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*** UPDATED x2 - Pension reform delayed until veto session *** Memorial Day session live blog

Monday, May 30, 2011

* I should’ve started this earlier. Better late than never, I suppose…

*** UPDATE 1 *** Pension reform is being delayed until the fall veto session at the earliest. From a press release…

May 30, 2011

STATEMENT REGARDING PENSION REFORM

We are absolutely committed to reforming Illinois’ public pension system for current employees. It must be done to stabilize our systems and address long term financial issues for both the public employee pension systems and state government.

We believe passage of legislation addressing this issue is essential to the state’s well being.

It was made very clear during the May 26th hearing in the Personnel and Pensions Committee that both those who support pension reform and those who are opposed to Senate Bill 512 acknowledge we have a problem and something must be done.

Our goal is to enact reforms to our pension systems that provide a long term solution for both those who are members of the pension systems and those who fund them.

We will convene meetings over the summer to address the issues and concerns that have been raised and work toward a solution in this year’s Fall Veto Session. [Emphasis added]

-Illinois House Speaker Michael J. Madigan
-Illinois House Republican Leader Tom Cross
-Tyrone Fahner, President, Civic Committee of the Commercial Club of Chicago

*** UPDATE 2 *** As mentioned in the live-blog above, the Senate Democrats passed an amendment through committee today that contains over $400 million in extra funding for state budgets. They attached the extra funding to a capital projects bill, so if the House doesn’t approve the extra funding the projects are held up. Click here to read their analysis

Attached is a Senate budget overview associated with HB 2189.

Explanation of columns:
“FY 11” is the current year’s budget.
“FY 12 Intro” is the Governor’s proposed budget.
“FY 12 Senate” is the Senate budget proposal.
“FY 12 House” is the House budget proposal.
“Restorations” are Senate additions to the House budget lines.

The House budget amounts are being used as the base for proposed funding restorations in select categories.

The Senate is proposing restorations totaling $431 million.

- Posted by Rich Miller        


39 Comments
  1. - Liberty_First - Monday, May 30, 11 @ 2:09 pm:

    Since when does the President of the Civic Committee start issuing joint statements with the leadership of the house?


  2. - nieva - Monday, May 30, 11 @ 2:12 pm:

    I wish they would go ahead with it. Then the courts can decide if it passes muster. I clear about 2800 dollars per month on my pension. If it is lowered by one dollar I will sue for my job back and let a jury determine who is right.


  3. - Norseman - Monday, May 30, 11 @ 2:12 pm:

    Thanks to all the House Republican Caucus members who chose to honor the state commitment to its employees rather than drink the koolade put forth by the wealthy on the Civic Committee and their tool, Tom Cross. Keep up the fight. I want to be believe that some Republicans care about the middle class.


  4. - Democracystillworks - Monday, May 30, 11 @ 2:17 pm:

    Who elected Tyrone Fahner?


  5. - Cassiopeia - Monday, May 30, 11 @ 2:17 pm:

    I wonder if this means that the retiree health insurance increase in SB 175 is off the table too?


  6. - Anonymous - Monday, May 30, 11 @ 2:21 pm:

    Leader Fahner’s political strategies are the best in the business..aside from the Governor’s of course. Keep up the good work.


  7. - wordslinger - Monday, May 30, 11 @ 2:26 pm:

    LOL, Fahner didn’t get a whole lot out of that big, months-long media buy, did he?

    Some people play checkers, others play chess….


  8. - Country Cowboy - Monday, May 30, 11 @ 2:28 pm:

    I agree with Liberty, when does the President of the Civic Committee start issuing a joint statement. This organization has absolutely no no business whatsoever dictating to our elected officials what needs to be done with my pension and insurance. The Civic Committee does not represent me and I greatly resent this! The Civic Committee is made up of rich CEO’s who along with the Koch Brothers are funding the Illinois Broke Campaign and its lies. If there is so much concern for the welfare of our pensions and the state of Illinois why didn’t you show this concern all along and fund the pensions. This is a continued attack on the middle income and unions by the wealthy. Everyone should tell their legislators that they are totally upset with the Chicago Civic Committee dictating what will be done to publiv employees.


