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*** UPDATED x1 - Maybe not *** This just in…

Monday, Jan 7, 2013

* 11:44 am - House Speaker Michael Madigan’s spokesman Steve Brown just announced there will be no floor vote on pensions after today’s committee hearing.

Keep an eye on our live session coverage post for more info on this and other topics.

* 12:28 am - Maybe not. From Dave McKinney

Madigan spokesman Steve Brown clarifying earlier comments on pension floor vote today, says “to check with the sponsor.” So, stay tuned.

- Posted by Rich Miller        


72 Comments
  1. - Billy - Monday, Jan 7, 13 @ 11:52 am:

    Guess the politicians are listening to all the people contacting them,who will,or are receiving a state pension!


  2. - horseracer - Monday, Jan 7, 13 @ 11:55 am:

    No floor vote today or no floor vote ever?


  3. - illinifan - Monday, Jan 7, 13 @ 11:56 am:

    Don’t think they are listening, they just want the senate back so they can move a bill through both chambers before anyone figures out what is really in the bill


  4. - Oswego Willy - Monday, Jan 7, 13 @ 11:59 am:

    Maybe Tom Cross can get a Tee Time this afternoon?


  5. - RNUG - Monday, Jan 7, 13 @ 12:09 pm:

    illinifan @ 11:56 am:

    I’ve been reading amendment 10 the past hour and posted my take in the “impasse” thread.

    The COLA freeze is bad enough but the one provision, no COLA until age 67 period, is just pure vindictiveness against the 2002 ERI retirees.


  6. - Crime Fighter - Monday, Jan 7, 13 @ 12:11 pm:

    Besides being wrong and immoral on a number of levels,it’s too complicated. Rather than try to trick and scheme our way out of paying back the money we borrowed from our employees, it would make sense if we did the decent thing and just paid it back.


  7. - Bitterman - Monday, Jan 7, 13 @ 12:19 pm:

    OW, all due respect (and you have mine), the Tom Cross golfing meme is getting stale.


  8. - Vandalia - Monday, Jan 7, 13 @ 12:20 pm:

    I cant believe they dont have some idea of where this is headed already. I have a feeling the deal is done, or nearly done, and the plan is to push it through fast and furious without a lot of time for the public to provide input on the actual bill. After all, many of these individuals who are “fixing” the pension problem are the same ones who had not trouble causing it. So, passing it quick is the best way to not have to listen to all those petty complaints from the constituents.


  9. - illinifan - Monday, Jan 7, 13 @ 12:21 pm:

    RNUG….I agree that a lot of this is because they hate all of us who took ERI…no matter how it shakes out that 2002 decision was the best I made especially the more I see my former co-workers and PSAs being treated like dirt


  10. - Steve Brown - Monday, Jan 7, 13 @ 12:22 pm:

    He did what?
    I think I refered reporters to the bill sponsors as to the schedule.
    Thanks for asking


  11. - RNUG - Monday, Jan 7, 13 @ 12:29 pm:

    illinifan,

    Ditto. The SPSA’s have really gotten the short end of it. My wife convinced me I should retire then … and it was the best move of my life, even with all this current strife.


  12. - Oswego Willy - Monday, Jan 7, 13 @ 12:35 pm:

    - Bitterman -,

    My point, is that when things become important, Tom Cross goes golfing. I would be surprised IF you thought it was funny.

    I find it sad Cross finds time to golf when needed most.

    However, I can understand your point as well, - Bitterman -.


  13. - RNUG - Monday, Jan 7, 13 @ 12:47 pm:

    The really sad part about SB1673 amendment 10 is it would be a decent and legal bill with the COLA changes removed … but then there would no immediate savings they could claim.


  14. - Pragmatist - Monday, Jan 7, 13 @ 12:54 pm:

    Have any of the employee groups or unions used this occasion to call for extension of the income tax increase as a funding solution?


  15. - just sayin' - Monday, Jan 7, 13 @ 12:57 pm:

    oh god just pass the darn thing so we can stop listening to the constant whining on our dime from state workers.


