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Highest pay in nation not good enough for Illinois workers

Belleville News Democrat

Sunday, February 26, 2017  |  Editorial  |  By The Editorial Board

Governor (44) , Unions, labor (55)

 Should you be taxed more so state workers can be boosted more than double what you earn? Heck no.

Should you be taxed more so state workers can be boosted more than double what you earn? Heck no.

Someone apparently needs to check the state of Illinois’ email system, because the 38,000 members of the American Federation of State, Callous, Me-First Employees failed to get the three messages from Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner that this state is so broke that we are in a crisis and cannot afford another $3 billion a year in raises.

The state’s largest employee union authorized a strike rather than take the same deal 20 other state unions already accepted.

They were the nation’s highest-paid state workers at $63,660 in 2015, which is double your private sector average Illinois salary of $32,206. Not to mention, they only work 37.5 hours a week, pay about one-fourth of their platinum health care coverage while taxpayers put in $15,000 a year and their early retirements at age 50 and their premium pensions are the main reasons Illinois taxpayers face a $130 billion liability.

It would be interesting to see them strike and watch what happens next. The folks manning the prisons and responsible for law enforcement can’t walk off, so public safety would be OK.

Illinois can legally replace striking workers, and Rauner’s office said there are already 18,000 applicants, including 2,000 veterans.

The unholy alliance between the state’s Democratic majority and the state employees financing their campaigns is what put us in the $130 billion pension hole and with $12.4 billion in unpaid state bills. We are fools if we make the tax burden even worse in Illinois, which already has the nation’s highest state and local taxes.

Jobs and workers are already fleeing Illinois. Missouri gains 20 people a day from Illinois, so which area with the largest population concentration outside Chicagoland stands to suffer the most?

Illinois property taxes last year averaged more than double Missouri’s. Missouri just became a right to work state.

That rumble you hear is the sound of even more moving vans starting. The thud that follows would be state AFSCME workers refusing to get out of the way.