WBEZ | pension reform http://www.wbez.org/tags/pension-reform Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Morning Shift: Urban centers face big problems with transportation growth http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift-tony-sarabia/2013-12-03/morning-shift-urban-centers-face-big-problems <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/Cover.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>An article in Salon argues that urban public transportation is doomed because politicians who could enact better policies don&#39;t use it. They drive or have drivers. How does metro Chicago&#39;s public transit fit into this theory? We discuss future train and bus expansion. (Flickr/Dan Klimke)</p><div class="storify"><iframe allowtransparency="true" frameborder="no" height="750" src="//storify.com/WBEZ/morning-shift-urban-centers-face-big-problems-with/embed?header=false" width="100%"></iframe><script src="//storify.com/WBEZ/morning-shift-urban-centers-face-big-problems-with.js?header=false"></script><noscript>[<a href="//storify.com/WBEZ/morning-shift-urban-centers-face-big-problems-with" target="_blank">View the story "Morning Shift: Urban centers face big problems with transportation growth" on Storify</a>]</noscript></div></p> Tue, 03 Dec 2013 08:30:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift-tony-sarabia/2013-12-03/morning-shift-urban-centers-face-big-problems Budget watchdog blasts CPS for silence on pension reform http://www.wbez.org/news/budget-watchdog-blasts-cps-silence-pension-reform-108488 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/Screen Shot 2013-08-22 at 7.15.24 AM.png" alt="" /><p><p dir="ltr">A budget watchdog group is calling out Chicago Public Schools for not being more proactive with getting pension reform passed in Springfield.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;It&rsquo;s not enough for the district to say, &lsquo;Springfield needs to act on pension reform,&rsquo; although that would have been an improvement from what we&rsquo;ve heard so far, which has been silence,&rdquo; said Laurence Msall, president of the nonpartisan government watchdog <a href="http://www.civicfed.org/">Civic Federation</a>.</p><p dir="ltr">The Civic Federation released an 83-page analysis of the school district&rsquo;s proposed budget for Fiscal Year 2014 that argues the district is again taking a short-term approach to a long-term problem. The budget analysis suggests CPS should develop and advocate its own pension reform proposal, not just push for another pension holiday. The report also pushes for an increase in employee retirement contributions.</p><p>District spokeswoman Becky Carroll said the district supports &ldquo;reforms similar to those in SB1,&rdquo; referring to House Speaker Mike Madigan&rsquo;s attempt at pension reform. The bill proposed cutting cost of living increases, raising the retirement age and increasing employee contributions.</p><p>&ldquo;We will continue to rigorously push for pension reform as we did last session and hope that union leadership will come to the table willing to support the kinds of reforms necessary to provide significant financial relief for our schools,&rdquo; Carroll said in an e-mailed statement.</p><div><p>CPS <a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/chicago-schools-budget-includes-68-million-classroom-cuts-108177">released a budget last month</a> that included $68 million in cuts to classrooms and, in an eyebrow-raising move, drew down almost $700 million from reserves, a fund the district drained to zero last year, as well. The Board of Education is expected to vote on the proposed budget next Wednesday.</p><p>In the analysis, Msall urged the district to publish more personnel data, require consistent financial reporting from the city&rsquo;s privately operated charter schools and give the public more time to review the proposal before holding hearings. This year, the proposed budget came out six working days before the first hearing. Msall suggested at least 10 days.</p><p>The full report is embedded below.</p><p><em>Becky Vevea is a producer for WBEZ. Follow her <a href="https://twitter.com/WBEZeducation">@WBEZeducation</a>.</em></p><p style=" margin: 12px auto 6px auto; font-family: Helvetica,Arial,Sans-serif; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: normal; font-size: 14px; line-height: normal; font-size-adjust: none; font-stretch: normal; -x-system-font: none; display: block;"><a href="http://www.scribd.com/doc/162043428/Civic-Federation-Analysis-CPS-FY2014-Budget" style="text-decoration: underline;" title="View Civic Federation Analysis CPS FY2014 Budget on Scribd">Civic Federation Analysis CPS FY2014 Budget</a> by <a href="http://www.scribd.com/WBEZ915" style="text-decoration: underline;" title="View Chicago Public Media's profile on Scribd">Chicago Public Media</a></p><p><iframe class="scribd_iframe_embed" data-aspect-ratio="0.772922022279349" data-auto-height="false" frameborder="0" height="826" id="doc_59739" scrolling="no" src="http://www.scribd.com/embeds/162043428/content?start_page=1&amp;view_mode=scroll&amp;access_key=key-1jvt2tjl4gp58x554epj&amp;show_recommendations=true" width="620"></iframe></p></div><p>&nbsp;</p></p> Thu, 22 Aug 2013 07:08:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/budget-watchdog-blasts-cps-silence-pension-reform-108488 After massive layoffs, CPS suggests teachers contribute more for their pensions http://www.wbez.org/news/education/after-massive-layoffs-cps-suggests-teachers-contribute-more-their-pensions-108125 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/RS3523_board of ed-scr_0.