  16. - Anonymous - Monday, Jan 7, 13 @ 12:59 pm:

    Is Cullerton going to go along with this (despite knowing better)?


  17. - Pragmatist - Monday, Jan 7, 13 @ 1:03 pm:

    Want to pass the bill? Let Henry Bayer talk.


  18. - RNUG - Monday, Jan 7, 13 @ 1:08 pm:

    Pragmatist @ 12:54 pm:

    Think everyone considers making the temp increase permanent is a given since the State can’t meet their normal requirements without it. I realize the ramp reset could lessen the pension payments, but there is still that $6B - $9B being pushed off every year.


  19. - Oswego Willy - Monday, Jan 7, 13 @ 1:09 pm:

    ===However, I can understand your point as well, - Bitterman -.===

    And to be clear…

    Reminding that Veto-Proofed Caucus, that voted for Cross unamimously, has a purpose on important days, and important issues like today and today’s issue.

    When the HGOP becomes utterly irrelevent in this new GA, We all need to be quite clear who is to blame.

    That is my continued point, while I RESPECT your point.


  20. - 1776 - Monday, Jan 7, 13 @ 1:09 pm:

    Vote Yes.


  21. - Irish - Monday, Jan 7, 13 @ 1:18 pm:

    just sayin - Just to be clear. The state workers contributed to that dime also.


  22. - RNUG - Monday, Jan 7, 13 @ 1:41 pm:

    From the live feed, the train is on the tracks and the retirees are about to be run over.


  23. - walkinfool - Monday, Jan 7, 13 @ 1:50 pm:

    Still alive. The Speaker will respect the stronger members, especially if they have been rallying bi-partisan support. This one isn’t just tops-down.


  24. - RNUG - Monday, Jan 7, 13 @ 2:10 pm:

    Yep. Passed to the full house


  25. - SO IL M - Monday, Jan 7, 13 @ 2:12 pm:

    Dear Mr. Speaker and Members of the House,
    I retired a little over a year ago after 28 years of service to the Dept. of Corrections. At the time of my retirementI was assured of what my monthly retirement payment would be. I was also assured when I would be able to recieve a Cost of Living Adjustment, as well as what that COLA would ammount to. Now that the State is on the edge of renigging on those promises made to me, it will also be neccessary for me to rethink my decision to retire that was based on those promises. As you know the job market in Southern Illinois is slim. Even slimmer if you are over 50. Please accept this as my notice to return to work at the same position and rate as I was when I left. Thank You.


  26. - Pingu - Monday, Jan 7, 13 @ 2:21 pm:

    SO IL M - I think (hope) that the word you were looking for was “reneging”.


  27. - SO IL M - Monday, Jan 7, 13 @ 2:26 pm:

    Pingu—-ooops sorry cant type, no unintended meaning there


  28. - RNUG - Monday, Jan 7, 13 @ 2:29 pm:

    I’m going to predict the House pass this on 5 minutes notice in the middle of the night and leave town as fast as they can.


  29. - Tsavo - Monday, Jan 7, 13 @ 2:43 pm:

    So Il M,
    I retired from the State Police and I agree with you. If this bill becomes law, I wonder if a class action lawsuit requesting reinstatement to our previous rank and seniority would be ruled in our favor.

    Also, forcing State Police Troopers to retire at age 60 needs to be amended if COLA does not occur until age 67.

    I am ready to go back and put on the “brown gown”.


  30. - illinifan - Monday, Jan 7, 13 @ 2:45 pm:

    Hey if you renegotiate how about level income, they see this as a contract that cannot be changed, but since they are in the process of opening contracts and changing them, I would think all is on the table…rehire, LI, etc.


  31. - Middle class employee - Monday, Jan 7, 13 @ 2:50 pm:

    Why is this not called the Great Middle Class Tax Increase. A tax is taking money from the public to pay bills. That is what this is. Why are we hitting up middle class people who have worked all their lives to pay off loans that were not used to pay pensions? Seems grossly unfair. Spread the pain out evenly to all.


