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Illinois pension reform

Carter Staley/NPR Illinois

Between a new state pension plan and Governor Bruce Rauner's amendatory veto of the Democrats' school funding plan, some school districts would be in for a big hit in July 2020. The two changes would have a particularly significant impact on districts with high rates of teacher turnover and declining enrollment.

Illinois lawmakers are working on a budget for next year, but the state has gone nine months without a budget for this year. Governor Bruce Rauner's office made its case Wednesday before members of the Senate.

A new pension plan introduced Thursday by Republican Governor Bruce Rauner as a bipartisan deal immediately crashed and burned. 

  Even with all of its fiscal troubles Illinois will have to put nearly $8 billion into its retirement systems next year -- that's a quarter of the state's expected revenue. Legislative leaders and the governor may finally be poised to begin talking about how they may be able to reduce costs.

Illinois might not be done with the 2013 law reducing state employees’ pensions. Attorney General Lisa Madigan appears to be preparing an appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court.

It took legislators years of talking about Illinois' pension problem before they did much about it. There was a 2011 law that affects state employees, university professors, and public school teachers hired after that time. Then in 2013 they passed a law that reduced current workers' and retirees' benefits. Nearly immediately, workers and their unions sued, calling the law unconstitutional.

Wikimedia

The Illinois Supreme Court struck down legislation that tried to cut retirement benefits for thousands of state workers.  In a unanimous decision, the high court said lawmakers overstepped their power when they sought to cut pension benefits for state employees, university workers, and public school teachers.

There's a reason analysts say Illinois has the nation's lowest credit rating. It has the nation's largest unfunded pension liability. A 2013 law that’s facing a challenge before the Illinois Supreme Court is intended to help.

Illinois is facing a budget hole in the billions, thanks to a rollback of the income tax. If the high court tosses out the pension law, there'll be more fiscal pressure.

Analysts like Moody's Ted Hampton say the rating won't likely drop further, even if the justices toss the law because the rating already presumes the law cannot be implemented.

Pension Fight Won't End Regardless Of High Court Ruling

Mar 17, 2015

Union members and state employees can expect another pension battle ahead, regardless of what the Illinois Supreme Court says about the the current law meant to stem the tide on pension expenses.

Republican Governor Bruce Rauner says he'll push forward with his pension fix no matter how the seven justices rule on the 2013 legislation that was passed and signed into law before being put on hold by litigation.

A four-month nationwide search has led to the appointment of the State Universities Retirement System.   

Bryan Lewis will soon direct the $17 billion pension fund.  Lewis currently manages and does the investment strategy for the state of North Carolina's retirement systems.

His resume also includes time at CitiGroup and Merrill Lynch, as well as other companies.

"SURS" has about 227,000 members.

The many years legislators spent crafting a measure to rein in the state's pension costs came to a head yesterday in 52-and-a-half minute hearing before the Illinois Supreme Court. It's now up to the seven justices whether a law that reduces employees' and retirees' benefits is constitutional.

Even before then-Gov. Pat Quinn signed the pension overhaul into law just over a year ago, everyone knew it would come to this.

Rich Egger

Some of the main architects of the Illinois law that seeks to save the state money by reducing workers' pensions have begun collecting pensions of their own.  That includes the former governor and some people who recently left the legislature.

Wiki Commons

An Illinois judge has ruled that a law intended to fix the nation's worst-funded state employee pensions violates the state Constitution.

Amanda Vinicky/Illinois Public Radio

The underfunding of the state's pensions have grabbed headlines the past several years, and finally reached the political tipping point late last year when legislators passed an overhaul of the systems.

Legislators passed a law overhauling the state's retirement systems. Soaring pension debt remains a concern. The law's constitutionality is also in question. It reduces workers' and retirees' benefits, and raises the retirement age.

Illinois lawmakers hope to have a second shot at reaching a compromise with public employees over pensions, but the unions are pinning their hopes on the court system.

The Illinois Supreme Court says the free health insurance enjoyed by state retirees is protected by the Illinois Constitution.

  It could be December before a judge decides on the legality of Illinois' pension overhaul law for at least another five months. Attorneys met Thursday in Sangamon County Court and agreed on a timeline for the case.

Current and retired state employees, teachers and university workers are suing Gov. Pat Quinn over the pension overhaul passed by the General Assembly late last year.

The General Assembly finished its legislative session shortly after midnight Saturday, approving a billion-dollar road construction program.

Democrats started the session with an ambitious agenda: raise the minimum wage, boost college assistance for low-income students, maybe even change Illinois' flat tax into a graduated one. In the end, none of that happened.

Western Illinois University

Illinois’ pension reform has pushed hundreds of state employees into early retirement. It’s also canceling an annual celebration in Macomb.

401(K)2012 / Flickr Creative Commons

The implementation of Illinois’ pension reform has been delayed by an injunction issued by a Sangamon County Judge.

A judge has blocked the Illinois pension overhaul from taking effect next month.

A court is being asked to prevent any aspect of Illinois' pension overhaul from taking effect, until it's decided whether the law is constitutional. A motion was filed Friday in Sangamon County Court.

A new report (PDF) says Illinois' pension overhaul will save less money than advertised. Some politicians are trying to make hay out of that. But it might not be such a big deal.

The pension vote came with promises of big savings — $160 billion. Then, after it was already law, a new analysis of the bill said, well, maybe we'll save $145 billion.

This latest report puts savings even lower, at $137 billion.

Bad Reputation for Illinois is Costly to Taxpayers

Mar 10, 2014
Rich Egger

Illinois already has the worst credit rating among states.  While that adds to the cost of borrowing money, Illinois winds up paying even more because investors view it as risky of default.

Illinois labor unions have filed a lawsuit seeking a new plan to reduce the state's $100 billion pension shortfall declared unconstitutional.

Illinois will see its budget deficit grow despite the recently-passed pension law.

Brian Mackey

Money will likely be tight for politicians crafting Illinois’ next budget, despite a pension law that's supposed to save $160 billion.

Two more groups of retired Illinois state employees have filed lawsuits challenging a new plan to eliminate the state's $100 billion public pension shortfall.

It took just a little more than a week for a pension overhaul in Illinois to go from an agreement between legislative leaders to law.

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