Pensions
6:11 pm
Fri July 26, 2013

Business Group Refuses Comment on Bond Accusation

An influential group of business executives is declining to comment on the possibility it helped to lower Illinois' credit rating. But public employees’ unions are calling for an investigation.

The Civic Committee of the Commercial Club of Chicago — and one of its leaders, former Illinois Attorney General Ty Fahner — were early leaders of the charge to do something about the state's underfunded pensions.

Fahner's been one of the most vocal advocates of doing not just something, but something major, to bring down the state's pension costs.

Of course, the main way to do that is to cut workers' retirement benefits.

So there's long been a feud between Fahner and public employees’ unions who don't want their members' pensions slashed. But the unions say Fahner went too far.

"It's totally outrageous and every working, taxpaying Illinois citizen should be appalled," Lindall says.

That's Anders Lindall, spokesman for the state's largest public employees' union, AFSCME. In a speech in March (at 46:33), Fahner made remarks that Lindall says makes it sound like Fahner tried to push credit ratings agencies to lower the state's bond rating.

"That costs every taxpayer in every interest," Lindall says. "It makes it more expensive for the state to borrow for its legitimate needs."

But so far, there's been no word of anyone following up on the unions' calls for an investigation.  And the Civic Committee isn't commenting.