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This just in… Leaders make a deal on pension reform

Wednesday, Nov 27, 2013

[Subscriber protection removed and comments opened because the Sun-Times now has this story independently.]

* 11:58 am - From House Speaker Michael Madigan’s press secretary…

Leaders have reached a pension agreement.

Details will be distributed to members on Friday.

Final elements were put together by the Speaker in recent days.

*** UPDATE - 12:09 pm *** From the Senate President’s spokesperson…

Yes, there is an agreement on a plan. We are notifying our members that they should return to Springfield for session on Tuesday.

I’m hearing a one-day session on December 3rd beginning at 11 o’clock in the morning.

* Sun-Times

“We have a deal,” House Minority Leader Jim Durkin, R-Western Springs, told reporters at the Bilandic Building, where leaders met Wednesday morning. […]

Without offering specifics, Durkin identified three elements to the package, including a change to the COLA, a defined contribution plan and an adjustment to the retirement age.

Asked why the deal came together now, Radogno said, “It’s just the urgency. Every leader had concerns, and we’ve all accommodated.”

“Having the leaders, all four agree, is a huge step in the right direction.” Radogno said.

* 12:12 pm - From the House Republicans…

There is an agreement. The leaders are beginning the process of reaching out to the members. Details will be released to members and the media in short order.

In a follow-up e-mail, I was told by the House GOP spokesperson not to expect any details today.

* 12:28 pm - From the twitters…


Subscribers know more about that. So far, though, Rauner hasn’t pulled off too many votes, if any. We’ll see.

* 12:34 pm - Greg Hinz

The deal reportedly would save taxpayers about $160 billion over the next three decades.

* More from the twitters…


* As subscribers already know, Madigan has been doing shuttle diplomacy for several days…


* AP

Despite no knowledge of the details, the state’s major employee unions said Wednesday they were opposed to the deal, saying they were left out of negotiations and that they believe elements are unconstitutional.

“We have tried for three years now to work with legislative leaders and the governor to develop pension reform … that is fair to workers and retirees,” American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees union spokesman Anders Lindall said Wednesday.

* 12:57 pm - I asked Bruce Rauner’s campaign a while ago to comment on Speaker Madigan’s statement about Rauner being opposed due to the bill’s guaranteed funding mechanism. Awaiting a response.

* Sun-Times video of Madigan…

* From Gov. Pat Quinn…

Governor Pat Quinn issued the below statement regarding today’s agreement among the legislative leaders on a comprehensive pension reform solution:

“I commend the legislative leaders – Senate President John Cullerton, House Speaker Mike Madigan, Senate Minority Leader Christine Radogno and House Minority Leader Jim Durkin – for their hard work to reach this critical agreement. I also commend members of the conference committee for their work throughout the summer and fall to get us to this point.

“When I proposed the creation of a conference committee in June, I asked members to draft a plan that eliminated the unfunded pension debt and fully stabilized the systems, and this plan meets that standard.

“We have more work to do. I look forward to working with the leaders and members of the General Assembly over the coming days to get this job done for the people of Illinois.”

* From the We Are One Coalition…

“Unions representing hundreds of thousands of public employees and retirees were not included in the leaders’ talks. If their new plan is in line with what’s been reported from earlier discussions, then it’s an unfair, unconstitutional scheme that undermines retirement security.

“It’s no compromise at all with those who earned and paid for their retirement benefits. In fact, reports suggest the leaders have repackaged Senate Bill 1 and barely bothered to disguise it. On top of this, by expanding 401(k) plans, the leaders will further jeopardize retirement security for the vast majority of public employees and retirees who are not eligible for Social Security.

“If their bill resembles SB 1, we will urge lawmakers to reject it and continue to fight to protect the hard-earned life-savings of Illinois public servants as well as the sanctity of the state’s constitution.”

* Tribune

Increasing the retirement age, now set at various levels based on the type of work, would impact the youngest workers the most. Younger workers could see up to five years added to their retirement ages, Radogno said.