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>As <a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/education/cps-announces-2100-layoffs-108109" target="_blank">layoffs hit 3,000 in Chicago Public Schools</a>, the district and teachers union are at odds over what is causing the budget crisis and what to do about it.</p><p>Chicago&rsquo;s school district says ballooning pension payments are driving the crunch. This school year, the district&rsquo;s pension obligation triples, to $600 million&mdash;a cost to be paid for with money that would otherwise fund current education needs in schools.&nbsp; The pension tab amounts to about 12 percent of the district&rsquo;s total operating budget.</p><p>But condemning Friday&rsquo;s layoffs as &ldquo;outrageous,&rdquo; Chicago Teachers Union vice-president Jesse Sharkey challenged the district&rsquo;s narrative.&nbsp;</p><p>&ldquo;We resist the urge on the part of the administration of the city to blame teachers, and to blame our pensions for the crisis. Blaming retired teachers who make an average of $40,000 a year for their retirement, who get no social security, who never missed a payment&mdash;while the city itself didn&rsquo;t put any money into the fund for 10 years, who have had a massive pension holiday for three years--we think that&rsquo;s hypocrisy.&rdquo;</p><p>Sharkey says months of pension talks between the two sides reveal only that the school district and teachers union differ fundamentally on a solution to the problem. He said the district favors cuts to teachers&#39; benefits and the union wants the city to find more revenue--through TIF funds, a tax on financial transactions, or more fundamental income tax reform, including possibly an income tax on suburbanites who work in Chicago.</p><p>Late Friday, the district confirmed that it wants Chicago to be included in a state pension reform plan that calls for greater employee contributions, salary caps for pensions, higher retirement ages, and revised cost of living adjustments.</p><p>&ldquo;What we&rsquo;ve been advocating is for CPS to be included in state teacher pension reform in Senate Bill 1&hellip; that would treat all teachers in the state the same in terms of pensions and benefits,&rdquo; said CPS spokeswoman Becky Carroll. &ldquo;It would provide us systemic ongoing savings. And it would make our system more viable and sustainable.&rdquo;</p><p>Senate Bill 1, backed this spring by Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan, is considered dead legislatively, but lawmakers are working to revive provisions of the bill.</p><p>&ldquo;Everything in Senate Bill 1, we support that,&rdquo; said Carroll. &ldquo;And we support expanding Senate Bill 1 to apply to the Chicago Teachers Pension Fund.&rdquo;</p><p>Until now, most people have assumed that by &ldquo;pension reform,&rdquo; Chicago Public Schools meant permission from Springfield to defer its pension payments, or outright help in making those payments. In 2010 lawmakers gave the district a &ldquo;holiday&rdquo; that allowed it to skip $400 million worth of annual payments for three years. A similar provision was introduced this spring but did not pass.</p><p>Chicago teachers are the only ones in the state with their own pension fund. The school district shoulders pension costs that in the case of suburban and downstate districts are paid for by Illinois. Chicago teachers have generally preferred keeping the pension systems separate because Chicago&rsquo;s pension fund has historically been better funded.</p><p>Sharkey says teachers have already shouldered enough of the district&#39;s economic challenges.</p><p>&ldquo;We&rsquo;ve been hit. In 2010 we&rsquo;ve been hit by mass layoffs. In 2011 we were hit by both mass layoffs and a freeze. Last year there was a strike and we got a 20 percent longer day for a 3 percent increase in pay. And this year again, mass layoffs. So this is not a recent problem. Someone has got to deal with some of the structural issues here, and we say that goes back to funding public schools fairly.&rdquo;</p><p>CPS spokeswoman Carroll said the union had proposed a &ldquo;massive&rdquo; property tax increase. She said that&rsquo;s not reform. &ldquo;That&rsquo;s a way to pay.