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posted: 5/6/2014 12:01 AM

No real debate on fire station staffing

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No real debate on fire station staffing

The president of the Association of Fire Fighters of Illinois objects to the editorial on the House bill that would compel town and municipalities to negotiate the staffing levels for their fire departments with the firefighters union. He said, "we agree this issue should be debated."

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The fact is there is no debate. The supermajority of Democrats in the House passed the bill; the supermajority of Democrats' in the Senate will do the same. Taxpayers already are heavily burdened by the legislature promising unsustainable contractual pension and health benefits to the unions and then failing to actually fund those benefits. This bill is the result of direct lobbying by the firefighters union to mandate into law union control of staffing levels. The elected officials in local towns and municipalities will lose control over the staffing of local services and be responsible for increased property taxes dictated by union contracts; in return, the supermajority of incumbent Democrats in Springfield insure the union vote for their re-election in this and future years at taxpayer expense.

Governor Quinn weighed in on the bill pandering to the unions for their vote and to the local towns and municipalities by suggesting an "election year promise," with no specifics, of course, to consider a discussion of greater allocations of income tax revenue back to the local communities. The Illinois Department of Revenue reports 2010 income tax at 3 percent and the 2011 and 2012 income tax at 5 percent on Illinois residents totaled $8.6 billion, $14.7 billion and $16.3 billion, respectively, increases of 71 percent and 90 percent, respectively. Although $13.8 billion of additional tax revenue flowed into Springfield in 2011 and 2012, the revolving balance of unpaid bills under Gov. Quinn remained at $7.5 billion.

Howard Snyder

Wheaton

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