Illinois pension system

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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Bill Knight – October 25
11:01 am
Wed October 24, 2012

Constitutional Amendment Won’t Fix Pension System

Bill Knight

Most Illinois voters might be surprised by their ballot when they vote next month – but they’ll be shocked by the consequences if it passes. Proposed Constitutional Amendment 49 “adding Sec. 5.1 to Article XIII,” claims to address the state’s pension obligations.

First, given the shortfall of more than $80 billion in Illinois’ five pension plans, voters should ask how a new Sec. 5.1 would deal with the money the state owes those pensions. It does nothing.

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Retail Hours Reduced
10:25 pm
Tue October 16, 2012

Rural Post Office Cuts

The U.S. Postal Service is cutting the hours of operation at rural post offices.

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Illinois House Speaker
3:59 pm
Thu September 6, 2012

Michael Madigan on Illinois GOP & Pension System

Michael Madigan speaking at the Democratic National Convention
Amanda Vinicky

Illinois Republicans had a theme when they met in Tampa for the Republican National Convention: Fire Madigan.

It’s more than a slogan for the state GOP. It’s an all-out marketing campaign against the Illinois House speaker. It includes t-shirts, buttons and even a baby bib that read “Fire Madigan.” 

The GOP blames Michael Madigan for allowing the state to slide into a fiscal mess. But Madigan said it’s Republicans who are unwilling to do what he called the "heavy lifting."

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Bill Knight - September 6
11:51 am
Wed September 5, 2012

The Roots of the Illinois Pension Crisis

Bill Knight

Most Illinoisans seem torn between anger about state pensioners supposedly getting rich off taxpayers, and concern about state-worker neighbors caught between incompetent lawmakers and greedy credit agencies in cahoots with big banks. The real debate should be one timid types in Springfield (or Washington) avoid: What do citizens want government to do and how will it be funded?

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State Senate Candidate in Western Illinois
6:53 pm
Tue August 28, 2012

Frese Blames Pension Crisis on Leadership Gap

Randy Frese
Rich Egger

Republican Illinois State Senate candidate Randy Frese of Paloma said the state's pension problems are a sign of broken government, which he said was caused by a lack of leadership.

Frese said the pension reform program in Rhode Island could serve as a template for Illinois. He said Rhode Island raised the retirement age, froze the cost of living adjustment (COLA), and implemented a 401K style plan. Frese said the state did so long before it got into a financial hole as deep as the one in Illinois.

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Playing Politics, Ignoring Reality
10:08 am
Tue August 21, 2012

Tax Expert: Pensions Are Not the Problem for Illinois

Rich Egger

Conservative estimates indicate Illinois is $83 billion short of what it has promised state workers in retirement benefits.  But Ralph Martire of the Center for Tax and Budget Accountability said said there is nothing inherently wrong with the state's pension plans.

He said the problem is that for 40 years the state “borrowed like a credit card” from pensions to pay for other services. But instead of acknowledging that, state leaders and lawmakers have played politics with the issue.

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Unproductive Special Session
6:01 pm
Fri August 17, 2012

Pension Reform Goes Nowhere; Lawmakers Go Home

The Illinois Capitol building

No pension legislation moved through the Illinois General Assembly during Friday's special legislative session.

Democrats pushed along a plan to cut pension benefits for  state elected politicians and no one else, but opponents -- including Representative Darlene Senger (R-Naperville) -- called the proposal disingenuous.

"I am not going to vote for this. I think it's a farce," said Senger.

"I think we're basically coming out and saying we're doing something and we're absolutely not, and it's a real disservice for those who live in this state."

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Study from Governor's Office
5:46 pm
Tue August 14, 2012

Quinn: Funding Decline If Higher Ed Pensions Not Changed

Rich Egger

Illinois Governor Pat Quinn's office is touting a one-page analysis claiming higher education will suffer if lawmakers fail to address Illinois' pension problem.

In the so-called study, Quinn's budget office estimates that state funding of higher education will steadily decline over the next five years.

The projections show more money would be needed to pay for university and community college employees' pensions, which would leave less for schools and scholarships for needy students.

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Largest Deficit in US
2:51 pm
Sun July 8, 2012

Illinois Pension Debt Hurts Other State Services

15% of the state budget in Illinois this year is going toward pensions.  That means there's less to spend on other needs.
                                              
The gap between what has Illinois promised employees they will get when they retire and what the state has set aside to pay those pensions is $83 billion.  State government would have to completely shut down for two-and-a-half years, and use all of that operating budget money on pensions, to pay off that debt.
 

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