The cost-of-living adjustments would be altered “to be sure that the lower-paid, longest-serving employees have the biggest protection,” said Radogno. It would be largely patterned after a provision she pushed and was included in a bill that Speaker Michael Madigan passed in the House.

- Posted by Rich Miller        


101 Comments
  1. - Dirty Red - Wednesday, Nov 27, 13 @ 12:19 pm:

    Where was the Governor?

    Interesting how all of the leaders are confirming an agreement has been made and publicly announcing when the vote will be. Suggests the unions won’t hate this proposal as much?


  2. - Mmmmmmm - Wednesday, Nov 27, 13 @ 12:21 pm:

    Did anyone tell PQ????


  3. - Rich Miller - Wednesday, Nov 27, 13 @ 12:21 pm:

    ===Suggests the unions won’t hate this proposal as much? ===

    Dream on.

    ===Where was the Governor?===

    Not in the room, which is prolly a good thing.


  4. - suburban viewpoint - Wednesday, Nov 27, 13 @ 12:23 pm:

    Good news for Quinn. Will be interesting to see how Rauner and GOP gubes react in light of GOP leader support…


  5. - Precinct Captain - Wednesday, Nov 27, 13 @ 12:27 pm:

    Rauner against according to S-T
    https://twitter.com/KateGrossman1/status/405763478767403008


  6. - Mmmmmmm - Wednesday, Nov 27, 13 @ 12:27 pm:

    It will be interesting to see the structured roll call: I assume Sen R’s will have to put on 12/13 votes. Can’t begin to imagine the numbers for Durkin??


  7. - Rich Miller - Wednesday, Nov 27, 13 @ 12:28 pm:

    ===Rauner against according to S-T===

    Yeah. Subscribe for more on that bit. But thanks for the tweet. I’ll post.


  8. - Tsavo - Wednesday, Nov 27, 13 @ 12:32 pm:

    “We’re inside the one and we’re trying to get across the goal line,” Madigan said.

    You might be inside the one, but as soon as the ball crosses the goal line the challenge flag will be thrown.


  9. - Dirty Red - Wednesday, Nov 27, 13 @ 12:34 pm:

    - House Speaker Madigan says pension deal will save about $160 billion over 30 years -

    Yeah, OK. They’ll hate it good.


  10. - Denny Savard - Wednesday, Nov 27, 13 @ 12:35 pm:

    But what if Chuck Gowdy is on the other side of the goal line ready to chase Madigan away?


  11. - WhoKnew - Wednesday, Nov 27, 13 @ 12:36 pm:

    “a defined contribution plan ” - Is Illinois going to get all employees in the SS System?

    What’s the SS mandated Level for all Pension programs?


  12. - Believe it when the ink is dry - Wednesday, Nov 27, 13 @ 12:38 pm:

    Not holding my breath


  13. - Juvenal - Wednesday, Nov 27, 13 @ 12:40 pm:

    Good luck with that, Rauner.

    Pension reform? Term limits? Hard to pin your campaign hopes on either.

    Side note: Amazing how much you can accomplish with Durkin in the room instead of Cross, isn’t it? Don’t get me wrong, Madigan seems to deserve the credit in the General Assembly for bringing lawmakers together, but let’s give Radogno and especially Durkin credit for not being Obstructionists.

    End Note: Kinda tough for Rauner to base his campaign on “Madigan is too powerful” now too.


  14. - Rod - Wednesday, Nov 27, 13 @ 12:43 pm:

    I would suspect that Mr Rauner is opposed because most of the saving in the deal are based on modifying the COLA which will create back loaded savings. Senator Cullerton explained this several weeks ago and Rich posted those comments.

    Even Radogno is being evasive on the money saving question and we are still talking about savings over a 30 year period of time not what the savings might be in the next 10 years. I will be fascinated to see the estimated savings break down by each year going out the full 30 years. I will also be fascinated to see the rate of return assumptions embedded in the actuarial analysis. Eventually it will all come out.


