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Quinn steps away from pension cost-shift plan

Wednesday, Apr 25, 2012

[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.


- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - Capital View - Wednesday, Apr 25, 12 @ 11:14 am:

    I don’t object to legislative pensions after eight years of service, but it should be combined with other public pensions so that the amount gets magnified beyond belief. Let public pensions each stand alone in a person’s past; the intent was always for retirement to be affordable by having a basket of pensions and annuities. Merging them is an abuse to each and to taxpayers.

  2. - He Makes Ryan Look Like a Saint - Wednesday, Apr 25, 12 @ 11:26 am:

    Where else (except Congress) does a part time job get full time benefits and Pensions? The Legislators are PART TIME. They really should not get a pension or Health care benefits.

    They are not going to get rid of it, but I think if they are going to have a pension, they should be in the SAME pension system as the REGULAR state employee, subject to the same rules.

    Will it happen, no, they are all in it for themselves.

  3. - Rich Miller - Wednesday, Apr 25, 12 @ 11:31 am:

    ===they should be in the SAME pension system as the REGULAR state employee, subject to the same rules.===

    Then state employees should all be elected?

  4. - downstate hack - Wednesday, Apr 25, 12 @ 12:05 pm:

    they should be in the SAME pension system as the REGULAR state employee, subject to the same rules.===

    Then state employees should all be elected?

    I agree strongly with the first statement. Legislators should included in the regular state emplyee pension plan, not any thing special just because they are elected. They are stilll employed and paid by the taxpayers.

  5. - PublicServant - Wednesday, Apr 25, 12 @ 12:07 pm:

    I must have run unopposed.

  6. - Irish - Wednesday, Apr 25, 12 @ 12:12 pm:

    Agree with Downstat and HMRLLS! It isn’t about whether you are elected or not. School boards are elected and get NO compensation.

    If the GA and all elected officials were in the same pension and benefit system as the regular employees they would look at it a little more carefully and not be so eager to miss payments or borrow from it. As a state employee of 37 years I would jump at the chance to have the same benefit package as the GA and would give up mine.

    Other states have one fund and they seem to be working fine.

  7. - He Makes Ryan Look Like a Saint - Wednesday, Apr 25, 12 @ 12:18 pm:

    Rich, will you donate to my campaign? I do not believe that because you were elected you are better than the voters and deserve extrodinary benefits. A vast seperation from the elected and the voters has been the reason for many of the governments to have been overthrown.

  8. - John Parnell - Wednesday, Apr 25, 12 @ 12:30 pm:

    Capitol Views idea to not aggregate separate pensions makes a lot of sense. Maybe Andy Shaw should push that idea.

  9. - It's Just Me - Wednesday, Apr 25, 12 @ 12:35 pm:

    Of course legislators deserve pensions, but they don’t deserve the right to abuse the pension system as some have done. Without a salary, pensions, benefits, etc etc only the uber rich would run for office. In fact, I think if we paid legislators more we would have better legislators because as is only rich or unemployed nephews and friends of the powerful run for office now far too often.

    Andy Shaw doesn’t care about good public policy, he cares about making it look like he cares about public policy.

  10. - South of 64 - Wednesday, Apr 25, 12 @ 12:47 pm:

    Legislator’s pensions should be no better nor worse than state employees. 8 years minimum and collect at 67, the new retirement age. Why not?

  11. - Confused - Wednesday, Apr 25, 12 @ 1:03 pm:

    How about a 401k plan for legislators just like those owned by their constituents. Heck, the state could even match 3% just like my company does. Or, maybe they shouldn’t vest until 20 years - like the US military.

  12. - bdreedle - Wednesday, Apr 25, 12 @ 1:15 pm:

    No one has mentioned the fact that there has been a lot of retired legislators or thsoe who have been voted out appointed as Agency Director for as little as a month which increases their pension by tens of thousands of dollars. Remember the woman legislator who headed up DNR for several weeks and got a tremendous pension boost. This is the kind of stuff that needs to be stopped. Also, nobody should be able to receive 85% of their slary. It is unsustainable.

  13. - Raising Kane - Wednesday, Apr 25, 12 @ 1:33 pm:

    bdreedle, you make some good points and I think it is Carol Ronan that you are talking about. She left the Senate, went to work for Blago for a few months and almost doubled her pension. That kind of stuff needs to stop.

    As for legislators getting 85% of their pay when they retire. I agree there too….but they don’t get Social Security. I think instead of the 4% employees pay, they pay 11.5% The state is supposed to pay into the pension system an equal amount that they would have paid into SS. I think we should stop that and just have them pay into SS and make their pension system the same as regular state employees. Of course, that will cost the state more upfront because they will have to pay SS, they wont be able to take holidays or skip payments. But it lessens the state liability.

  14. - Repulsed at this Whole Thing - Wednesday, Apr 25, 12 @ 3:19 pm:

    Pensions for legislators………….well, I guess. But make them wait till they’re 67—–I guess they hope some of these career teachers will die before they collect. Perhaps the same rules should apply? But their pensions are the least of worries. Free health insurance and all the other perks, none of which teachers get!

  15. - Repulsed at this Whole Thing - Wednesday, Apr 25, 12 @ 3:23 pm:

    To Raising Kane

    Hold on——–you have no problem with legislators getting 85% of their pay at retirement…………they get no social security…………Teachers at the very most get 75% of their last 4 year average and get no social security. Why should THAT be a problem if it’s ok for legislators to get 85%?

  16. - Retired Non-Union Guy - Wednesday, Apr 25, 12 @ 3:36 pm:

    Confused @ 1:03,

    Re armed forces 20 or nothing, that is an old rule. A while back it changed to vesting at 8 years, just like private sector rules. I urged a friend with 10 years military service under the old rules to get a fed job for 1 year so he could pick up his ten years (it’s transferable to any GS title) and get a pension …

  17. - Flan - Wednesday, Apr 25, 12 @ 7:45 pm:

    Ever look at the comparable pensions between regular state employees and the General Assembly? GA lock in retirement benefits quickly. They max out benefits after 20 years at 80% of their very healthy salaries, while state workers max out their benefits after 45 years at 75% of their much less salary, not that many last 45 years. Let the Assembly share regular worker retirement and watch the debt shrink.

  18. - slowburn - Wednesday, Apr 25, 12 @ 8:22 pm:

    Note*** they recieve 85% after only 20 years of service. (not too shabby) Of course there seems to be no proposal for cutting thier benefits.
    BIG SURPRISE!!!!! It will be challenged in court obviously, but perhaps we should still be concerned when the highest office in this corrupt state and our legislators will knowingly propose, and possibly pass legislation they know to be unconstitutional, are the courts still legit?

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