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Did Quinn just back away from the cost shift?

Wednesday, Nov 14, 2012

* For about a year now, the standard mantra from Chicago Democratic leaders has been that the “cost-shift” must happen. The idea is to move billions of dollars in employer pension payments from the state down to local school districts and colleges and universities. Senate President John Cullerton came up with the idea, but Gov. Pat Quinn jumped on board shortly thereafter.

Quinn kinda sorta backed away a bit in April, but his aides say he didn’t actually do that. Since then, he’s been gung ho.

* Yesterday, Quinn was asked whether the cost-shift was still a major component of his pension reform plan. His response…

* Transcript…

“I don’t think we should let one particular segment of a reform bill hold up progress. So, uh, what we want to do is negotiate and figure out a good plan that saves taxpayers money and still maintains and rescues the pension system.”

Sounds like he’s backing away a bit to me.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - Dirt Diver - Wednesday, Nov 14, 12 @ 9:37 am:

    Governor Quinn, flip-flop? No way.

  2. - siriusly - Wednesday, Nov 14, 12 @ 9:40 am:

    It’s hard to back away when you never actually commit to anything and nobody believes you anyway.

    The cost shift is such a major thing that is going to impact the property tax bills and budgets of every school district (minus Chicago) I am really surprised it wasn’t more of an issue in the elections.

    Probably going to be a lame duck vote, right?

  3. - Madison - Wednesday, Nov 14, 12 @ 9:41 am:

    We raised taxes and gained seats last time. I would opine that the canary in the coal mine, we could sarcastically name him Pat for the purposes of dialogue, is out of touch again

  4. - western illinois - Wednesday, Nov 14, 12 @ 9:47 am:

    He did back off at the end of the session in May when he and Cross had a deal…..and then MJM said “NO” from our caucus.

  5. - Cincinnatus - Wednesday, Nov 14, 12 @ 9:47 am:

    There is a subtle, nuanced answer to the pension problem. That disqualifies the governor…

  6. - Hank - Wednesday, Nov 14, 12 @ 9:50 am:

    So, uh, what we want to do is negotiate and figure out a good plan……translation: kick the can down the road for another year or so

  7. - walkinfool - Wednesday, Nov 14, 12 @ 9:50 am:

    An issue this serious and complex cannot be successfully negotiated via the press. It sounded like generic avoidance to me.

  8. - OneMan - Wednesday, Nov 14, 12 @ 9:59 am:

    It is all part of the grass roots storm that is coming kids, its gonna be a storm….

  9. - MrJM - Wednesday, Nov 14, 12 @ 10:17 am:

    Pat’s not backing away. He’s just moving at an oblique.

    – MrJM

  10. - Small Town Liberal - Wednesday, Nov 14, 12 @ 10:26 am:

    Never let perfect be the enemy of good. I’d say being open minded during this session is a good plan, not a bad one.

  11. - Angry Chicagoan - Wednesday, Nov 14, 12 @ 10:33 am:

    I have an idea for a cost shift; simply change the final salary formula to reflect a career or at the very least the final ten years, not just the final three years. Then you won’t have this free rider problem with school districts paying ridiculous salaries to poaching late-career superintendents and senior teachers from one another, in the full knowledge that what they’re really offering is the state’s pension system, not their own resources. Obviously this won’t come even close to solving the entire problem, but it’s an important component.

  12. - Brendan - Wednesday, Nov 14, 12 @ 10:36 am:

    If there’s one thing Quinn knows how to do, it’s pander to whichever interest he thinks can best keep him in office.

  13. - Rich Miller - Wednesday, Nov 14, 12 @ 10:38 am:

    AC, if locals had to pay those costs, they’d be far less willing to hand out those pay hikes.

  14. - Cincinnatus - Wednesday, Nov 14, 12 @ 10:47 am:

    Even the distribution of education funds that now go inordinately to Chicago.

    State pays only a portion of pension costs based on some average or formula of workers in the state, anything above gets picked up by the local taxing district.