  15. - And I Approved This Message - Wednesday, Nov 27, 13 @ 12:43 pm:

    It took the Bears seven tries from the one to score last Sunday. Don’t give the bill to Michael Bush.


  16. - Hey - Wednesday, Nov 27, 13 @ 12:43 pm:

    Yet one more thing for the Governor to be thankful for tomorrow. After Lisa and Daley dropping out, Quinn should say a lllooonngg prayer of thanksgiving tomorrow at mass (but don’t go to mass at the cathedral in Springfield or else…)


  17. - Rich Miller - Wednesday, Nov 27, 13 @ 12:43 pm:

    ===Is Illinois going to get all employees in the SS System?===

    No. This would be an optional program.


  18. - anonymous - Wednesday, Nov 27, 13 @ 12:44 pm:

    Merry Christmas State Employees! The good news is that whatever they do will be litigated and probably thrown out.


  19. - Rich Miller - Wednesday, Nov 27, 13 @ 12:45 pm:

    ===I would suspect that Mr Rauner is opposed because most of the saving in the deal are based on modifying the COLA===

    No.


  20. - Norseman - Wednesday, Nov 27, 13 @ 12:46 pm:

    Get those phone calls started. Start prepping those briefs. This needs to be stopped!!!

    Nice present for the holidays.


  21. - Tim Snopes - Wednesday, Nov 27, 13 @ 12:47 pm:

    The only legislators who should care what Rauner thinks are those who get a tingle about the thought of him being Illinois governor.


  22. - Tsavo - Wednesday, Nov 27, 13 @ 12:49 pm:

    Are Judges included? just asking


  23. - OneMan - Wednesday, Nov 27, 13 @ 12:50 pm:

    The only legislators who should care what Rauner thinks are those who get a tingle about the thought of him being Illinois governor.

    Or are worried he might start tossing money at those running against them…


  24. - wordslinger - Wednesday, Nov 27, 13 @ 12:51 pm:

    I imagine Rauner would oppose any deal. Stalemate is in his interest.

    But he’ll need to be careful throwing Durkin, Radogno and other GOPers under the bus.


  25. - Give Me A Break - Wednesday, Nov 27, 13 @ 12:51 pm:

    Norseman: Maybe you would prefer they just do nothing and then watch GRF being consumed to pay for pensions and then watch the number of state employees getting laid off go through the roof as the state reduces headcount to pay for pensions. So, you wants jobs, or do you just want to throw a fit?


  26. - too obvious - Wednesday, Nov 27, 13 @ 12:53 pm:

    Of course Rauner is opposed. His whole campaign is rooted on carping about a pension system he’s milked a fortune from.


  27. - The Captain - Wednesday, Nov 27, 13 @ 12:54 pm:

    “I would suspect that Mr Rauner is opposed because …”

    He wants to run his campaign on open hostility to the pension system and he doesn’t want to see the issue somewhat resolved and taken off the table.


  28. - Rod - Wednesday, Nov 27, 13 @ 12:56 pm:

    So based on Rich’s comment relating to Mr Rauner’s opposition to the deal not being based on back loading savings I am left to conclude his opposition is driven by the idea he floated about moving public sector workers to 401k plans. His public relations team seems more competent than that because the idea of a mass movement of public sector workers to 401 k plans was never part of the discussions due to its obvious lack of constitutionality.

    I look forward to reading the Rauner press release on this issue. Some how I suspect Rich has an idea of how it is going to read.


  29. - qcexaminer - Wednesday, Nov 27, 13 @ 12:57 pm:

    What difference does it make if Rauner opposes this deal or not?

    Who cares?

    How many votes does he have?

    Even if he is elected governor the deal will be the law of the land by the time he takes office and cannot be altered—just like Obamacare.


  30. - Mason born - Wednesday, Nov 27, 13 @ 12:57 pm:

    Give

    I doubt this is the Binary solution set you allude too.

