Illinois Government
4:28 am
Fri March 8, 2013

House Approves Cap On Salary Amount For Pensions

The Illinois House continued test votes on measures to address the state's pension problem ... and after a series of failures, one finally passed. Most Republicans are still boycotting the process.

Rep. David Harris
Credit ilga.gov

The only pension measure to win majority support would cap benefits at one of two levels: the maximum amount taxable under Social Security, currently about $114,000; or for workers who make more than that, their current salary level.

As with other recent test votes, most Republicans boycotted the debate. Rep. David Harris, from Arlington Heights, was one of two who voted in favor of the pension measure.

He says the other ideas came out of the blue, while the salary cap is more realistic.

"This was a proposal that's in other bills and makes sense, and I felt this was one I could vote for. But I fully understand where my colleagues are coming from and support them on it." - Rep. David Harris

 But in an interview with the public TV show "Illinois Lawmakers," House Speaker Michael Madigan said he thinks Republicans are making a "mistake."

"They're elected. And their electors tell them to come here and to vote. They don't tell them to come here and not participate." - House Speaker Michael Madigan

 The vote on the salary cap was not final, and it would likely only become law as part of a broader set of pension changes.

Illinois Public Radio's Brian Mackey contributed to this report.