CAGW Names Gov. Pat Quinn Porker of the Month | Citizens Against Government Waste

CAGW Names Gov. Pat Quinn Porker of the Month

Porker of the Month

For Immediate Release
September 26, 2012


Contact:  Leslie K. Paige 202-467-5334 Luke Gelber 202-467-5318

CAGW Names Gov. Pat Quinn Porker of the Month

(Washington, D.C.) – Today, Citizens Against Government Waste (CAGW) named Illinois Governor Pat Quinn (D) its September, 2012 Porker of the Month for suggesting the possibility of a federal bailout for his state’s public sector pension programs, which are among the least funded in America. Gov. Quinn’s fiscal year (FY) 2012 budget (published in 2011), referenced his state’s looming pension problem, stating that “while the pension reform of 2010 improved the situation by decreasing future liabilities … significant long term improvements will come only from additional pension reforms, refinancing the liability and seeking a federal guarantee of the debt, or increasing the annual required state contributions [emphasis added].” When queried about it then, the governor claimed that the inclusion of that bailout language was a “precaution.”

On September 20, 2012, The Wall Street Journal was alerted to the language by the Illinois Public Policy Institute, which had launched a website called Exposed again, Gov. Quinn repudiated the budget language and claimed its inclusion in the 2012 budget had been a drafting “error,” even though it was still in the document. However, as far back as October 2009, an article published in Crain's Chicago Business reported that “… local officials have asked President Barack Obama for a few favors since he took office; but now they want a really big one: a federal guarantee of a potential $14-billion Illinois pension bond obligation issue. According to newly installed state Budget Director David Vaught, Gov. Pat Quinn recently brought up the idea with U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner and others at the White House. The governor got a good enough reception that he ‘intends to extend’ his efforts, Mr. Vaught said.” Though the governor is rapidly trying to distance himself from the budget language (it has finally been expunged from the document), he has as yet refused to publicly rule out the possibility of seeking a federal pension bailout for Illinois in the future.

“Whether Illinois manages to secure a public sector pension bailout or not, Gov. Quinn has, with this budget language and subsequent conflicted statements, sent an encouraging message to other mismanaged states which could incent state officials to view federal bailouts as a viable possibility,” said CAGW President Tom Schatz. “Intentionally or not, he has caused ears to prick up in state governments across the country, where decades of poor management along with an unwillingness to protect taxpayers from exorbitant wage and benefit demands by state workers have left huge debts and unfunded liabilities. It is critical that lawmakers nip this notion in the bud, and assure federal taxpayers everywhere that they will not be left holding the bag for states that have failed to get their fiscal houses in order.

“Tomorrow, CAGW will unveil a new report, Public Servants or Privileged Class: How State Government Employees are Paid Better than Their Private-Sector Counterparts,” added Schatz. “The report analyzes government employee wages and benefits in all 50 states, and shows the impact of high public employee compensation on the massive liabilities for unfunded pensions that are devastating the finances of cities and states across the country. The solution to these problems is reform, not a series of bailouts,” Schatz concluded.

For putting out the call that could send governors, mayors, and city council members sprinting for the federal trough, Illinois Governor Pat Quinn is CAGW’s September, 2012 Porker of the Month.

CAGW is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization dedicated to eliminating waste, fraud, abuse, and mismanagement in government. Porker of the Month is a dubious honor given to lawmakers, government officials, and political candidates who have shown a blatant disregard for the interests of taxpayers.

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