&rdquo;<br />&nbsp;</p></p> Sat, 20 Jul 2013 07:38:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/education/after-massive-layoffs-cps-suggests-teachers-contribute-more-their-pensions-108125 Morning Shift: Funny dads, marching moms and rockin' bands http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift-tony-sarabia/2013-05-10/morning-shift-funny-dads-marching-moms-and-rockin <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/jimg.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>A new take on Mother&#39;s Day: Dede Koldyke of the EarthHeart Foundation gathers mothers for peace, comedian Jim Gaffigan tells stories from his new book <em>Dad Is Fat</em> and Chicago band Bear Claw throws down.<script src="//storify.com/WBEZ/morning-shift-funny-dads-marching-moms-rockin-band.js?header=false"></script><noscript>[<a href="//storify.com/WBEZ/morning-shift-funny-dads-marching-moms-rockin-band" target="_blank">View the story "Morning Shift: Funny dads, marching moms and rockin' bands" on Storify</a>]<h1>Morning Shift: Funny dads, marching moms and rockin' bands</h1><h2>A new take on Mother's Day: Dede Koldyke of the EarthHeart Foundation gathers mothers for peace, comedian Jim Gaffigan tells stories from his new book &quot;Dad Is Fat&quot; and Chicago band Bear Claw throws down.</h2><p>Storified by <a href="http://storify.com/WBEZ"></a>&middot; Mon, May 13 2013 06:22:30</p><div>Morning Shift: Funny dads, marching moms and rockin' bands by WBEZ's Morning ShiftA new take on Mother's Day: Dede Koldyke of the EarthHeart Foundation gathers mothers for peace, comedian Jim Gaffigan tells stories from...</div><div><b>Pensions</b> -&nbsp;Reforming Illinois’long-troubled pension system has been a top priority for years. Finally, boththe House and the Senate in Springfield each passed a pension bill. There’sjust one small problem – each chamber passed a different plan. WBEZ’s TonyArnold breaks down what’s going on with these two competing bills.</div><div>Will the House approve IL pension bill? by WBEZ's Morning ShiftReforming Illinois' long-troubled pension system has been a top priority for years. Finally, both the House and the Senate in Springfield...</div><div>Illinois Senate OKs Union-Backed Pension DealThe Illinois Senate voted Thursday to send a union-supported pension reform bill to the House, leaving lawmakers with two competing propo...</div><div>Illinois Senate OKs union-backed pension dealMay 9, 2013 (SPRINGFIELD, Ill.) -- The Illinois Senate voted Thursday to send a union-supported pension reform bill to the House, leaving...</div><div><b>Mothers for Peace</b> -&nbsp;The EarthHeart Foundation believes that one of the best ways to curb violence in our neighborhoods is through the collective wisdom and power of mothers. We’ll talk to the founder about her work and the first-ever Mothers Peace Celebration this weekend.</div><div>EarthHeart Foundation supports mothers in putting an end to youth violence by WBEZ's Morning ShiftThe EarthHeart Foundation believes that one of the best ways to curb violence in our neighborhoods is through the collective wisdom and p...</div><div>EarthHeart FoundationWith the power of motherhood within her, a woman can influence the entire world. The love of awakened motherhood is a love and compassion...</div><div>About EarthHeart Foundation | EarthHeart FoundationWe believe that mothers are powerful yet compassionate leaders who are called to find peaceful, love-filled solutions to some of the worl...</div><div>We Are Not Alone &quot; Mothers for Peace March for PeaceHere's a great story about everyday heroines from today's Extra by Andrea Hart, an effort on behalf of our We Are Not Alone campaign Wome...</div><div>Bobandtom</div><div><b>Jim Gaffigan </b>- Chesterton, IN, native Jim Gaffigan has been an A-list stand-up comic for well over a decade.&nbsp;He&nbsp;tells stories from his latest book, Dad Is Fat, a hilarious look at&nbsp;life with his five young kids.</div><div>Jim Gaffigan finds that fatherhood is a laughing matter by WBEZ's Morning ShiftChesterton, IN, native Jim Gaffigan has been an A-list stand-up comic for well over a decade. He tells stories from his latest book, Dad ...</div><div>Jim Gaffigan | Dad Is FatDad is Fat, the new book by Jim Gaffigan, is available for pre order now. Dad is Fat is sharply observed, explosively funny, and a cry fo...</div><div><b>Week In Review </b>- Nina Metz of the Chicago Tribune and Gary Younge of The Guardian bat around some of the big-and small stories in the news this week.</div><div>Nina Metz and Gary Younge talk about some of the huge stories on Week in Review by WBEZ's Morning ShiftNina Metz of the Chicago Tribune and Gary Younge of The Guardian bat around some of the big-and small stories in the news this week.</div><div>Charles Ramsey's 911 call describes girl trying to escape houseThe Washington Post</div><div>Charles Ramsey reminds me of none so much as Muhammad AliVox pops comes from the Latin vox populi - voice of the people. In reality, they are anything but. When the media conduct &quot;man on the str...