It's no secret that Illinois is broke. It's also no secret that too many people living in this state are only thinking of themselves, and not what is best for everyone. One of these selfish people is a retired union lobbyist named David Piccioli. Piccioli, 65, is receiving an annual pension from the Teacher Retirement System, having worked for the union as a lobbyist for the Illinois Federation of Teachers. Even though he was not a teacher, Piccioli took advantage of a loophole which has paid him $31,000 annually since he retired. He is also collecting an annual $30,000 pension from the state for his time working as an aide in Springfield. Altogether, he is raking in $61,000 every year!
Now, Piccioli is trying to take advantage of another loophole! He is suing Illinois to force the state to give him an additional annual teacher's pension, up to $36,000! That is because Piccioli, in 2007, worked as a substitute teacher for (are you sitting down?) one day! That's right, he worked one day as a sub! Now he wants $36,000 on top of his $61,000 he already gets! He says he is only going by the law. Give me a break! Taking advantage of the system is wrong! If you can get away with it, it's still wrong! Piccioli doesn't care about this state or about Illinois taxpayers who are going to pay him for the rest of his life.
It doesn't take much to realize that the current state pension system is flawed. Let me put that in layman's words... it's messed up! Illinois' pension funds are underfunded by over $100 billion! And that is not counting Chicago. That would be another $63 billion! Rod Blagojevich and Pat Quinn have only made it worse. Who's going to step up and do what's right? The union bosses? I think not.
Unions have done a lot of good for workers over the years, so why can't they do what's right now?! Are Governor Bruce Rauner and Chicago mayor Rahm Emanuel going to be able to do anything? I don't know. I hope so, but Rauner and Emanuel cannot do it alone. People who feel they are entitled have got to think about the rest of us who aren't! I'm not saying government workers are not entitled to something, but the current system is not functional! We cannot think about what is only good for ourselves; we must consider what is good for everyone else also!
Which brings me to my next point. I viewed online, a couple of months ago, the Zion school board meeting in November, concerning the property tax hike. Many business owners and homeowners intelligently and passionately pleaded with the board, asking them not to raise property taxes, but it didn't matter. I could see that the board members' minds were made up before the meeting started. They have an annual budget of 43-45 million dollars, but they either don't know or don't care. Everyone voted for the tax increase, except for one. His name is Tom Handyside. I've never talked to him before, but I can tell you this... I'm voting for him for Board of Education this April 7, and so should you.
Now for some other news. Because of the rising costs of production and other expenses, it pains me to tell you this, but we have tried to do all we could and at last, this day has come. The next issue of The Town Sound (May) will be our last. Thank you for your support over the past two years and take heart because... April Fools! We aren't going anywhere! Actually, the next issue will be our 2nd anniversary issue, and thanks to you, we are going strong. Please continue to frequent our advertisers when you can. Thanks again and sorry for the scare.