Fri January 4, 2013
Illinois Pension Deal Could Emerge This Weekend
Details are beginning to emerge about a possible pension deal. The Governor and legislative leaders are set to meet Saturday in Chicago.
There's a potential breakthrough in the protracted debate over what to do about Illinois' estimated 96 billion dollars of pension debt. Legislators have been skeptical a deal would be reached.But with less than a week before the end of session, Quinn now says they’re close.
There were some breakthroughs, concessions, and compromises. And that's how it is in life. You gotta sometimes concede this or that for the time being, at least, and move forward.
House Speaker Michael Madigan is apparently no longer insistent that suburban and downstate schools begin to pay for teachers' retirement benefits, a cost currently paid for by the state. That's been a main sticking point for the top Republican in the House. Tom Cross says shifting that cost to schools would spike local property taxes. A variety of pension proposals have come up before the House in the past, but Cross says something about this deal is different.
I have to assume that this is real. I want it to be real so maybe it's some wishful thinking.
Illinois Public Radio obtained details of one potential plan, which would have Illinois' pensions systems fully funded by 2043. It requires state employees, teachers and university workers to pay more into their retirement. Retirees' wouldn't get their cost-of-living increases for about five years, and they wouldn't kick in until age 67. To ensure Illinois' pension systems don't get into this mess again, if the state skips out on paying its portion of the bill, the pension systems could sue.