  9. - Richard - Monday, May 30, 11 @ 2:33 pm:

    Boy, did these guys even think before issuing that statement? Did they want to look like fools? A joint statement between Speaker of the House, Minority Leader of the House and a private citizen - who elected Fahner anything? Do understand that this makes them look liked his hired hands? Really. I support some pension reform - that is the weiredest politicial statement I have ever heard of!


  10. - Rich Miller - Monday, May 30, 11 @ 2:37 pm:

    People, take a breath. It’s no big secret that Cross and Madigan have been working with Fahner (a former IL attorney general) and the Civic Committee. This joint statement, therefore, is not that big of a deal.

    Try to focus on the substance, not just who signed the press release. Thanks.


  11. - wordslinger - Monday, May 30, 11 @ 2:44 pm:

    –Boy, did these guys even think before issuing that statement? Did they want to look like fools? A joint statement between Speaker of the House, Minority Leader of the House and a private citizen - who elected Fahner anything? Do understand that this makes them look liked his hired hands?–

    Hired hands, really? Considering what Fahner’s crew has been spending to get nothing, those are pretty good wages. That’s an awfully expensive press release.

    Like the man said, if you can’t spot the chump the first time the deal goes round, you’re it.

    How do all those concerned about their pensions feel about Madigan right now? Is status quo okay?


  12. - Yellow Dog Democrat - Monday, May 30, 11 @ 2:47 pm:

    This joint press release is a CYA for Tom Cross.

    Word is the Civies have been threatening to run Tea Party candidates against any House Republican who votes against the bill.

    Cross just wants to make sure everyone knows he got the Civies permission before delaying the vote

    Frankly, i think Cross is walking into a trap by pledging public hearings

    They will be packed with union employees and Tea Partyers, and HGOPs will be screwed either way.


  13. - FDR - Monday, May 30, 11 @ 2:54 pm:

    - wordslinger -

    I like Madigan, always have. Now, if he kills SB175 that Schoenberg is swooning over; I will build a statue to the Speaker in my front yard!


  14. - Frankie - Monday, May 30, 11 @ 3:00 pm:

    They need to blow the bill up and start over. It was a bad bill from conception and as much as they may have tried, it couldn’t be fixed. They need to bring all interested parties to the table and if that is the purpose of these summer meetings, thats a good first step.

    They also need to aim higher than a 6& contribution by the employer. Social Security is 6.2% and the good employers in this state pay social security and a small match on an employee’s 401k in the interest of providing the employee some retirement security. Way to aim low State of IL, Cook County and City of Chicago.


  15. - FDR - Monday, May 30, 11 @ 3:08 pm:

    If SB175 is constitutional then I think most retirees would be open to pay premiums for their HC. Reasonable… I say…not an increase of $700-900$ per month. Only a wealthy person with other revenue sources could take that kind of a hit.

    So… let’s take a deep breath and do it right. In two years when the CBA’s are open. You must negotiate, then agree…then implement your plan and everyone pays the same. You know…Fair!


  16. - Cindy Lou - Monday, May 30, 11 @ 3:15 pm:

    Has Quinn commented on SB178 (keeping the booted two HC companies and retained the mutli HMO as is)?

    It was pretty clear BCBS or OAP was it and benefit choice maps with deadline were up. If Quinn signs and plans remain the same could someone having already turned in a ‘choice’ (after map and plans went up late last week) be able to back choice up before the June 17th deadline and remain with ‘lost’ plan?


  17. - Dr. Skeptic - Monday, May 30, 11 @ 3:45 pm:

    Since I don’t see a mention of the union(s) I also feel it is inappropriate for anyone but the Speaker and the President’s name on press release. The unions are blasted when they spend money to “educate” but bring on big business. Employees are in big trouble if big business is allowed to run rampant over a contractual agreement


  18. - Bill White - Monday, May 30, 11 @ 4:08 pm:

    Somewhere, Jesse M. Unruh is smiling.


