By John Ruberry

For decades Illinois, Chicago, and many other Land of Lincoln municipalities have been kicking the can down the road in regards to public worker pension obligations.

Harvey, a poverty-stricken southern suburb of Chicago with a long history of corruption, has not just reached the end of the road, it has run off of the cliff, in the manner of Wile E. Coyote. Because Harvey has not been adequately funding its police and fire pension plans for years, a state law–Illinois ironically is guilty of the same sin with its pensions–requires the state treasurer to withhold the city’s portion of sales tax revenue, $1.4 million, to pay into those funds instead of that cash being deposited into the town’s general revenue account. Harvey’s police and fire pensions are funded at only 51 and 22 percent, respectively.

On Friday Harvey laid off half of the employees in its police and fire departments, along with about a dozen other municipal workers.

Ironically two firefighters with 18 years on the job were among those given pink slips, they are two years away from qualifying for their own pensions.

Harvey has had many other brushes with malfeasance, and like Wile E, it has used a bag of tricks from its own version of the Acme Corporation to remain airborne. It purchased Lake Michigan water from Chicago, resold it to neighboring towns and used that revenue for payroll and other expenses. Until Chicago sued Harvey didn’t pay the larger city for that water. Its four-term mayor, Eric J. Kellogg, was fined $10,000 and banned from participating in future bond offerings after Harvey diverted cash from a hotel development plan to other items, including payroll.

The FBI, according to the Chicago Tribune, is investigating bribery allegations involving a consultant of Kellogg, the former mayor of neighboring Dixmoor who is a twice-convicted felon. The case is centered on secret recordings made by Harvey’s comptroller, who committed suicide in 2016, the same year that Fox Chicago, citing reports from experts, said the city is “worse than broke.”

Abandoned factory on the Harvey-Dixmoor border

Ah, it’s easy to dismiss Harvey as an aberration even in a state with a national reputation for corruption. In my lifetime four Illinois governors have been sent to federal prison and a fifth faced trial for tax evasion but was found not guilty.

Pension troubles such as the one Harvey is facing can’t come to my Prairie State town, can they?

They sure can.

A researcher from the University of Chicago says there are 74 other police or fire departments with pension funds that are comparably underfunded as those of Harvey. One of those towns in that predicament is Niles, the village west of the Chicago suburb where I live. I have some friends who reside there and they pride themselves on their low–well, low for Illinois–property taxes.

Niles is one of those 74 towns. In 2010 its mayor for nearly five decades served a year in prison for his role in a kickback scheme.

Term limits anyone?

Which Illinois municipality will be the next Harvey? Perhaps Chicago, as its pension plans are the worst-funded among the nation’s largest cities.

As for Illinois, its pension funds are among the worst-funded among the fifty states.

Blogger in Harvey

Harvey is losing population.

Chicago is losing population.

Illinois is losing population.

Who will be the “last man standing” over the edge of the cliff stuck with the bill?

John Ruberry, a fifth-generation Illinoisan, continues to eye his exit strategy while he blogs at Marathon Pundit.

The Commonwealth of Massachusetts is in the process of reacquiring the nickname TAX-achusetts.  The Loony Left has come up with a ballot question they have cynically named the “Fair Share Amendment.” This proposed change our state’s Constitution would allow a surtax of 80% on incomes of one million or more. Further language in the amendment ear marks the additional funds be spent on public education, roads and bridges, and public transportation.  This is the same graduated income tax that has been rejected by the voters many times before.

The Worcester Tea Party opposes this cynical tax scheme that will drive productive businesses and families from our state.  We have created an online petition opposing the “Fair Share Amendment” ballot question.

Here is the link to the petition, please sign it and share it on social media.

We will demonstrating against the “Fair Share Amendment” before the start of the GOP State Convention on Saturday April 28th at the DCU Center 50 Foster St, Worcester, MA 01608.  We are calling on Governor Baker to make opposition to the “Fair Share Amendment” ballot question part of his reelection campaign.  With enough signatures we hope to stop the “Fair Share Amendment” before it ruins our economy.

Respectfully,
Matt O’Brien
President Worcester Tea Party

So the king ordered Daniel to be brought and cast into the lions’ den. To Daniel he said, “Your God, whom you serve so constantly, must save you.” -Dan 6:17

Just in the past few weeks, we’ve seen Harvard University defund and suspend the Harvard College Faith and Action fellowship, and we’ve seen Providence College – a supposedly Catholic College – fail to support a student who put up a bulletin board affirming Catholic teaching on marriage and the family. These are just two examples of liberals in academia focusing more on their political advocacy and less on their responsibilities to educate students and prepare them to be productive citizens. Of course, much of academia today is the product of the everybody-gets-a-trophy culture where self-esteem has been considered more important than actual accomplishment.

I have always believed that my children, who are college-aged, would be successful in the world precisely because they do not believe that they are owed anything. They have both worked extremely hard in school and other activities to achieve their successes, and have a deep appreciation for having earned the rewards that come with those successes. This in turn motivates them to continue working hard to achieve even more. I couldn’t be more proud of them.

I used to think that once they graduate and go out into the “real world” that these qualities would set them apart from their peers and make them extraordinarily valuable to potential employers. But that will only happen if employers are actually looking for the qualities that will make their employees productive and strong contributors to the success of the business. As much as I would love for my children to work at someplace like the next Google, I definitely do not want either of them to be the next James Damore. Unfortunately, unless college administrations keep expanding as they have been, there won’t be enough academia jobs for all the SJWs graduating currently, and they’ll wind up in industry (except for Women’s Studies majors, of course). That means that my kids are going to have to deal with these people even after they graduate.

Fortunately, my kids are smart enough to know how the game is played. While they are strong enough to stick to their beliefs, they are smart enough to know when they are fighting a losing battle. When you’re on a college campus, and some student is screaming at a professor about a Halloween costume, or demanding a no-whites-allowed Safe Space, it’s pretty easy to tell that a reasoned discussion is not possible and that the SJW screamer wouldn’t listen to reason anyway.

It saddens me that they have to do this. But then again, this is also the reason that I write anonymously. You play the hand that you’re dealt, and you try to get into a position where you can start to change the culture. It’s going to take some time, but I’m proud to have raised two children whom I know will continue the fight.