State Rep. Batinick calls on voters to help 'put out the fire' that threatens to burn down Illinois
Illinois state Rep. Mark Batinick (R-Plainfield) would like to see more of the anger he believes is percolating across the state.
“The only way we start to clean up the mess is by voters fighting back,” Batinick told Will County Gazette. “Right now, the state is burning down and they’re the only ones who can put out the fire.”
Batinick points to the story of how one former union lobbyist recently became eligible for a Teacher Retirement System (TRS) pension based on the one day he served as a substitute teacher as the latest example of how crazed things have become in Springfield. David Picciolia longtime lobbyist for the Illinois Federation of Teachers (IFT), took advantage of a two-decades old law that allows IFT officers to be classified as teacher pension-eligible based on the combination of having earned a teaching certificate, worked in a classroom and satisfied all past employee pension dues.
Piccioli’s union standing was upheld in a recent 4-3 Illinois Supreme Court ruling after the court established he had earned all his necessary accreditations and paid off the $193,000 he owed in TRS contributions. The state high court’s ruling reaffirmed an earlier verdict that mandated retirement benefits promised to public workers cannot be "diminished or impaired," even though pension debt in Illinois has spiraled to more than $134 billion.
“It’s absurd that this loophole hasn’t been corrected," Batinick added. “Voters have to get more involved and speak out on all the things going wrong. To not do so is like offering tacit support for all of it.”
Piccioli already receives two other state pensions totaling more than $68,000 annually, and the TRS subsidy has been estimated to be worth in the neighborhood of $36,000.
Batinick’s 97th District includes portions of Bolingbrook, Joliet, Montgomery, Naperville, Oswego, Plainfield and Shorewood.