as policing, affordable housing and expanded mental health services – once federal funding for these? needs will expire?
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At the state and county level, would they fully support funding and increased support for adults with disabilities, medical services, clean energy, and Great Lakes water management?
Would billionaire Ken Griffin then stay in Illinois and encourage businesses to move there?
Would an increase in state or city taxes be acceptable if the money went to programs rather than pensions?
If Chicago teachers were to agree to pay their pension contributions without the existing ‘pickup’, would advocates for this change lobby the CPS to ensure that every school has a permanent nurse and social worker? ? That old school buildings are being repaired? That schools in less wealthy communities be equipped in the same way as schools in richer communities? That special education staff be hired to meet the needs of all students?
Would pension reform advocates insist that promises of these kinds of improvements be written down – in laws, budgets and collective agreements – to build trust?
Or would they say, âThe government is spending too much. Families and businesses are over-taxed. People do not need more government assistance. Let’s save money instead of funding all of these programs? “
If so, all you are doing is demanding that costs be reduced at the expense of lives and the future. I do not see public sector workers accepting this, and it would not have my support.
Jeffrey Taylor, Irving Park
Evidence masks in schools work
People who question Governor JB Pritzker’s mask mandate for schools should compare results between schools that have and do not have this policy.
With approximately 100,000 students, the Polk County, Florida school district is about 30% the size of Chicago public schools. Yet he has suffered 3,804 confirmed cases of COVID-19 among his students since the start of the school year. That’s more than double the number of cases confirmed in Chicago schools by the CPS – 1,832 cases – over about the same time period. The school year in Florida started earlier, but not that much.
It’s probably unreasonable to attribute the whole six-fold difference between the per capita infection rates in the two school districts to obscuring the mandates – Chicago has one and the District of Florida does not. In large part thanks to COVID mitigation efforts that have no direct connection to education, Illinois is an overall healthier place to live than Florida.
But even so, six times the infection rate is so great that it’s hard to imagine an indirect cause.
Frank Palmer, Edgewater