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Today’s quote

Thursday, May 9, 2013

* From yesterday’s Senate committee hearing on the pension reform bill agreed to by the unions

Cullerton is exerting his full political muscle behind a legal theory that state worker pensions can be pared back if employees and retirees are given options. His position rests on the idea that the choice fulfills the need to have a contractual relationship between the state and its retirees to stay within the confines of the constitution. […]

But the Illinois Retired Teachers Association strongly disagreed that there is a way around the constitution.

“A choice that is kind of like ‘Either jump off a cliff or I’ll shoot you’ is not really a very good choice,” said Bob Pinkerton, the group’s vice president. He said Cullerton’s legislation does not provide “any choice that is beneficial” to the group’s 35,000 retirees.

* Roundup…

* Cullerton defends union-backed pension plan

* Cullerton’s pension plan proceeds — on collision course with Madigan’s

* Senate panel approves union-backed pension package

* Cullerton’s pension reform gets committee approval

* Illinois Senate committee approves union-backed plan for $97B pension crisis, nation’s worst

* Illinois Senate votes Thursday on union-backed pension plan

* State Senate could vote on pension plan Thursday

* Retired Teachers Upset Over Senate Pension Plan

* Hinz: Will Pat Quinn seize his pension moment?

* Editorial: If you think Illinois’ pension mess is ugly, just wait

* Cook County pension woes worsen

* A New Way to Tame the Public-Pension Beast?

- Posted by Rich Miller        


15 Comments
  1. - Anonymous 1 - Thursday, May 9, 13 @ 9:49 am:

    The “Unions” didn’t belong at the table. WHo do they speak for? They didn’t consent their members. Their member didn’t get to vote of what was bargained for or away as in a contract negotiation. They didn’t speak for many potentially affected people.


  2. - Pinker - Thursday, May 9, 13 @ 9:53 am:

    Now we can see if the pension part of the constitution is a part that is unenforceable, a part that we choose to ignore, or a part that we choose to enforce.

    Get the popcorn ready!


  3. - Cassiopeia - Thursday, May 9, 13 @ 9:59 am:

    While most seem to believe that the Madigan approach is unconstitutional we cannot lose sight of the fact that this is Illinois and that no one got on the supreme court as an independent. It is always possible that the court just might buy Madigan’s argument. If that happens then nothing stands in the way of further diminishment, not only to state employee, university and teacher pensions but to all local pensions as well.


  4. - Change - Thursday, May 9, 13 @ 10:02 am:

    Perhaps this will reignite the debate of whether we should be electing judges…


  5. - Robert the Bruce - Thursday, May 9, 13 @ 10:03 am:

    If active teachers agree to contracts that reduces pension benefits, do retired teachers have a legal leg to stand on?


  6. - walkinfool - Thursday, May 9, 13 @ 10:04 am:

    One thing that I know is not set in our
    Constitution: an “agreed bill process” — despite what union leaders have assumed for years.


  7. - Bill - Thursday, May 9, 13 @ 10:17 am:

    ==despite what union leaders have assumed for years.==

    An agreed bill stands a much better chance of passage and is politically much more feasible. It doesn’t have to be in the constitution. If you understood that process better you might still be in office.


  8. - Anonymous - Thursday, May 9, 13 @ 10:39 am:

    Rich,

    Any idea when the House will vote on the Gambling bill? Time is running out! Especially for wagering on horse racing online which an official of the IRB said they were losing $175,000.00 per month!


  9. - walkinfool - Thursday, May 9, 13 @ 10:46 am:

    Constitutional scholars arise!


  10. - TwoFeetThick - Thursday, May 9, 13 @ 10:58 am:

    I don’t think it really matters in the long run what groups support, or don’t support, these pension changes. All it takes is one person to file a case. I can’t imagine there won’t be someone out there who files suit. That someone could even be a member of an organization who, as a whole, supports the changes.


  11. - thechampaignlife - Thursday, May 9, 13 @ 11:28 am:

    It’s amazing how many people are working on the pension issue right now - lawmakers, reporters, analysts, unions, etc. What is everyone going to do with the copious amount of time they’ll have once they’ve “solved” the pension crisis?


  12. - Cincinnatus - Thursday, May 9, 13 @ 12:09 pm:

    - thechampaignlife - Thursday, May 9, 13 @ 11:28 am:

    It’s amazing how many people are working on the pension issue right now - lawmakers, reporters, analysts, unions, etc. What is everyone going to do with the copious amount of time they’ll have once they’ve “solved” the pension crisis?

    +++++

    There’s a squirrel just around the corner…


  13. - dupage dan - Thursday, May 9, 13 @ 1:19 pm:

    === - Anonymous 1 - Thursday, May 9, 13 @ 9:49 am:

    “They didn’t consent their members” ===

    If you are a union member, I hope it isn’t as a teacher.


  14. - Ruby - Thursday, May 9, 13 @ 2:48 pm:

    Just moments ago SB 2404 passed in the Illinois Senate by a vote of 40 to 16.


  15. - Judgment Day - Thursday, May 9, 13 @ 5:50 pm:

    The one that I find frightening is the Cook County pension shortfall.

    From the article:
    “The county’s main Employees’ Annuity and Benefit Fund saw its pension debt grow to $6.79 billion, up $969.5 million last year and an increase of $1.6 billion in the gap between assets and liabilities since 2010. The plan is only 53.5 percent funded, down from 57.5 percent in fiscal 2011, and the fund is projected to be insolvent by 2034.” Btw, that does not include any Cook County Forest Preserve (CCFP) retirement obligations.

    For perspective, the following is from the cookcountyil.gov 2013 budget website:

    “The total (Cook County Government) FY2013 recommended operating budget is $2.9 billion with, $2.29 billion of those expenditures coming from the general fund.”

    http://blog.cookcountyil.gov/budget/

    1) $2.29 bil (2013 General Fund appropriation) x 3 years = $ 6.87 billion.

    2) Current unfunded pension obligation is $6.79 billion (excludes CCFP).

    So, if we lay off everybody and shut down all County County General Fund services/obligations for say, only the next 3 years, we can get to 100% (fully) funding for their current-to-date pension obligations.

    Might be a way to get to at least a temporary solution on the Cook County concealed carry debate.


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