On his seven-stop flyaround earlier this week, Gov. Pat Quinn tried to portray GOP gubernatorial nominee Bill Brady as anti-labor. He's got a lot of ammunition. Brady wants to freeze the state's minimum wage rate and offer new employees 401Ks instead of pensions. The Republican even says that he finds right-to-work laws "intriguing." And during the Tribune's gubernatorial debate two weeks ago, the state senator actually claimed that public sector unions are "bankrupting the state." Watch it below (the full video is available here. Excuse this clip's quality):
How, exactly, are public sector unions bankrupting Illinois, Mr. Brady? Are they overpaid? After adjusting for information like education and training, multiple studies show that state employees actually make less than their private sector counterparts. Are their retirement packages too gaudy? Illinois' current level of benefits are modest and in line with other states in the region. And just this spring, public sector unions swallowed a "pension reform" package that slashes benefits for future workers.
The primary reason the state’s pension system is so out of whack is that state lawmakers from both sides of the aisle (including Sen. Brady) have skimped on payments for decades instead of reforming the tax system to raise adequate revenue. We shouldn't let pols like Brady turn public sector workers (or their "union bosses") into budget scapegoats.