  32. - Pragmatist - Monday, Jan 7, 13 @ 2:52 pm:

    Thanks Henry.


  33. - sparky791 - Monday, Jan 7, 13 @ 2:52 pm:

    I think I will just teach 5-10 years longer in education profession. Most I have talked to recently are going to do the same thing. So now you will have school districts trying to fund higher salaries for a longer period of time. We will see how that works out.


  34. - RNUG - Monday, Jan 7, 13 @ 2:58 pm:

    illinifan,

    The irrevokable “level income” choice is controlled by federal IRS pension rules. The State can’t change it.


  35. - Fed up - Monday, Jan 7, 13 @ 2:59 pm:

    Did Rahm get chicagos pensions included in the bill or will that follow later?


  36. - Chicago Dave - Monday, Jan 7, 13 @ 2:59 pm:

    Costa Rico here I come.


  37. - illinifan - Monday, Jan 7, 13 @ 3:00 pm:

    RNUG thanks….I think.


  38. - George from Maryland - Monday, Jan 7, 13 @ 3:02 pm:

    A bigger element of this bill that isn’t being discussed is that it caps pensionable salary at the social security index level, currently $115,000. So if you have 15 years of service at % .0167 credit per year, even at a high paying job the maximum pension you’ll get is $28,000.

    Capping the pensionable salary is a huge move, they might as well end pensions all together and go to 401k.


  39. - Quinn T. Sential - Monday, Jan 7, 13 @ 3:02 pm:

    This Just In…….

    Did the Live Scribbler crash under the weight of activity, LOL? No updates since 12:30, and yet live action continues to proceed unabated.


  40. - Quinn T. Sential - Monday, Jan 7, 13 @ 3:05 pm:

    Never mind. I logged in late, didn’t realize the top post was pinned, and now recognize that the updates are streaming in just as fast and furiously as our august House can transact their business on behalf of the people of the state of Illinois.


  41. - Quinn T. Sential - Monday, Jan 7, 13 @ 3:13 pm:

    {I am ready to go back and put on the “brown gown”.}

    Does this require a reissue of your service weapon as well, or will it be BYOG


  42. - Bitterman - Monday, Jan 7, 13 @ 3:14 pm:

    OW, indeed.


  43. - RNUG - Monday, Jan 7, 13 @ 3:15 pm:

    Fed up @ 2:59 pm:

    Don’t think so. I didn’t notice any CPS references in the changed (underlined) text … but I did skim it fairly fast.


  44. - Oswego Willy - Monday, Jan 7, 13 @ 3:16 pm:

    We are “good” on my end, - Bitterman - …


  45. - jimbo26 - Monday, Jan 7, 13 @ 3:43 pm:

    House adjourned .Is the plane on the way to Miami?


  46. - Roadiepig - Monday, Jan 7, 13 @ 3:48 pm:

    RNUG- I knew when I signed on the dotted line for level income the day I retired that when I reach 67 the state would reduce my SERS pension by only the amount of social security I would be receiving, but my actual take home would be the same due to my COLAs I would receive between the ages 55-67. If the state breaks their end of the contract (by taking all COLA from people like myself until we turn 67), doesn’t that run them afoul of the IRS rules? Or will the state still have to provide us our COLAs because of the level income contract? Nobody seems to be able to answer that at SERS for me…


  47. - Bill - Monday, Jan 7, 13 @ 4:01 pm:

    The amendment is also silent on whether the employee contribution ends at 113,500. I would assume so given federaal law. Doesn’t this just exacerbate the short term funding crisis.


  48. - Mama - Monday, Jan 7, 13 @ 4:07 pm:

    Oh please read the IL Constitution - our pension is NOT a promise - - it is our right protected by the IL Constitutional! Reducing our pension benefits will make the pension bill/PA illegal. You mark my word - the legislature will pass the pension bill at the last possible minute, and run back to Chicago on the midnight train.


  49. - western illinois - Monday, Jan 7, 13 @ 4:17 pm:

    I really think komatsu makes fine products and has a plant here


  50. - SO IL M - Monday, Jan 7, 13 @ 4:29 pm:

    Quinn T.—BYOG? The way this State is going would probably have to provide uniforms and vehicle also.

