Iroquois County Board Member Barb Offill believes there's a simple reason why Gov. J.B. Pritzker is boosting the pay and benefits for Illinois union workers: because they got him elected.
"The unions are the base of Pritzker's support, and they are the most important part of the base," Offill told the Kankakee Times. "The unions will be taken care of, and most of the working class will not see what's going on."
Since passing a $40 billion budget and a $45 billion capital bill, Pritzker has been negotiating contract terms with the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) union that will give state workers annual raises in January 2020 starting with a 1.5-percent increase. From there, increases rise to 2.1 percent and then 3.95 percent. The total of all the raises given by 2022 will be more than $7,000 apiece in less than four years.
Iroquois County Board member Barb Offill | www.facebook.com
Money speaks volumes, said Offill, but none of that money is going to taxpayers under Pritzker's leadership thus far.
"Pritzker's going to spend more and more money that this state does not have," she said. "Productive people will be forced to move out of Illinois due to the ridiculously high taxes and fees, leaving only people living off of the government."
Before new pay raises and other benefits, Illinois state workers are already the second-highest paid workers in the U.S., receiving free health insurance in retirement after 20 years of service. AFSCME workers who work for the government their entire careers reportedly receive more than $1.8 million pensions.
Pritzker has proposed almost two dozen tax hikes, according to Offill, who named up to 20 including the fair tax hike and a real estate transfer tax.
"I am sure I could be missing a few," she said, adding that the taxpayer is not a consideration under the current administration. "They are just here to be drained. In my opinion, Pritzker does not care about the taxpayers in this state, and people are getting the message. Illinois right now is well on its way to being another California."