  19. - Anonymous - Monday, May 30, 11 @ 4:09 pm:

    Having Fahner on a press release with Madigan and Cross is the equivalent of Boehner and Reid permitting the Koch Brothers on their release. It just makes me sick to my stomach……..


  20. - western illinois - Monday, May 30, 11 @ 4:15 pm:

    The unions need to make clear to Madigan that if the house dems are on the payroll of the giant coroprations they get no union money. nothing until Madigan is out and use that money to primary them . Look north to Wisconsin Mike Madigan


  21. - Excessively Rabid - Monday, May 30, 11 @ 4:24 pm:

    Not to be too picky, but reform is really a euphemism here. The only thing that needs to be reformed is the state’s ethics in years of not funding their pension agreements. I agree some changes are inevitable, but let’s save reform for something that is being improved and made more ethical.


  22. - DuPage Dave - Monday, May 30, 11 @ 4:34 pm:

    Sorry Rich, but having Fahner sign the document is a really big deal. This apparently gives the Commercial Club co-equal status with our elected officials.

    I am a 23-year state employee with a lot at stake. This may be just another issue to Rich and other government watchers, but there’s no bigger issue to me.

    This is a colossal betrayal of the enforceable contractual relationship specified in the state constitution. Asking workers like me to more than double their contribution to keep the benefits promised to us when we started working is just plain wrong.

    This is not pension “reform”. It is theft.


  23. - Rich Miller - Monday, May 30, 11 @ 4:57 pm:

    === This apparently gives the Commercial Club co-equal status with our elected officials. ===

    Oh, please. Take a breath already.


  24. - Richard - Monday, May 30, 11 @ 5:16 pm:

    Rich: I HAVE taken a deep breath - I am a teacher and have been holding my breath since January on pension reform. Ty Fahner’s signature on an official communication from the elected leadership of the House of Representatives is simply unacceptable to many of us. He’s a private citizen from a private organization that had no formal connection to this issue other than the one it created for itself by virtue of its massive wealth and the pressure it exerted on elected officials using it. How is that NOT supposed to bother me? He’s just a privae citizen, no more or less than anyone else. How did Orwell put it - are some of us “more equal” than others now?


  25. - DuPage Dave - Monday, May 30, 11 @ 5:49 pm:

    Hey, they are out to steal my pension. I am breathing as calmly as possible.


  26. - The Old Professor - Monday, May 30, 11 @ 5:56 pm:

    The worst part of the discussion about pension funding has been the total lack of remorse by the politicians of both parties who have failed for many years to fund the promises made in the name of the people of the State of Illinois.


  27. - western illinois - Monday, May 30, 11 @ 6:10 pm:

    As we saw from the faked Walker-Koch conversation most republicans do veiw themsleves as working for those who pay them.
    I am glad to see the signature I can now see who the boss is here, Can all the unions who have foolishly handed money to Madigan?
    if this is where we are the dmes need to get politicians who at least show loyaltity to those who support them instead of slapping them in the face. Actually what Madigan has done to his base is worse than a slap.
    i do not have a state pension. I work part time and get social security but and I think this is beyong unfair to those that dedicated their lives to this to get this treatment. I am upset I can really understand why those depending on that pension cant catch their breath.
    If you are unionized I would say you should get hold of your union and demand that madigans cronies be primaried and only give money to those handful og GOP reps who Bolted Craoss like Poe and Moffit


  28. - redeft - Monday, May 30, 11 @ 6:35 pm:

    The Chicago Tribune is reporting that SB 175 on Retiree Health Insurance Premiums is also delayed until fall. Is that right? I haven’t seen it anywhere other than the Tribune.