    Mama—Think you could get them on the Midnight Train to Georgia instead?


  51. - quincy - Monday, Jan 7, 13 @ 4:35 pm:

    If this passes it’s time for all of us retiree to go on welfar. After all we would all be getting good heath care and free food


  52. - sick of chicago - Monday, Jan 7, 13 @ 4:57 pm:

    Are the lawmakers going to give up their 3% that they get for every year over 20yrs of service I doubt it. I’m sure they will take care of themselves like they always do


  53. - Arthur Andersen - Monday, Jan 7, 13 @ 5:14 pm:

    Bill, you’re right and you’re right.

    Section “AA can’t remember” of the IRC says in brief that qualified pension plans can’t collect a contribution for which a benefit is not provided.

    The dollar amount of contributions over the limit is not chump change.


  54. - doe anyone know - Monday, Jan 7, 13 @ 5:51 pm:

    Does anyone know if the salary cap applies to people in a bargaining unit?


  55. - RNUG - Monday, Jan 7, 13 @ 6:04 pm:

    doe anyone know @ 5:51 pm:

    Think there was some language about the cap not applying if a union contract existed. If memory is working, it’s close to the center or bottom of the whole thing. I didn’t give it a comprehensive review.


  56. - RNUG - Monday, Jan 7, 13 @ 6:06 pm:

    Roadiepig @ 3:48 pm:

    And I don’t know the answer to that one either.


  57. - RNUG - Monday, Jan 7, 13 @ 6:30 pm:

    does anyone know @ 5:51 pm:

    Went back and searched the bill as amended to see if what I remembered was accurate. The actual answer is pretty much “not today but it will”.

    Here’s the language I found (it refers back to the salary / SS threshold cap):

    “… except that this limitation does not apply to a member’s compensation that is determined under an employment contract or collective bargaining agreement that is in effect on the effective date of this amendatory Act of the 97th General Assembly and has not been amended or renewed after that date.”

    So it looks like salaries determined by bargaining units with in force contracts can exceed the cap for pension purposes until the next contract.


  58. - Norseman - Monday, Jan 7, 13 @ 6:31 pm:

    Bill, if there is a cap on contributions, I suspect it would be due to a failure of the drafters to understand the law. The solons want to soak the employees for as much as possible.


  59. - iThink - Monday, Jan 7, 13 @ 6:39 pm:

    RNUG, thanks for the quote concerning earnings, disregard my last post.


  60. - illinifan - Monday, Jan 7, 13 @ 6:48 pm:

    roadiepeg. I asked this question of SRS last year and got this response “We will reduce your 9/2016 benefit check by $XXXX which is the amount SSA estimated they would pay. Under current law this decrease will happen regardless of the amount of increases you receive from 2013 through 2016.So whatever your gross benefit is on 9/2016 we will reduce it by $XXXX00.”

    that said this may be a suit since the reduction would reduce our benefits to below the base benefit that was earned. for those of us in ERI there may be a separate suit since I think the 3% was specifically mentioned in the package.

    RNUG you may remember or have the paperwork on this?


  61. - wishbone - Monday, Jan 7, 13 @ 6:57 pm:

    Well today I got notice of my 1.7% annual cost of living pension increase which is based on, you know, the actual cost of living. The idea of a COLA which is totally divorced from the cost of living is ridiculous on its face. It is high time state retirees faced reality.


  62. - getting screwed - Monday, Jan 7, 13 @ 7:12 pm:

    Does that mean afscme employees working without a contract are subject to the salary caps? It looks like it. I’m a physician for the state with over 10 years in but planned on another 20 years. With my pension based on my current salary my pension will be about half of what it would be based on my salary in 20 years. And that doesn’t even take into account the much lower COLA once I do retire. I don’t expect much sympathy for us higher paid young professional employees but the pension was a big draw to my position. Half of my pension is not so good compared to other opportunities.


