Synopsis: Another Simple Example of Why State of Illinois Government is Approaching an Inevitable Financial “Fail.”
Editor’s comment: I am trying to get my readers to understand this State is like the good ship, RMS Titanic. Unless we unexpectedly discover oil or gold, this State is headed toward the bottom of the financial ocean. It isn’t a question of “if,” it is simply a matter of when. As I reported last week, the debt from this craziness was evaluated by Moody’s to already be a quarter of a TRILLION dollars. The amount of that debt is more than $250,000,000,000 and continuing to rise by tens of millions each day.
Last week, we saw an Illinois WC Commission Investigator who became the center of a racist email probe. In response to the allegations, he is simply retiring to accept his personal version of the fake IL gov’t pension pot-o-gold. Please understand this means he will shortly be making more tax-free money than he was while employed but he won’t need to show up any more or face further scrutiny.
The Chicago Tribune reported this Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission employee sent personal emails alleged to be the source of racist, sexist and anti-gay emails that were regularly circulated among City of Chicago Water Department managers/employees. It appears obvious someone in the Water Department didn’t like them and ratted out, oops, I mean told on the State worker.
The IL WC Commission investigator gave notice he will retire effective today, the newspaper said. The IL WC Commission launched an investigation after the Tribune reported this worker’s AOL address was the source of at least four offensive emails that circulated among water department managers. One of the emails described a fake “Chicago Safari” adventure tour that made light of the shootings of children in black and Hispanic neighborhoods, according to The Tribune.
The paper indicated this soon-to-be former State worker was paid $114,000 annually. He was also the Republican Party Committeeman for the 27th and 26th Wards on Chicago’s West Side. Can it be a coincidence to learn a Chicago Ward Committeeman got a cushy, “do-close-to-nothing” State job? How many other do-close-to-nothing jobs are there at the IWCC where they are spending work hours and State network time emailing other State/County/City government departments with similar silliness? In working over three decades at the IWCC, I saw this worker on a regular basis, typically sitting at a desk, doing very little. He obviously had plenty of time to create and send silly/insulting/inappropriate emails. I have no idea what his job as an “investigator” might have been. I am personally shocked to hear how much you and other taxpayers were paying him to do as little work as I saw him do. If you keep reading, you may note that starting today, we are certain to pay him millions more.
Please note the IL fake government pension system will now provide him 85% of his highest pay or $114,000 times 85% equaling $96,900.00 in the first year of retirement. He will receive 3% compounded annual increases to the fake gov’t pension—in short, he will now be constitutionally guaranteed raises that he wasn’t guaranteed as an active State worker. In five short years after leaving government work this coming week, he will be back to making at least $114,000 a year from his fake gov’t pension. The State of Illinois used to tax his regular income while working—they do not tax State gov’t fake pensions, even when the money being paid dramatically exceeds pension contributions.
In about 24 years from today and he is almost certain to live 24 years, his fake IL government pension will be paying him approximately $200,000 a year or $1M every five years. In 48 years, if he lives that long, his fake government pension will be paying him more than quadruple the initial amount or $400,000 a year, all of it tax-free. At that time, his annual increases/raises to the gigantic fake pension payout will be $12,000 every year. He is certain to get millions more in retirement than he would ever have made if he continued to “work.” We can’t directly blame him but we need to first get everyone to understand how an IL State gov’t fake pension is like winning the lottery.
To my understanding, he will also have “Cadillac” health care coverage paid solely by IL State taxpayers, you and I for the rest of his days. Former Governor Quinn tried to get retirees like him to fractionally contribute to their healthcare plans and it was shot down by our IL Supreme Court with Illinois taxpayers forced to pay millions for the legal fees of the State workers who challenged and blocked the new law.
I point out to you and all my readers, this inevitable financial “fail” is simply math. All of this challenging math is guaranteed by the IL State Constitution and is aggressively protected by the IL Supreme Court. Unless changes are made and made some time soon, our State Gov’t is going to hit the financial ocean floor when Wall Street pulls the plug on continued borrowing. The math above isn’t truly political or a “Republican” or “Democrat” issue because both sides of the political matrix have caused and contributed to the issue over the last half-century. There are also lots of folks like this former investigator from each party that bask in this gov’t largesse.
What can be done about it? Well, the fake IL government pensions can and should be ended asap to try to avert or start to slow this financial gov’t shipwreck. The members of the IL General Assembly can and should stop their fake gov’t pensions for legislature newbies, which could occur in four short years, if they had the guts to do so. The IL judicial pension program would need twenty years for new and incoming judges/justices to end their lottery-like winnings, I mean fake gov’t pension payouts.
IL Senate President Cullerton has a detailed and well-researched plan to cut other state fake gov’t pensions and save something like $1B in doing so. We salute him for his hard work and see the plan as viable. That plan can and should be considered sooner rather than later. Another plan by the IL Policy Institute is to end all State fake gov’t pensions for newbies and rapidly move to a 401K type plan for incoming workers.