</div><div>Nina Metz Biography</div><div><b>Bear Claw</b>&nbsp;-An unholy matrimony ofNirvana and...wait for it... Rick Astley...takes place as Chicago noise rockers BearClaw bring us the next installment of our Mash-Up series. &nbsp;</div><div>Bear Claw gives us their Nirvana and Rick Astley mash-up by WBEZ's Morning ShiftAn unholy matrimony of Nirvana and...wait for it... Rick Astley...takes place as Chicago noise rockers Bear Claw bring us the next instal...</div><div>Bear Claw (of Chicago, IL) | Rock from Chicago, ILBear Claw (of Chicago, IL) Lyrics, Songs, Music, and Videos by the band Bear Claw (of Chicago, IL) at ReverbNation</div></noscript></p></p> Fri, 10 May 2013 07:42:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift-tony-sarabia/2013-05-10/morning-shift-funny-dads-marching-moms-and-rockin Gov. Quinn claims breakthrough on pension reform http://www.wbez.org/news/gov-quinn-claims-breakthrough-pension-reform-104703 <p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn said Friday one of the most controversial proposals to fix the state&#39;s massive pension debt is temporarily off the table.&nbsp;</p><p>Quinn and some legislators have supported a so-called cost shift, which would require local school districts to pick up the tab of their own teacher&#39;s pensions.</p><p>Many Republican legislators have opposed that plan, saying it would force local property taxes to go up.</p><p>Teachers&#39; pensions are one of the biggest contributors to the state&#39;s $95 billion pension debt.</p><p>Steve Brown, a spokesman for House Speaker Michael Madigan said lawmakers will meet on Saturday to discuss the details of a compromised bill that would not include the cost shift. Brown said the cost shift is a way to end the extraordinary amount of money the state spends on teacher pensions, but, &ldquo;We need to try to pass what we can pass.&rdquo;</p><p>Brown said bipartisan support is needed to pass the kind of pension reform needed to be effective.</p><p>For months, Quinn has called on lawmakers to pass pension reform in January, before the session ends on Wednesday. With the clock ticking, Quinn met with some suburban lawmakers Friday morning before addressing the media.</p><p>Republican State Rep. Darlene Senger, who attended the meeting, said, &ldquo;The fact they came out of the gate with the cost shift removed really, I think, opened it up to a listening phase.&rdquo;</p><p>But passing any pension reform legislation could still be difficult, since any plan approved by the House would also need the support of the Senate, which adjourned Thursday.</p><p>The Senate earlier passed a measure that did not include the cost shift and affected just two of the state&rsquo;s five separate pension systems. Senate President John Cullerton says that plan is the most legally sound option available, since a legal challenge to any pension reform legislation is likely. If the courts strike down a new pension plan, the legislature could be back to square one.</p><p>Quinn said Friday the ideas in the Senate bill will be incorporated, but he didn&rsquo;t go into specifics. One aspect of the Senate&rsquo;s measure gives affected state employees a choice between pay raises in retirement or receiving health insurance.</p><p>&ldquo;There are ways you can, in drafting a bill, have what are called backstops that provide for protections against anything being declared unconstitutional,&rdquo; Quinn said.</p></p> Fri, 04 Jan 2013 12:26:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/gov-quinn-claims-breakthrough-pension-reform-104703 School officials decry Quinn's pension-shifting plan http://www.wbez.org/blogs/bez/2012-04/school-officials-decry-quinns-pension-shifting-plan-98654 <p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/school%20hallway%20Mark%20Sardella.jpg" title="(Flickr/Mark Sardella)">Approximately $44 billion of Illinois’s underfunded budget is attributed to pensions owed to the Teacher’s Retirement System, according to the <em><a href="http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2012-04-27/news/ct-oped-0427-zorn-20120427_1_teacher-pension-pension-costs-trs">Chicago Tribune</a></em>. Retired teachers earn 75 percent of their annual salary in pensions, with a 3 percent increase in benefits every year. &nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">That’s a pretty nice deal, if you're a retired teacher. As the state becomes increasingly unable to support that rate, however, there has been heightened disagreement over who should pay for it in the future.</div><p>Gov. Quinn -- and the majority of his pension reform panel --&nbsp;<a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/economy/quinn-makes-pension-reform-push-98446">believes </a>that it should be the school districts. The districts, they argue, negotiate salaries and contracts, and should therefore have the responsibility of paying for them. The system already works this way in Chicago, and Quinn says the transition to this system throughout the rest of the state would be gradual.