Illinois pension reform

Cuts to Benefits
11:03 am
Thu March 14, 2013

Pension Plans Advance in Illinois Legislature

The Illinois Capitol building

The Illinois Senate has moved forward with a pair of measures (SB 1 and SB 35)  that would strip government workers of some of their pension benefits. The changes would impact state and university employees, as well as downstate and suburban public school teachers.

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Still No Agreement
6:48 pm
Thu February 28, 2013

Illinois Pension Reform Plans Go Nowhere Fast

It was billed as a "day of pensions" in the Illinois House. But it turned into about a half-hour's worth as Illinois lawmakers continue having a hard time confronting the state's $100 billion problem.

There were four proposals reviewed on February 28, each more harsh than what's been discussed in other pension overhauls.

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Using Income Tax Revenue
2:32 pm
Thu February 21, 2013

New Proposal for Illinois Pension System

The Illinois Capitol building

The Illinois income tax increase would be made permanent in the latest proposal to fix the state's underfunded pension systems.

The income tax plan approved by lawmakers temporarily increased the rate from 3% to 5%.  It’s scheduled to begin decreasing in 2014.

But Representative Lou Lang (D-Skokie) said the state can't afford that. Lang said Illinois taxpayers didn't create the pension problem, but it's a problem they're stuck with.

“"We have a responsibility to fix it. And we have a responsibility to have shared sacrifice,” Land said.

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Most Leaders Skip Meeting with Unions
6:25 pm
Mon February 11, 2013

Still No Closer to Pension Solution in Illinois

Credit Rich Egger

Union leaders met with Governor Pat Quinn and members of the legislature on February 11 to talk about the state's underfunded pension system. They billed it as a chance to work together on a divisive issue but the two sides remain far apart.

The unions represent a range of government workers, from prison guards to teachers. After the meeting, they issued a statement saying it shows they can "work together constructively with all parties."

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Clock Ticking on 2012 General Assembly
6:11 pm
Mon January 7, 2013

Illinois House Adjourns Without Vote on Pension Plan

The Illinois Capitol Building

Over the protests of state employee unions, an Illinois House committee gave bipartisan support to a plan intended to repair Illinois' underfunded pensions.  But the full House adjourned Monday without taking a vote.

The legislation would leave workers paying more for a smaller retirement benefit.  House Republican leader Tom Cross said the change is necessary given the condition of Illinois' pension systems.

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Bill Knight – December 27
1:00 am
Thu December 27, 2012

A Review of an Illinois Pension Reform Bill

Bill Knight

Illinois’ pension-reform issue seemed to make some progress this month, but labor and legislators still question the latest, bipartisan proposal addressing the state’s $95 billion pension problem, and as of press time the state’s We Are One coalition still plans a rally at the Illinois Statehouse on Thursday and Friday, Jan. 3-4.

Eighteen lawmakers appeared with HB 6258 Democratic co-sponsors Elaine Nekritz of Des Plaines and Daniel Biss of Skokie at the measure’s introduction Dec. 5.

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Closing a Huge Gap
5:47 pm
Wed December 19, 2012

State Workers Propose Illinois Pension Plan

Credit Rich Egger

State employee unions say the leading proposals to fix Illinois' public employee pension systems are all fatally flawed, so they proposed their own plan.

Workers point out any attempt to plug the $96 billion funding shortfall must respect the state Constitution, which says benefits "shall not be diminished."

The proposals backed by Governor Pat Quinn and other political leaders attempt to get around that in order to cut retirement benefits. But AFSCME Legislative Director Joanna Webb-Gauvin said those ideas will ultimately fail in the courts.

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Fall Veto Session
3:19 pm
Mon November 26, 2012

Back to Work for Illinois Legislature

The Illinois Capitol building

Illinois lawmakers began November with an election that solidified Democratic majorities and they will finish the month by returning to the Capitol. 

Their annual fall meetings are called veto sessions because lawmakers are supposed to consider legislation the governor rejected or changed.  Those could include statewide regulation of plastic bags and a plan to let cancer treatment centers reject job applicants who smoke.

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The Governor’s Plan
6:30 pm
Mon November 19, 2012

A Cartoon Snake and Illinois Pensions

Credit Capitol Fax

Illinois Governor Pat Quinn has finally unveiled his Internet campaign that is supposed to spur legislators to overhaul the state’s retirement systems. 

Quinn is trying to use social media to educate voters about the "squeeze" pension costs are putting on other state spending, such as education.

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Letter from Businesses Angers Workers
2:52 pm
Fri November 16, 2012

Illinois Unions vs CEOs on Pension Reform

Credit Rich Egger

It's class warfare, on the policy front.

A letter from the Civic Committee of the Commercial Club of Chicago shames Illinois lawmakers for not doing anything to address the state’s growing pension debt.

President Ty Fahner said unless there is a major overhaul, the systems will collapse under their own weight.

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