    For that matter Norseman is completely right. As the Constitution reads at the moment this is clear deminishes the pension of current employees. It needs to get litigated and fast.


  31. - Rich Miller - Wednesday, Nov 27, 13 @ 1:00 pm:

    ===How many votes does he have?===

    That’s the big question, isn’t it? He does have some allies in the House and Senate who voted “Yes” on SB1.


  32. - Stones - Wednesday, Nov 27, 13 @ 1:05 pm:

    Burying the story the day prior to Thanksgiving and releasing the details on Friday after the holiday speaks volumes.


  33. - Rich Miller - Wednesday, Nov 27, 13 @ 1:06 pm:

    ===Burying the story the day prior to Thanksgiving and releasing the details on Friday after the holiday speaks volumes. ===

    Dude, they just reached an agreement. Sheesh.

    And releasing details on Friday gives members time to read them over the weekend before the Tuesday session. Would you rather they wait until Monday? Maybe do a Sunday press conference? lol


  34. - Wensicia - Wednesday, Nov 27, 13 @ 1:12 pm:

    I’ll wait for the details. I’m not sure what I’ve heard so far is constitutional.


  35. - Anonymous - Wednesday, Nov 27, 13 @ 1:13 pm:

    ====What difference does it make if Rauner opposes this deal or not? Who cares? How many votes does he have?====

    BINGO! My thoughts exactly!


  36. - DuPage Dave - Wednesday, Nov 27, 13 @ 1:18 pm:

    All the proposals they’ve come up with fail the constitutional test regarding diminishing or impairing benefits to members of retirement systems.

    This one will be no different. They may pass a deal but it will be found unconstitutional.


  37. - BoBo - Wednesday, Nov 27, 13 @ 1:20 pm:

    If the bill gets passed, it will make Quinn very tough to beat and nearly impossible for the likes of Rauner.

    His whole routine is “we need an outsider to fix the state.” What’s he going to do when the insiders fix it.


  38. - kimocat - Wednesday, Nov 27, 13 @ 1:28 pm:

    So what is Cullerton ’s position anyway? First he says we have to have “consideration” for constitutionality. Oh wait, forget that. Then he negotiates a more fair agreement with the unions. Oh wait, forget that too. Now he is for sticking it as hard as he can to active employees and retirees and who cares about the constitution?


  39. - Just Me - Wednesday, Nov 27, 13 @ 1:28 pm:

    Side note– I find it a little insulting when legislators champion the Open Meetings Act and put all sort of restrictions on local governments, but the GA’s Leaders can meet in secret for months and then do secret caucus discussions too.


  40. - Walter Mitty - Wednesday, Nov 27, 13 @ 1:29 pm:

    I suppose it will all be litigated.So technically it won’t be off the table…I think at least there is something… Is it not curious that it’s what Rauner thinks? I think Dennis Green comes to mind…. Remember when….

    http://youtu.be/aYKIcnj1MJY


  41. - PublicServant - Wednesday, Nov 27, 13 @ 1:31 pm:

    I’ve already called and emailed my reps. Worked 33+ years for the state planning for and counting on my pension. 3 kids in college next fall. Scrimped all these years, deferring house maintenance, planning for the timing needed to get another job in my retirement, just to help pay for college for my children. That’s why I oppose this bill. I get the politics. I don’t expect sympathy, but I’d like to think enough of the politicians will vote their conscience, and not their self-interest. I guess we’ll see. I do expect the courts to back me. Can’t see how they can’t, but I’ve got no choice other than to rely on them. I’ll be watching to see how my reps vote, and I, my family, and my friends will vote accordingly.


  42. - Dan - Wednesday, Nov 27, 13 @ 1:32 pm:

    Does this deal include Chicago teachers?


  43. - doomed in illinois - Wednesday, Nov 27, 13 @ 1:33 pm:

    Now I get to spend my 4 day weekend wondering how bad I’m gonna get it. Nice timing.