<br><br>School officials see things differently. They argue that shifting the burden doesn’t solve the pension problem from a systemic standpoint at all, and <a href="http://lemont.patch.com/articles/lemont-school-officials-speak-out-against-proposed-shift-in-pension-payments">call</a> Quinn’s plan an “unfunded mandate.” Since decisions about pension law are made at the state level, they argue, TRS pensions should be funded by the state. Estimates for what the cost to individual districts could be range from $750,000 to $18 million a year depending on size. School districts across the board, already running on lean budgets, say that property tax hikes and teacher layoffs would basically be guaranteed if pensions were their responsibility.<br><br>Other measures, like raising the retirement age to 67, would make the transition easier on the schools. State Sen. Mike Noland, who sits on the governor’s pension reform panel, said a 3 percent increase in input by teachers was also being considered. He believes that a serious analysis by the state of what the cost of the transition would be is the next step towards essential tax reform in Illinois.</p><p>Meanwhile, on Thursday evening in Naperville, TRS Executive Director Dick Ingram gave a presentation on the potential shift, and said that while raising the retirement age and increasing input are solid ideas, the governor has backed off the idea of having schools cover pension costs somewhat. “There's a lot of conversations that still need to take place,” said Ingram, according to the <a href="http://www.dailyherald.com/article/20120426/news/120429880/">Daily Herald</a>, “This is nowhere close to being a done deal right now. We're going to be sorting it out over the next six weeks, or perhaps longer.”<br><br>Monday on <em>Eight Forty-Eight</em>&nbsp;WBEZ's Michael Puente will give us the latest on how this issue is developing. For many school officials, it’s the <a href="http://www.dailyherald.com/article/20120419/news/704199955/">uncertainty </a>that is a problem, especially as they have to think about passing their own budgets in the future. Puente will sit down with School District 158 Superintendent John Burkey, whose board of education recently passed a resolution opposing the potential transfer.<br><br>“We’ve taken a lot of hits,” says Burkey of his district, where faculty has been on a 2-year pay freeze, and in which the average salary in considerably lower than elsewhere in the state. “There is nothing left to cut other than programs and teachers.” Even if given the power to levy a property tax hike to cover the pensions costs--which are estimated to be around $2.75 million per year in District 158-- Burkey says the taxpayers wouldn’t stand for it.<br><br>State Sen. Heather Steans will also drop by <em>Eight Forty-Eight</em> to talk about the governor’s plans for pension reform. Steans, who has sponsored some minor pension reform bills in the Senate, will share her perspective from inside the negotiations.<br>&nbsp;</p></p> Mon, 30 Apr 2012 10:24:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/bez/2012-04/school-officials-decry-quinns-pension-shifting-plan-98654 Illinois pension director suggests cut for retired teachers http://www.wbez.org/news/education/illinois-pension-director-suggests-cut-retired-teachers-97817 <p><p>The director of the Illinois Teachers Retirement System is warning that financial troubles are so great it could consider reducing pension benefits to teachers who have already retired.</p><p>The Springfield <em>State Journal-Register</em> <a href="http://bit.ly/HyuHQj">reported Sunday</a> that it obtained a confidential memo written by Dick Ingram that contains the warning of that politically explosive possibility.</p><p>In it, Ingram says the state's largest pension system has been underfunded for decades and is no longer confident the state will continue to pay it enough money to remain solvent.</p><p>The suggestion is an indication of just how high concerns have risen over Illinois' pension problems.</p><p>Ingram says pension funding is under severe threat from the state's unpaid bills, soaring Medicaid costs and the $85 billion in overall unfunded pension liability.</p></p> Mon, 02 Apr 2012 10:09:46 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/education/illinois-pension-director-suggests-cut-retired-teachers-97817 Illinois Republicans say pension reform is top prioirty in 2012 http://www.wbez.org/story/illinois-republicans-say-pension-reform-top-prioirty-2012-95521 <p><p>Illinois state Republican leaders say reforming the pension system must be a top priority in 2012. They're calling on Democrats to help fix the state's ailing system in the coming year.</p><p>Illinois is facing an $85 billion shortfall in eventual pension costs due to years of underfunding and the prolonged economic downturn.</p><p>Republican House Leader Tom Cross co-sponsored a pension reform bill with Democratic House Speaker Mike Madigan last year, but Madigan has yet to call it for a vote.