Will Illinois Republicans Ever Start to Cut the Size and Cost of our Insanely Expensive State Government?
Right now, the IWCC and other State agencies are being directed by Republicans who were selected by and report to Governor Rauner. I do not believe there are any restrictions on those State agency heads ending the jobs of unneeded and redundant staff. In my view, the IL WC Commission and all 87 of the other IL State Agencies should start to cut staff and get leaner to avoid the punitive future costs of these fake gov’t pensions. The fewer State workers there are, the less we will have to pay to “back-fund” these obviously unfunded fake government pensions. At present, the IWCC annual budget is about $30M. This year, the IL General Assembly wanted to strip out 1/3 of the IWCC annual budget to create a silly and tiny monoline WC insurance carrier. That signals to me and lots of folks who oppose bloated IL State government the IWCC can and would survive and thrive with less staff and a lower budget.
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Synopsis: Indiana WC Update by Kevin Boyle, J.D.
Editor’s comment: In case you didn’t hear about it, there is some important news just in from the Indiana Worker’s Compensation Board (the “Board”).
The IN WC Board just put out a notice that the Board is set to formally begin its enforcement protocol concerning the untimely filing of statutorily required IN WC forms and payment of WC benefits. You may have heard in early 2016 that this was eventually going to happen, and now it finally is here.
Please check your procedures for timely filing some of the basic Indiana WC forms like the First Reports of Injury, 1043s and others. A late filing may suddenly become a more real problem than it has in the past, as a result of the new plans for stronger statewide enforcement. But, there is a grace period on penalties through September 30, 2017 so you still have time to work on it.
Their notice provides that “during this period, you may receive letters and notice of actions found to be in violation of IC 22-3-3-7, 22-3-7-16, 22-3-4-13(a) and 22-3-7-37 so that appropriate remedies can be put in place.”
After the grace period ends at the end of September, i.e. for all injury dates on or after October 1, 2017, penalties will be assessed. Pursuant to IC 22-3-4-15, escalation of penalties will apply where more than one violation occurs in a single cause concerning the same injured worker and the same injury date. The Indiana WC Board also noted that “in the future, violations of 631 IAC 1-1-26 shall also become the subject of notice by the Board” if the 15 day time frame is violated.
The IN WC Board also encourages your comments and concerns with this process so they may be addressed by the Board prior to October 1st, 2017. Their contact information is online at http://www.in.gov/wcb/2340.htm
You can also reach out to Kevin Boyle, J.D. at firstname.lastname@example.org. Kevin has extensive experience and understanding of the internal workings of the IWCB. He can help with whatever an employer or insurance carrier might need in dealing with these intricate issues.
If you have any questions, or could use help with your forms, filings, these new rules, and/or violations, please contact Kevin to discuss.
Synopsis: IS IT MID YEAR ALREADY??--NEW IL WC RATES ARE POSTED—UPDATED RATE SHEETS AVAILABLE SOON FOR ILLINOIS WC RATE INCREASE!!!
Editor’s comment: Illinois WC Rates Jump Again So Please Be Aware Of The New Rates or Your Claims Handling Will Suffer and Penalties May Ensue.
We like to hope it’s a sign of a growing economy—even though rates continued to increase almost every cycle as we continue to watch the growth of IL WC rates. As we have mentioned in the past, since in the 1980’s, the IL WC Act provides a formula which effectively insures no matter how poor the IL economy is doing WC rates continue to climb.
We caution our readers to pay attention to the fact the IL WC statutory maximum PPD rate is $775.18. However, this rate is only through June 30, 2017 and the new max PPD will be published in January 2018. When it will be published in January 2018, this rate will change retroactively from July 1, 2017 forward. If you don’t make the change, your reserves will be incorrect--if this isn’t clear, send a reply.
The current TTD weekly maximum has risen to $1,440.60. A worker has to make over $2,160.09 per week or $112,366.80 per year to hit the new IL WC maximum TTD rate.
The new IL WC minimum death benefit only increased by about $5 but we have now cracked the $700k ceiling. That amount is now 25 years of compensation or $540.23 per week x 52 weeks in a year x 25 years or $702,299.00! The new maximum IL WC death benefit is $1,440.60 times 52 weeks times 25 years or a lofty $1,872,780.00 plus burial benefits of $8K. IL WC death benefits also come with annual COLA increases which we feel can potentially makes Illinois the highest in the U.S. for WC death claims.
The best way to make sense of all of this is to get Shawn Biery’s colorful, updated and easy-to-understand IL WC Rate Sheet. AGAIN—If you want just one or a dozen or more, simply reply to Shawn at email@example.com and Marissa at firstname.lastname@example.org They will get a copy routed to you once we get laminated copies back from the printer—hopefully before they raise the rates again! Please confirm your mailing address if you would like laminated copies sent to your home or office!