Democratic Illinois Governor Pat Quinn and House Speaker Michael Madigan (D-Chicago) support a proposal to shift the pension funding burden from the state to local school districts.
But State Senator John Sullivan (D-Rushville) said there are good reasons to oppose the plan.
“It's a triple whammy for the districts,” Sullivan said. He pointed out:
1) Local districts would be burdened with the responsibility for a major expense.
2) State financial support for school districts continues to decline.
3) EAVs continue to fall for many districts, especially downstate, which means they are generating less local revenue.
“The bottom line is that's it's going to mean less teachers, it's going to mean larger class sizes, it's going to mean less curriculum that they're going to be able to offer to their students,” Sullivan said.
“So at this point in time, no, it's not something that I could support.”
Governor Quinn has called a special legislative session for August 17 to deal with pension reform. Sullivan questions the need for the session. He said there is no consensus on a plan that lawmakers could vote on.
Sullivan also talked to Illinois Public Radio about Quinn's decision this week to rewrite Senate Bill 681 to include a ban on UZIs, AK-47s, and other assault weapons. The original bill allowed Illinois residents to buy ammunition by mail from companies within the state (it's already legal to mail-order ammo from out of state).
Sullivan said the original legislation was a good bill. He does not support the governor's changes. He wondered if it's simply a publicity stunt by the governor.