</p><p>Cross said the bipartisan support needed to approve the bill is not there yet.</p><p>"It's a very, very complicated issue and it's going to take both parties working together and be willing to make some very very tough choices," Cross told reporters Thursday.</p><p>That lack of action on pension reform was cited when Moody's downgraded Illinois' credit rating last week, making it the worst in the nation.</p><p>Gov. Pat Quinn, a Democrat, has pledged that reforming the state's pension system would be one of his top priorities for the year.</p></p> Thu, 12 Jan 2012 23:49:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/story/illinois-republicans-say-pension-reform-top-prioirty-2012-95521 Pension 'double-dipping' now illegal http://www.wbez.org/story/pension-double-dipping-now-illegal-95335 <p><p>New pension reforms are now in effect for Illinois. Governor Pat Quinn signed <a href="http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/billstatus.asp?DocNum=3813&amp;GAID=11&amp;GA=97&amp;DocTypeID=HB&amp;LegID=62071&amp;SessionID=84">a law</a> yesterday ending the practice of so-called double-dipping by public employees. The law also closes a loophole that allowed two lobbyists to qualify for teachers' retirement benefits after spending just one day in the classroom.</p><p>Illinois House Republican leader Tom Cross pushed for the changes.</p><p>"It's something that had to happen. We have seen a large number of abuses -- in my opinion types of fraud -- that were going on, and we needed to shut those doors so it does not continue," Cross said.</p><p>It's unclear whether the new law will be challenged in court. The Illinois Constitution says state pension benefits "shall not be diminished or impaired."</p><p>The new law does not address the state's under-funded pension system.</p></p> Fri, 06 Jan 2012 13:01:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/story/pension-double-dipping-now-illegal-95335 Wisconsin governor interrupted by protest http://www.wbez.org/story/wisconsin-governor-interrupted-protest-93735 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/photo/2011-November/2011-11-03/protestors pre protest.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker was in Illinois Thursday giving advice on budget reform. But his speech was interrupted by Chicago protestors.</p><p>About 30 protesters chanted sayings like, "Hey hey, ho ho, Scott Walker has got to go" and marched with signs in front of the Union League Club starting around 7:30 a.m.</p><p>Meanwhile, about 60 more protesters in suits and ties were sitting obediently at tables during Walker's breakfast talk.</p><p>The Republican governor kicked off his speech by joking about sports, noting how Illinois and Wisconsin both hate the Minnesota Vikings. Then one of the protesters jumped up, yelling, "Mic check!" The other protesters repeated him while Walker and the rest of the room took in what was happening.</p><p>The group, composed of Occupy Chicago protestors and members of the consortium Stand Up! Chicago, used one another like human megaphones. One protester would shout a line out from their collective speech and the rest would repeat it. When Union League workers and Gov. Walker's handlers approached each standing protester delivering their line, another would then pop up and pick up where the speech left off. That process continued for about five minutes until the protesters were ushered out.&nbsp;</p><p>As the chant started, Walker at first tried to continue his talk over the chanting. When it became clear they would not stop, the emcee stepped in and attempted to shout over them, asking them to leave. The rest of the crowd also began clapping to drown out the sound of the protesters, and gave him a standing ovation once the protesters were escorted out of the room.</p><p>Protesters paid the $20 for tickets for each of their seats. Catherine Murrell, the communications coordinator for Stand Up! Chicago said most protesters paid out of pocket, but anyone who could not afford to pay had their ticket paid for by a pool of money collected by Stand Up! Chicago.&nbsp;</p><p>No arrests were made.</p><p>Walker continued his talk after protesters cleared out, touting Wisconsin's reforms and slamming Illinois Democrats for the state's budget problems. &nbsp;</p><p>Walker mentioned the possibility of getting recalled as governor and said he welcomes the challenge. He also said he could use Illinois government officials' handling of the state's budget crisis as a case study for what not to do.</p><p>"Illinois raised taxes earlier this year, rather substantially on both employers and individuals, and instead they didn't solve the budget crisis, Walker said. "They didn't solve their long-term structural crisis."</p><p>Ill. Gov. Pat Quinn has said he does not wish to follow Walker's lead. Quinn has frequently criticized the Wisconsin governor for being unfair to unions.</p></p> Thu, 03 Nov 2011 18:22:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/wisconsin-governor-interrupted-protest-93735