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Illinois pension system

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 has more than $100 billion in pension debt. So far, attempts to fix it have been mostly illegal.

The Illinois Supreme Court is taking on another pension case, six months after justices unanimously tossed out the state's landmark pension law. Tuesday they heard arguments as to whether a law affecting thousands of City of Chicago employees is constitutional or not.

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.

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.

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

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

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.

A decision Thursday by the Arizona Supreme Court is getting careful attention in Illinois.

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

Rich Egger

At the big state pension systems in Illinois, the outside actuary is supposed to be a watchdog over what the in-house actuaries are doing.

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.

Brian Mackey

The Illinois General Assembly has approved sweeping changes to pensions for state employees and Governor Pat Quinn said he will sign the legislation.

Pension foes have shifted public attention to accounting so retiree benefits might be shifted to protect or expand corporate subsidies, like the $24 million that Archer Daniels Midland demands from the state of Illinois, according to a new report. It says the anti-pension campaign blames state or local budget problems exclusively on public pensions – pensions that were underfunded by legislatures for years so the money could be spent elsewhere, such as on corporate subsidies or politically popular tax cuts.

State Representative Elaine Nekritz (D-Northbrook) is careful these days when she talks about the status of pension deliberations.

Rich Egger

News about Illinois' economy is typically bleak, but at least one outside observer is seeing modest improvement.

Illinois Pension Committee Still at Work

Aug 23, 2013
Rich Egger

A bi-partisan panel of ten Illinois lawmakers has been working this summer to find a solution to the state’s pension problem.

Members of a bipartisan legislative committee in Illinois remain optimistic they'll eventually agree on how to address the state’s $100 billion pension problem.

Rich Egger

The authors of a new study say a proposal to fix Illinois' nearly $100 billion pension shortfall would undermine the retirement security of government employees

AG Madigan on Pensions

Jun 10, 2013
nj.com

Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan said ahead of the special assembly called by the Governor, pension reform is needed.

Special Session for Illinois Legislature

Jun 6, 2013

Illinois lawmakers will be back in Springfield on June 19 after Governor Pat Quinn announced a special session of the state legislature Thursday.

Pension Plan Advancing in Illinois

May 1, 2013

The Illinois House is poised to vote Thursday, May 2, on an overhaul of the state's pension systems.  It would reduce state workers', teachers', and university employees' future retirement benefits.

The plan easily advanced out of a House committee Wednesday, and there is a feeling in the capitol that after countless attempts to reduce the state's pension debt, this might be the plan that does the trick.

Insiders say it's significant that the plan is sponsored by House Speaker Michael Madigan (D-Chicago), who rarely takes action without having support locked up. 

Rich Egger

Rich Egger’s guest on Emphasis is Ralph Martire, executive director of the Center for Tax and Budget Accountability. He was in Macomb to give a presentation at Western Illinois University.

Most Illinois House members recently backed a measure to limit the salary on which public employees’ retirement benefits could be based. One of a few proposals to address the state’s $96 billion pension shortfall, it was seen as a test vote as lawmakers grapple with some way to make good on years of the legislature failing to make its payments.

Pension Plans Advance in Illinois Legislature

Mar 14, 2013

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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