|And teachers aren’t the only public employees taking advantage of the perk.
Over 50 percent of retired university workers have some sick-leave credit. Nearly 70 percent of retired state workers do, too.
To be clear, the workers who benefit from sick-leave accumulation and other perks aren’t at fault. They’re simply benefitting from overly generous contracts that state and local politicians have doled out to them.
But it’s also clear that perks such as sick-leave accumulation have made pension benefits too unrealistic for state workers to count on and too rich for taxpayers to keep paying for.
To fix this, lawmakers should end accumulated sick leave as a subject of collective bargaining.
Teachers should have sick leave on a use-it-or-lose-it basis, as it exists in the private sector.
Instead of tax hikes, reform pension sweeteners
Accumulated sick leave is just one of the many perks that spike the costs of public-sector pensions for which taxpayers must pay.
Other perks include automatic end-of-career salary spikes, automatic pay raises for various levels of education, and other increases that pay public-sector employees more just for showing up from one year to the next.
Yet Illinois politicians wedded to the status quo would rather hike taxes on struggling Illinoisans than end any of those perks.
Illinoisans are already suffering under one of the nation’s worst business climates, a shrinking population, the highest unemployment rate in the Midwest, collapsing manufacturing, stagnant incomes, and the nation’s highest property taxes.
Illinois politicians should get their priorities straight. It’s just not fair to tax people who are already squeezed when there are billions in perks left to reform.
And it’s not just perks. There are many spending drivers politicians should reform before even mentioning tax hikes.
The Illinois Policy Institute has laid out a framework, Budget Solutions 2018, for politicians so they can solve Illinois’ budget crisis without hurting Illinoisans with more tax hikes.