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.
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.