Synopsis: Hey, New Governor Pritzker--Run IL State Gov’t Like a Hyatt Hotel!!
Editor’s comment: Today, January 14, 2019, J.B. Pritzker was sworn in as the new Governor of Illinois. Our State has the fifth highest population of the entire U.S. We also have the wealthiest Governor in U.S. history, I think.
New Gov. Pritzker is dropping some hints about what’s likely to be in his first state budget, but the governor-elect still isn’t committing to much definite except giving full details in his upcoming February 2019 speech. In an interview, Pritzker said his spending plan will be balanced and indicated he wants it passed on time by late spring.
One thing that won’t be in the budget is an ersatz version of the graduated income tax, one that raises our tax rates but then eliminates them for many lower-income taxpayers by sharply increasing deductions. Pritzker appeared to be leaning in that direction earlier, suggesting it would be a good way to pursue change before a needed constitutional amendment authorizing a graduated tax can be implemented.
Instead, the Gov’s budget likely will rely on revenues from taxes on legalizing the recreational sale of marijuana products, expanded legal gambling and sports betting. To me, the most intriguing statement is the new Governor’s statement “efficiencies in state government” will be part of the “balanced budget” package.
If You Want Gov’t Efficiency, Consider Running State Gov’t Like a Private Company!!!
Please note IL State Gov’t has 88 State agencies. We need about 20. We have amazing and almost record redundancy in these many agencies. When you have 88 agencies, you have 88 Agency Heads and 88 Ass’t Agency Heads and 88 HR managers and basically 88 everythings. Judy Baar Topinka, rest her soul, pointed out the IL State Treasurer and the IL State Comptroller are essentially the same agency—they were created back in the day to effectively watch each other spend our money. To combine those agencies would probably save $10M in a fell swoop. Similarly, why is there an IL Dep’t of Transportation and the IL Toll Authority? Don’t they clearly do precisely the same thing for toll and non-tool roads? Please also note the State of IL has seven, count ‘em, seven State Police Departments!!! Couldn’t all those cops be combined in the IL State Police? What does the Secretary of State Police Department do anyway?
In my view, State workers are over-paid, over-staffed and “over-retired.” We have the highest paid prison/correction guards in the U.S. In rural Pontiac, IL, www.indeed.com indicates our IL corrections officers’ pay is 44% over the national average. Almost all IL State workers make more than the national average for their jobs, regardless of how rural the area they are working in might be. The Springfield Journal-Register confirmed there are almost 75,000 Illinois State workers and their total payroll is around $4.5B dollars!!
Please remember all of such workers are entitled to the gigantic fake gov’t pension program which pays retiring workers 85% of their highest salaries along with 3% compounded annual increases and virtually free medical coverage until they finally pass! As I have repeatedly reported, these fake gov’t pension and healthcare benefits are currently $200B in debt and that amount is going up by the millions each minute of every day. One way to cut that future debt is to trim unneeded gov’t jobs.
Please JB, Automate Thousands of State Jobs!!
As a simple example, the State of Illinois wastes literally millions of dollars every year with humans taking tolls on our toll roads. In contrast, the Indiana State Toll Road has no humans, not a single person is engaged in taking dollars/coins or making change for their toll-road users. You can pay Indiana tolls with a credit card or go online but you can’t give money to a human. There are literally thousands of other IL State gov’t jobs that can and should be eliminated or replaced by what my kid calls a “computer” with one goal in mind—save money for taxpayers who are shouldering the highest combined tax burden in the country.
I have seen job postings for positions across the State where gov’t workers are doing things in the most inefficient and least effective way—the sole reason for the inefficiency is to protect the job and leave the burden for it on taxpayers.
How About the IL WC Commission?
