pensions

Brian Mackey

Politicians, public employee unions and others spent the last several years focused on pensions. Illinois racked up a $100 billion unfunded liability -- largely because lawmakers didn't pay the state's share of its workers retirement benefits.

Eric Madiar is the top attorney for the Illinois Senate President. He found a report that said Illinois' pension systems were on the "verge of insolvency" in 1917.

"...and it stemmed primarily from the fact had not been properly been financing pensions."
--- Eric Madiar, Senate Democrats' Chief Legal Counsel

State of Illinois

Legislators passed a law overhauling the state's retirement systems. Soaring pension debt remains a concern. The law's constitutionality is also in question. It reduces workers' and retirees' benefits, and raises the retirement age.

Judge Puts Hold On Pension Reform Law

May 15, 2014
flickr user / Brian Turner (CC BY 2.0)

Sangamon County Circuit Court Judge John Belz has issued a temporary restraining order that prevents Illinois' pension reform law from being implemented until questions about the law's constitutionality and a suit challenging it can be resolved.  The law was scheduled to take effect June 1. 

Five lawsuits by groups representing state workers and retirees challenging the law have been consolidated in Sangamon County court.   

It's a temporary victory for government employees who say the law is unconstitutional.

Pension Committee Update

Sep 27, 2013
Brian Mackey / IPR

A special committee has been negotiating over how to solve the pension problem for more than 12 weeks. 

State Rep. Elaine Nekritz, D-Northbrook, is careful these days when she talks about the status of pension deliberations, and especially when asked how close legislators are to reaching a deal.

"I have actually stopped making predictions publicly, because I have been so wrong, that I'm a little bit embarrassed at this point," she says.

Illinois Public Radio

The estimated savings on a state pension proposal backed by Illinois House Speaker Mike Madigan is billions of dollars less than originally thought.  

The Teachers Retirement System made a mistake in its calculations. The revision was outlined in a letter to the bipartisan panel working on solving Illinois' pension shortfall.

ilga.gov

Illinois lawmakers and Governor Pat Quinn remain at a standstill over a pension overhaul plan. Legislative leaders sued the Governor last week after he blocked lawmaker paychecks because of inaction on the state's growing pension obligations.

Legislative Leaders Sue Quinn

Jul 31, 2013
state of Illinois

The leaders of the Illinois General Assembly have sued Governor Pat Quinn over his veto of lawmakers' salaries.

Quinn vetoed lawmakers salaries out of the budget as a sort-of punishment for not passing legislation to overhaul Illinois' government-employee pension systems.

In a joint lawsuit filed in Cook County, House Speaker Michael Madigan and Senate President John Cullerton say the governor overstepped his bounds.

Rikeesha Phelon is a spokeswoman for the Senate president:

Brady: Pension Panel Close To Compromise

Jul 30, 2013
Illinois Public Radio/WUIS

A member of the Illinois General Assembly's special pension committee says the group is waiting for what he hopes will be the final round of budget analysis.

The pension conference committee is trying to find a way to reduce Illinois roughly $100 billion in unfunded future pension liabilities. The group comprises 10 senators and representatives, both Democrats and Republicans.

State Sen. Bill Brady is a Republican from Bloomington. He says there has been a lot of compromise.

Credit Union Offers Loan To Lawmakers

Jul 29, 2013
state of Illinois

Illinois lawmakers will not be getting their monthly paycheck, starting next week. At least one financial institution is offering to help tide them over until the General Assembly's dispute with the Governor is resolved.  Lawmakers' base salary of $68,000 has been set to zero - Gov. Pat Quinn vetoed their pay out of the budget as a sort of punishment for the General Assembly not passing a pension overhaul.

Topinka: No Checks For Lawmakers

Jul 26, 2013

Illinois lawmakers will not get their paychecks for the month of August. Governor Pat Quinn took the unusual step earlier this month of cutting lawmakers’ pay from the state budget.

He says they won’t get paid until they pass a pension overhaul.

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