Madigan Promotes "Cost-Shifts" For Teacher Pensions

May 8, 2013


Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan

Illinois House Speaker Mike Madigan wants suburban and Downstate schools to begin paying for their teachers' retirement benefits.  He's called a meeting at the capitol for Thursday with education groups to begin finalizing his plan. 

The saying goes, "there's no such thing as free lunch."

But that's what Speaker Madigan says public schools outside of Chicago are getting.

The state pays the employers' share of teachers' pensions.

Madigan wants to end that practice, and transfer the cost to schools.

"They ought be paid for by the local employer, the people that issue the paycheck. It's a free lunch, and it ought to end." - Mike Madigan

The Democrat has previously included it in proposals that seek to cut the state's pension costs. 

But Madigan left the so-called "cost shift" out of pension legislation that passed out of the House last week - the first time the chamber has approved a comprehensive, major pension plan.

The Speaker said at the time he did so because of the "difficulty" of both the pension and the cost shift issue.

Critics say forcing schools to pick up the tab will in turn force them to raise property taxes.

Illinois Public Radio's Amanda Vinicky contributed to this report.