Well, I am sorry to say this but I think the IWCC could get along with about half of their staff and still be effective. We have more than 30 Arbitrators—Indiana to our east has five. I am sure we could have 15 Arbitrators who would be busy but the current roster is close to double what it might take to be “busy” because IL WC claims keep dropping every year and more people keep fleeing our State due to ever-rising taxes. Please note no one in State gov’t ever talks about how few people are needed to fulfill a function—once a state gov’t job is created, it is virtually impossible to end it.
In 2005, the IWCC went from six Commissioners to nine—each Commissioner has two full time attorney assistants. With respect, I consider all 27 of these jobs to be the cushiest administrative jobs in the U.S.—if all 27 lawyers issued one decision on a contested claim each week, they would have nothing to do in ninety days. If you want the math, send a reply. I am sure we could easily go back to six or even three Commissioners.
The most egregious and open example of wasting our tax dollars are the four “remote” IWCC offices across the State, in Springfield, Collinsville, Peoria and Rockford. These are almost hilarious to contemplate—the IWCC website says “If you intend to visit our Peoria or Rockford office, please call first to make sure the office is open.” Why not just permanently close all such offices and let the public figure out how to access online forms and other information?
We wish our new Governor all the best in his chosen position. He spent literally millions to bring his new face and expertise to IL State gov’t. We hope he takes hold of the reins and does something no IL Governor has done in recent memory—streamline gov’t and run it like a competitive private company would be operated. We will have to wait and see how things go. Please watch this space for news as I report it.
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Synopsis: Odd and Almost Never-Ending WC Ruling For Litigious City of Chicago Worker.
Editor’s comment: In Pisano v. Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission, you may note at least one of the claims took 13 years to resolve!! From my count, Claimant Pisano had 14 different IL WC claims against the City and settled all but these three. Some of the claims may have been handled by the City’s corporation counsel and some of them appear to have been farmed out to the “emergency-only” outside defense firm picked by Alderman Ed Burke. To my understanding both the defense firm and the Claimant firm donate regularly and heavily to Alderman Burke’s 18th Ward Organization or his other secret political entities. I promise “only the Shadow knows” where and how much money has been donated.
Either way, it appears Claimant was a hoist engineer for the City of Chicago who alleged he injured his wrist, elbow, and shoulders in three separate incidents from 2005 to 2010. For reasons I don’t understand, the claims were “consolidated” which is supposed to mean they are heard in order—such claims are not supposed to be “blended” into one claim, as clearly occurred with these three old claims.
An Arbitrator awarded Claimant PPD or Permanent Partial Disability for his elbow and wrist injury in the first incident. The Arbitrator also awarded wage-differential benefits for a wrist injury in the second event. The Arbitrator ruled the third incident was part and parcel to the first two and did not require additional PPD benefits. The Arbitrator denied Claimant’s request for Permanent Total Disability because he was physically capable of obtaining other employment if he went through and cooperated with vocational training. The Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission approved the ruling, with some changes to the wage-differential rate.
The Illinois Appellate Court, WC Division recently overturned the trial court’s ruling on whether a claimant could receive two forms of workers’ compensation benefits from separate injuries that were “consolidated” or blended into one claim. The Court ruling indicated are several types of benefits that the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission can award, including:
Body as a whole
Wage loss and
Total and permanent disability.
The trial court remanded the case back to the IWCC, stating Claimant should receive only one form of benefits that encompasses all of his injuries. The IWCC chose to award Claimant wage-differential benefits. The Appellate Court overturned the trial court’s ruling while also modifying the IWCC’s original ruling:
The wrist and elbow injuries were “separate” and Claimant can receive a different form of IL WC benefits for each one; but
Claimant could not receive both PPD and wage-differential benefits for the wrist injury, as the IWCC originally ruled.
The IL WC Appellate Court ruled Claimant should receive PPD benefits for his elbow, which he injured in the first incident, and wage-differential benefits for his wrist, which he injured in the first incident and reinjured in the second incident.
The ruling can be viewed online at http://www.illinoiscourts.gov/Opinions/WorkersComp/2018/1172712WC.pdf
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