June 2 2012
Chicago Unions Want to Shut the State Down
Vicki E. Alger
Just outside of Chicago in a small Elgin church, Chicago Teachers Union officials held a gathering of the faithful—but this was no prayer service.
EAG News reported, “This whole state should be shut down by all the teachers!” That’s what retired teacher Doug Donnan told attendees. The CTU and other labor organizations met to plan how best to “create a crisis” that will result in more money for public schools. Donnan’s game plan was simple: “First of all you have got to get organized and unify yourselves. The second thing you got to do is take some power. And the only way I know how to do that is to organize a strike, legal or not!”
Retired Northern Illinois University psychology professor Jean Pierce also recommended higher taxes targeting “the rich.” But Pierce warned attendees, “please do not call it a progressive income tax, that’s a dirty word, it’s liberal…Call it a graduated rate income tax.”
Never mind that average Illinois teacher salaries are the fifth highest in the country at nearly $59,000. Or that the current starting annual teacher pension is around $60,000. Or that the Illinois Teachers Retirement System is careening toward insolvency (it’s more than $40 billion short already) because thus far many teachers have not had to contribute toward their own retirement. State and local taxpayers have been footing the bill.
- As it is, Illinois taxpayers have one of the highest tax burdens nationwide and pay nearly $4,600 per capita in state and local taxes. Here are some other data points apparently not covered during the CTU meeting:
- Illinois public schools spend well above $13,000 per student—over $1,000 more than the national average.
- Meanwhile, Illinois state and local public school revenue is $23.4 billion—two times higher than the national average.
- Taxpayers living elsewhere might also be interested to know that Illinois public schools get an additional $2 billion in federal funding, more than twice the national average.
- For all that spending, Illinois students score about the same or worse than their peers nationwide in reading, math, and science (but they do perform much better in eighth grade writing).
Also not covered in the CTU meeting was the topic of more education options for students, or how shutting the state and classrooms translates into more money.