  44. - Newsclown - Wednesday, Nov 27, 13 @ 1:35 pm:

    I suspect there’s a quid pro quo to give the Republicans some new capitol bill input in exchange for the key votes. Got to smooth over any ill will from the Gay Marriage thing as well. so they have to be expecting some kind of gesture in exchange.


  45. - Formerly Known As... - Wednesday, Nov 27, 13 @ 1:39 pm:

    === a change to the COLA, a defined contribution plan and an adjustment to the retirement age ===

    At least 2 of those 3 would seem to “diminish” benefits.


  46. - Rich Miller - Wednesday, Nov 27, 13 @ 1:41 pm:

    ===I suspect there’s a quid pro quo to give the Republicans some new capitol bill input in exchange for the key votes===

    They were gonna get that anyway. See below, for example.


  47. - facts are stubborn things - Wednesday, Nov 27, 13 @ 1:42 pm:

    If they tie the COLA to the full CPI they may be able to claim that there is consideration. I suspect the senate insisted on at least the COLA being based on the CPI.


  48. - Mason born - Wednesday, Nov 27, 13 @ 1:44 pm:

    If the bill is severable it seems likely all the state may end up accomplishing is providing a defined contribution option.


  49. - facts are stubborn things - Wednesday, Nov 27, 13 @ 1:46 pm:

    Will be interesting to see if there is a cap on the COLA.


  50. - Formerly Known As... - Wednesday, Nov 27, 13 @ 1:47 pm:

    @PublicServant - personal stories such as yours are exactly the sort of thing that helps humanize this issue and cut through the clutter and double-speak.

    It’s the sort of thing that strikes home with mainstream, independent voters who may not follow all the inside baseball but can absolutely relate to the concerns of a hardworking, honest parent such as themselves.

    Now if the unions could find a way to communicate that message as effectively as you have, they might be on to something.

    Thanks for all your work for our state over the years. I hope our state honors its word to you and your family.


  51. - nikobey - Wednesday, Nov 27, 13 @ 1:50 pm:

    There has been much speculation on the precise terms of the forthcoming pension legislation. The wait is now just about over. Let’s enjoy the holiday and wait until Friday to react.


  52. - Dan - Wednesday, Nov 27, 13 @ 1:51 pm:

    Facts are stubborn things@ 146,
    Will the new cola be compounded?


  53. - Bill - Wednesday, Nov 27, 13 @ 1:54 pm:

    Kiss your COLAs goodbye…same for 30 and out and rule of 85 for younger employees. You can rely on the courts if you want but I get the feeling that that won’t go too well. In the meantime they’ll over estimate savings and returns for 40 years out and start spending that money next year. Eventually, they’ll be back for more. Somewhere John Filan is having a good laugh.


  54. - OneMan - Wednesday, Nov 27, 13 @ 1:55 pm:

    If the bill gets passed, it will make Quinn very tough to beat and nearly impossible for the likes of Rauner.

    Two things, one you are putting a lot of faith in the quality of this plan, it might be such that more political hay may be made out of it than the lack of a plan.

    Secondly, not sure if the only thing putting Pat Quinn at electoral risk is pensions…


  55. - Wallinger Dickus - Wednesday, Nov 27, 13 @ 1:55 pm:

    So everyone is going to take a haircut — the taxpayers, the politicians and the pensioners.

    And of course, the bond holders. They’re going to have their contractually-guaranteed rates reduced commensurate to the cuts meted out to the retirees, right?

    Right?


  56. - John on the spot - Wednesday, Nov 27, 13 @ 1:58 pm:

    To Dan

    No, I don’t believe it impacts Chicago (only the 5 state systems). The interesting thing is changing the COLA for retirees. What ‘consideration’ do they get from the change? Active employees get a reduction in their pension contribution for a lower COLA.


  57. - Jake From Elwood - Wednesday, Nov 27, 13 @ 2:03 pm:

    I will withhold my comments until I have a chance to scrutinize the bill. But the fact that the Four Tops agree on anything significant is a good start.
    Happy Thanksgiving. JFE Out.


