* As I reminded subscribers this morning, the Chicago Tribune endorsed all but one serious House Republican candidate in the 2010 general election. The Tribune mainly used the pension reform issue as its excuse for going all-in for the GOP.
Yesterday, the Tribune came out against the pension reform plan sponsored by House Speaker Michael Madigan, and today it doubled down…
We won’t be surprised if, by late Thursday, the Democrats who dominate both legislative chambers produce something they proclaim is a major pension overhaul. But if any legislation they pass doesn’t truly solve the crisis, we hope Gov. Pat Quinn will stick to his threat and keep lawmakers in Springfield until they do. […]
If the majority Democrats push through pension reform lite at the last minute, with virtually no Republican input and with genteel treatment of current workers, they will have delivered one more in a long line of feckless legislative sessions that didn’t fix the most pressing danger to state government’s financial future. […]
But on the year’s most crucial issue — pension reform — lawmakers have perpetuated their decades-long habit of popping huge legislation on the eve of adjournment, creating an artificial rush to an uninformed decision. At that point, bosses rule and gotcha politics trumps good policy. […]
By nightfall Thursday, the best option may be for Quinn to let June 1 arrive, then order lawmakers to set aside any consideration of pension reform lite and instead negotiate more dramatic reforms — with both parties participating.
* Trouble is, after that editorial was written House Speaker Michael Madigan announced that he would transfer sponsorship of the pension bill to House Republican Leader Tom Cross…
Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan abruptly reversed course late Wednesday night, promising to remove a key provision from his pension restructuring bill and could clear the way for the measure to pass the General Assembly today.
In another dramatic moment on the House floor, the powerful Chicago Democrat said Democratic Gov. Pat Quinn asked him to drop a provision that would have shifted the “normal” cost of pensions for teachers and university employees from the state to local school districts, universities and community colleges. Normal costs are the total benefits accrued by active employees each year.
Republicans had pledged to vote against Madigan’s pension plan if it included the cost shift.
“I had an interesting meeting this morning with Governor Quinn,” Madigan said late Wednesday. “And I was surprised that the governor disagreed with me on the issue. He agrees with you. He agrees with the Republicans. He thinks that we ought to remove the issue of the shift of normal cost out of the bill.
“I disagree with the governor, but he is the governor,” Madigan said. “This is his request.
So, Leader Cross now owns a plan that the Tribune despises. I wonder how that’s gonna go down at the Mothership?
*** UPDATE *** The Illinois Review may now regret publishing this headline since Tom Cross is the bill’s current sponsor…
[ *** End Of Update *** ]
* Earlier in the day, Gov. Pat Quinn’s administration hedged on the cost-shifting plan…
Radogno asked Stermer if Quinn would support a proposal removing the cost shift but leaving other provisions, the core of which offers employees and retirees a choice between lower cost-of-living adjustments coupled with guaranteed access to the state health-care plan, or higher cost-of-living adjustments without access to the state health-care plan.
Stermer hedged, saying the governor is considering anything that could fix the $83 billion unfunded pension liability facing the state.
* ADDED: The Choice Between Two Unconstitutional Options is Not Constitutional
* Editorial: A last gasp for pension reform?
* Madigan announces possible pension reform deal in Springfield
* Madigan reverses course, paves way for pension reform
* Pension legislation gets new life in General Assembly
* Pension shift to local schools to be removed from plan
* IL pension reform in limbo as lawmakers mull cost shifting
* Pension overhaul, budget face uncertainty
* Our Opinion: Gradually shift cost of teacher pensions
* Our View: Pension nightmares and political legacies
* Five reasons why Illinois Policy Institute supports local pension accountability