    Remove compounded COLA increase and use flat annual payout based on inflation.

    Remove any unfunded state mandate on local taxing bodies, or fund their implementation.

    Remove the guaranteed return rate on investment, or make it based on some other actuarial formula.

    Revisit the ramp based on new actuarial analysis.

  15. - wordslinger - Wednesday, Nov 14, 12 @ 10:47 am:

    I think he just might be willing to take whatever Madigan and Cullerton hand him. Let them take the slings and arrows.

  16. - mokenavince - Wednesday, Nov 14, 12 @ 10:57 am:

    Don’t do today what you can put off till tomorrow,
    because tomorrow never comes.

  17. - Billy - Wednesday, Nov 14, 12 @ 10:57 am:

    First the unions will fight any pension change hand and fist. Then comes the court challenge, which will cost the state big bucks, with no guarantee of winning! Time will tell!

  18. - 47th Ward - Wednesday, Nov 14, 12 @ 11:03 am:

    ===Even the distribution of education funds that now go inordinately to Chicago.===

    Right. As soon as you figure out how to evenly distribute the poor students throughout the suburbs for whom that money is intended.

  19. - wordslinger - Wednesday, Nov 14, 12 @ 11:08 am:

    ===Even the distribution of education funds that now go inordinately to Chicago.===

    ==Right. As soon as you figure out how to evenly distribute the poor students throughout the suburbs for whom that money is intended. ==

    47, I think you’re on to something.

    I’ve heard so much about this idea to “let the dollars follow the students.”

    How about we give it a try? I’m sure the folks at Hinsdale Central would welcome students from Simeon with open arms, as they bring their dollars. Same with the folks at New Trier rolling out the welcome wagon for the kids from Waukegan.

    Cincy, you claim to know all-things-Dillard, what are the chance that this conservative funding formula has his support?

  20. - Cincinnatus - Wednesday, Nov 14, 12 @ 11:26 am:


    Right now, there is a 15% discrepancy between the number of impoverished/disability students, and the percentage of state funds sent for programs for those students. Just visit downstate towns that have high percentages of these students to see the effects. Yet we would transfer costs to those same school districts as part of the Democratic plans. Is it not fair to at least address the issue as part of a compromise plan?


    I do know that Dillard is exploring several options, no matter how they are labeled, to control spending and bring the state’s finances under control. Is anyone else? That’s the real question. Dillard believes that some serious work lies ahead and is trying to avoid talking-point solutions to problems effecting the state, unlike any number of people on the left and the right. Many of the issues right now in the state have a common root cause, the lack of good employment for our citizens.

    We need to leverage all of those things you are always pointing out that make this state great, get Illinois back to work so that tax revenues increase, then put those monies to work on the highest priorities of government spending; our most needy people, our kids and their education, and the infrastructure needed to promote job growth. This is a positive agenda that reaches across all the demographic groups everyone says that Republicans need to reach, and in my opinion should be at the base of the Illinois Republican agenda.

  21. - Robert the Bruce - Wednesday, Nov 14, 12 @ 11:56 am:

    ===Same with the folks at New Trier rolling out the welcome wagon for the kids from Waukegan.===

    LOL but there’s two things I don’t get about the cost shifting to local districts.

    1) I don’t shed any tears for New Trier parents, but what happens to school districts in suburbs like Waukegan or some of the south suburbs and their school districts and students?

    2) Since it represents a cost shift to downstate and suburbs, who together easily outnumbers the city of Chicago in representation, how does a cost shift ever have the votes to pass?

  22. - Walk in my shoes - Wednesday, Nov 14, 12 @ 1:17 pm:

    Why don’t the governor sit down with the unions and figure something out.if they don’t the union will tie things up in court and nothing will get fixed.I agree things need to change but you can not have people who work in corrections and state police work until there 67 years old.

  23. - Anon - Wednesday, Nov 14, 12 @ 6:50 pm:

    @Walk in my Shoes
    State Police are required by law to retire at 60.

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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