* On the one hand…
Members of a legislative pension reform committee won’t put a timetable on when they’ll complete their work, although they continue to say they’re making progress.
Committee members — who spoke privately among themselves Wednesday — said there are still details that must be resolved before a reform plan can be presented to the General Assembly.
“We’re quite close,” said Rep. Elaine Nekritz, D-Northbrook. “I think it’s a matter of getting a few more details hashed out. How long that takes, when that announcement comes, I can’t predict right now.”
* On the other hand…
Sen. Bill Brady, R-Bloomington, said he was disappointed by developments Wednesday.
“Today, I don’t think we made much progress,” Brady said. “The biggest obstacle is probably differing opinion on what amount of savings needs to be. At the end of the day, I think it’s coming down to how much savings is necessary to both protect what people have earned and be affordable to future General Assemblies.”
What I believe this shows is a serious attempt at partisan and ideological balance, which had been sorely lacking up until the conference committee began to meet. Speaker Madigan wanted to get as much savings as possible, Senate President Cullerton wanted to find a compromise with the unions. Now, the idea is to negotiate the amount of savings that one side can accept while still keeping in mind the damage that will be done to actual human beings.
The biggest problem, of course, is still constitutionality. I don’t think they’ll get past this issue until the courts weigh in. For now it appears to have been set aside.