[UPDATE: Quinn aides deny he’s backing away]
* This probably couldn’t have passed anyway, and it could’ve just been a ruse to get more money for Chicago’s teacher pension fund, but the governor has apparently stepped away…
Gov. Pat Quinn said Tuesday that while he wants to make local schools and community colleges responsible for the cost of teachers’ retirements, it isn’t an “essential” part of his immediate plans to cut spending for the state’s troubled pensions systems.
In a meeting with the Daily Herald editorial board, the Democratic governor said he’d like the General Assembly to take up the controversial proposal to shift the state’s share of pension costs to local schools before lawmakers are scheduled to leave Springfield May 31.
But, Quinn said, he’ll focus more in the coming weeks on getting legislators to approve his proposal, announced last week, to have teachers pay more toward their pensions and to raise the retirement age to 67. […]
“We want to deal with that accountability principle, but we’ll do it on a separate track,” Quinn said.
* In other pension-related stuff, Phil Kadner asks why legislators deserve a pension…
“No one says they deserve one, but they get one because they make the laws,” said Andy Shaw, president and chief executive of the Better Government Association.
Shaw noted that no area of government has been as abused as the pension systems because “no one sees the result until there’s a crisis.”
Pensions and health care historically have been perks that lawmakers award themselves and unions without the public focusing on the cost, Shaw said.
He acknowledged that legislative pension costs are insignificant given the size of the state’s budget hole but agreed that “symbolically” it might be a nice gesture if lawmakers at least agreed to suspend the pension benefit until the current crisis was resolved.
But I see the state cutting programs that help the poor, preschool children, the mentally ill, the developmentally disabled and the elderly and believe that every dime saved on legislators’ pensions could be better spent elsewhere.