  29. - PublicServant - Monday, May 30, 11 @ 6:49 pm:

    Rich, you need to smell the coffee. This whole bill had the civic committee, the koch bros, and the reps they bought all over it. The press release was a big mistake. It brings focus to the people who want to pull the strings but want to remain in the background, hiding behind shadow organizations that don’t need to disclose their donors. I can’t imagine what fayner, cross or madigan were thinking, releasing a joint statement. But, I can tell you this, I’m done with madigan, and his daughter is hurt by his advocacy of this bill too, and any other dem who votes with him. Dupage Dan had it right. This is outright theft.


  30. - Anonymous - Monday, May 30, 11 @ 6:59 pm:

    Any idea when the new Congressional map might be posted? And how it might effect likelihood of a Dem taking the 13th?


  31. - I'm Just Saying - Monday, May 30, 11 @ 7:35 pm:

    So the senate Dems say the new map is out, but i’m having issues opening it up on Google earth, it doesn’t seem that there are any boundries on it, just a blank map, is there something i’m doing wrong?


  32. - Soxfan - Monday, May 30, 11 @ 7:43 pm:

    Well, that signed letter certainly makes it “appear” House leadership (ie, the ones who have taken the cash out of our pension funds since the late 70’s) cut a deal with big business. But what happens when the economy finally turns the corner and that operating deficit is not as imposing anymore? It just may be that House leadership will run out the clock on the the corporate world’s golden opportunity to take a big bite out of the middle class! Still, it would be nice if leadership sees the light and insist our pensions be fully funded in the future. Our economy will eventually take a downturn again and, as someone who hopes to retire someday (with a modest pension like nearly all state employees), I’d even kick in a little to insure our future legislators don’t make the same mistake and spend my promised retirement money.


  33. - PublicServant - Monday, May 30, 11 @ 8:24 pm:

    Not bad reasoning for a sox fan…


  34. - Norseman - Monday, May 30, 11 @ 9:19 pm:

    Soxfan, it may appear that House Leadership cut a deal with the Civic Committee, but I don’t believe that to be the case.  Madigan is the primo tactician while Cross is simply taking orders from the money men.For Madigan, it is a tactical Win-Win-Win. He shows bipartisanship by working with Cross and if bill succeeds, then it enhances his credentials as a cost cutter.  The anger from the victims of this effort will be unhappy with him, but Cross will more likely be the focus of their ire. Unions and other allies don’t have an alternative to the Democrats.

    Failure of the bill will still haunt Cross, while Madigan has other successes to show for the session.  Cross didn’t accomplish his backers mission and now he has brought a ton of wrath upon him and his caucus. On the other hand, folks will grumble about Madigan, but they know not to challege him.


  35. - anonymous - Monday, May 30, 11 @ 9:31 pm:

    I’m Just Saying, et al -

    The Amendment 2 Congressional map is available through both the Senate and House redistricting cmte websites.

    Here is a Google Map version of it courtesy the House Dems Redistricting webpage.

    http://www.ilhousedems.com/redistricting/

    You probably have a bad character or something else wrong with the code you’re using to try and view the map. The result is you get just a regular road map.


  36. - Soxfan - Monday, May 30, 11 @ 9:48 pm:

    Yes, Norseman, you are absolutely right. That is why I wrote “appeared” (in quotes) as if a deal had been cut. Still, that doesn’t solve the issue of fully funding the pensions. If that doesn’t get resolved, we’ll be back here again talking about how our legislators spent our retirement money.


  37. - Retired Non-Union Guy - Monday, May 30, 11 @ 10:02 pm:

    There are laws on the books requiring the State to pay the pension funds, including a payment schedule. Maybe our legislature leaders should try following the laws they enacted?


  38. - western illinois - Monday, May 30, 11 @ 10:06 pm:

    The unions do have alternatives. They can primary Madigans supporters and seriously what can madigan do to the biggest funders of the dmocratic party that he hasnt allready done?


  39. - redeft - Monday, May 30, 11 @ 10:44 pm:

    To weigh in on the question I asked above about SB 175 on retiree insurance premiums, AFSCME is saying this legislation is still alive.


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