How do Illinois Union Monopolies ‘Defund’ Active Police? This is one way…

Illinois police union monopoly
Pro-union monopoly Illinois labor policies have forced East St. Louis to slash its police force by 50%. (Credit: Paul Sableman/Wikimedia Commons)

‘Pension Crowd-Out’ Means Patrol Cutbacks in Illinois Cities

Despite rapidly rising crime rates in many Illinois municipalities, urban and suburban public officials throughout the Prairie State are continuing to cut public-safety staff this year.

A recent analysis conducted by Wirepoints, a Wilmette, Ill.-based nonprofit furnishing news and commentary on state and local issues, found that nearly 100 of Illinois’s 175 largest municipalities have cut their active police counts since 2003. Fifty cities have seen reductions of 10% or more.

These reductions are decidedly not occurring because radical advocates of “defunding the police” have taken over municipal governments. Instead, they are a consequence of mandatory monopoly-unionism policies that make it effectively impossible for local elected officials to get control over skyrocketing pension costs.

To Save Illinois Cities, Big Labor Monopoly Privileges Must Be Revoked

National Right to Work Committee Vice President John Kalb explained:

“As part of a desperate, but surely futile, bid to make good on empty pension promises made over the course of several decades by government union bosses and politicians who colluded with them, Illinois local officials have raised annual city pension contributions by nearly 300% since 2003.

“From 2003 to 2019, taxpayer-funded pension contributions grew 3.5 times as fast as overall city budgets. In 2019 alone, Illinois cities collectively poured nearly $1 billion into pension funds. 

“Unfortunately, as Ted Dabrowski and John Klingner of Wirepoints noted in their June 25 analysis, Illinois cities have no substantial power to reduce local taxpayers’ pension costs, because local pension terms and benefits are largely dictated by state officials.  

“And so far Illinois’ Big Labor-owned state executive and legislative branches have shown no interest in doing anything to ameliorate the state’s local pension crisis, despite the mounting cuts in police and other vital staff.

“To make Illinois cities viable again, several fundamental reforms are indispensable.

“As fiscal-policy specialists like Mr. Dabrowski and Mr. Klingner have emphasized, it is absolutely necessary that, in the near future, public officials reform future accruals of government pension benefits for employees who have already been hired as well as for those who haven’t been hired yet. Already-earned benefits could be protected.


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