  63. - Roadiepig - Monday, Jan 7, 13 @ 7:39 pm:

    Wishbone- you are referring to your Social Security COLA right?

    Several important things to remember when you compare SS to SERS. SS COLAs are compounded to keep up with inflation and the multiplier (whatever it is in any given year)is applied to the previous year’s payouts, just like the present state system. If you look at one given year (1.7% for this year for instance)that 3% sounds cushy. But if you go back a few years (say to 1980), and then do the math the federal COLA has averaged out to a bit over that 3% (3.2% I believe but don’t quote me).

    So- the amendment to the senate bill that rolls the COLA back to half of the federal CPI, basing each increase on only the first $25,000 of pension, and applying it to the original starting pension amount is a much worse arraignment that what Social Security provides you.

    And it is definitely a reduction to a constitutionally protected benefit , no matter how Rep. Nekritz spins it.


  64. - Roadiepig - Monday, Jan 7, 13 @ 7:43 pm:

    RNUG- thanks for getting back with me. I guess somebody at SERS will figure these things out once the courts make their decisions on what is or isn’t constitutional. That should be done a few years before I hit the age of 67 anyway…


  65. - foster brooks - Monday, Jan 7, 13 @ 8:28 pm:

    The bill’s sponsor, state Rep. Elaine Nekritz, D-Northbrook, said she thinks the proposal would be found acceptable by the state’s highest court because the state is in a financial crisis.

    sorry but thats not the way the constitution works. amazing the dopes il citizens elect.


  66. - RNUG - Monday, Jan 7, 13 @ 8:33 pm:

    illinifan @ 6:48 pm

    You know not what you ask for. My wife swears I have every piece of paper since day one. I probably do, but we’ve been moving and I can’t find the actual ERI paperwork at the moment. I do remember seeing it in a seperate binder sometime in the last 6 months.

    I did find my annual SERS statements from 2010, 2001, 2000, 1999, 1998, 1997 & 1996.

    The 2010 statement explicitly talks about the Automatic Annual Increase (the State’s offical name for it) as being 3% every year. The earlier statements only mention a 3% annual increase for the state pension when explaining the “level income” option .. but that’s enough to prove it was planned as part of the retirement.


  67. - illinifan - Monday, Jan 7, 13 @ 9:17 pm:

    RNUG thanks I will try and find my paperwork. I am fairly sure one of us ERI folks have something to share with the lawyers


  68. - mokenavince - Monday, Jan 7, 13 @ 10:24 pm:

    Madigan will kick the can.We are doomed.


  69. - RNUG - Monday, Jan 7, 13 @ 10:29 pm:

    Did anyone else notice the severability provision limitation (section 97)?

    ” … However, the changes made by this Act in an Article of the Illinois Pension Code that relate to (i) automatic annual increases, (ii) employee or member contributions, (iii) State or employer contributions, (iv) State funding guarantees, or (v) salary, earnings, or compensation are mutually dependent and inseverable. …”

    It’s like they are daring the courts to find it unconstitutional.


  70. - Anonymous - Monday, Jan 7, 13 @ 10:57 pm:

    I believe that is their game RNUG, pass a messed up law, litigate, lose, then repeat while on appeal. Can I digress and say that CMS alone is one part of this state nobody would miss to save a few bucks…thanks for my digression.


  71. - western illinois - Tuesday, Jan 8, 13 @ 8:52 am:

    Sine it effects people who are no longer residents it could probably do to federal court first for a summary jusgement and an injunction. No appeals court -federal would take an appeal on something that is law school contratcs 101


  72. - Norseman - Tuesday, Jan 8, 13 @ 9:59 am:

    RNUG, don’t read too much into the inseverability clause other than they want all elements of the bill to survive intact. Without this clause the court to rule against some provisions and leave others intact. They obviously don’t want to see half a solution as they define it.


Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.


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* Illinois Department of Labor Director Hugo Chaviano Awards Governor’s Award for Contributions in Health and Safety to the Illinois Refining Division of Marathon Petroleum Company LP
* State Regulator Elected Treasurer of Interstate Medical Licensure Compact




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