  58. - Formerly Known As... - Wednesday, Nov 27, 13 @ 2:05 pm:

    @Wallinger Dickus - that seems only fair in light of such dire straits.

    And instead of another capital bill/bond, perhaps they’ll run another round of pension bonds to help shore things up and honor the state’s obligations to our workers and retirees.

    It seems bizarre to say “we want to sell more bonds for construction projects”, while also saying “but we can’t possibly find any money to pay for pensions we promised”.


  59. - archimedes - Wednesday, Nov 27, 13 @ 2:05 pm:

    They just struck a deal with the leaders, and they have to get the details to their members - if they release all the details now, then their members will be bombarded with phone calls and not even know the details of the deal. SO I understand the timing in the release of this stuff.

    An observation. All we know is a claimed $160 billion in “savings.” Back in 1995, the original Pension Ramp was projected to cost the State $274 billion from FY2015 to 2045. COGFA, in March 2013, estimated the cost from FY2015 to 2045 to be $375 billion (or about $100 billion more - after everything that has happened since 1995, recessions, benefit changes, pension holidays, etc.).

    This deal cuts $160 billion - so the remaining cost to the State is $60 billion LESS than the original 1995 Pension Ramp plan was intended to cost back when it was passed.

    I think they overshot their “savings” and should have targeted $100 billion. Could end up hurting the effort.


  60. - Wensicia - Wednesday, Nov 27, 13 @ 2:08 pm:

    Quinn: “We have more work to do.”

    We??!


  61. - Capitol View - Wednesday, Nov 27, 13 @ 2:10 pm:

    there still is the issue of reliance … the courts and public opinion will demand that current and soon to be retirees be largely protected from harm other than diminished COLAs,while the unions (but not so much the courts or voters) will be angry that current employees get flipped over.


  62. - Pete - Wednesday, Nov 27, 13 @ 2:11 pm:

    Is the plan for the Senate to vote down the House proposal and tell the media that it doesn’t go far enough? Or is that just the plan for ethics in Illinois?


  63. - suburban viewpoint - Wednesday, Nov 27, 13 @ 2:13 pm:

    The reason it matters to Rauner is simple - a pension deal is a big win for Quinn. Rauner may try to deny him that victory, but Madigan is extremely hard to deny, and Madigan timed it perfectly for his own ends….Will be interesting to see how quickly courts rule on this. If litigation on its constitutionality drags on past November, it still counts as potent electoral ammo for Quinn and Dem caucuses.


  64. - Pete - Wednesday, Nov 27, 13 @ 2:13 pm:

    Has the state paid the backwages yet?


  65. - facts are stubborn things - Wednesday, Nov 27, 13 @ 2:15 pm:

    @Dan - Wednesday, Nov 27, 13 @ 1:51 pm

    I do not know, but would suspect so. I beleive, if I have it correct, that Cullerton was insisting on the use of the full CPI to try and pass constitutional muster. If that is correct then I assume the compounding would remain. I wonder if they will cap the CPI? I am just basing this on MJM interview where he said he combinded Cullerton needing “full CPI” and Republicans needing more on contributions etc. Speculation for now, but will be interesting when the details come out.


  66. - thechampaignlife - Wednesday, Nov 27, 13 @ 2:16 pm:

    Too bad they couldn’t include a permanent 5% income tax in the deal. That’ll be the next big fight. Well, there’s always the capital bill.


  67. - AFSCME Steward - Wednesday, Nov 27, 13 @ 2:18 pm:

    This whole timing is very supicious. Madigan & Cullerton are at complete odds in May. Cullerton passes a union backed bill in the Senate. Madigan refuses to call the Senate bill. Cullerton orchestrates a overwhelming defeat of Madigan’s bill. Suddenly, when its too late for the unions and retirees to enter candidates in the primary, the leaders come to agreement with a plan that sounds very close to SB1. The entire rift between Madigan & cullerton was a game. It was planned. Was an unconstitutional bill part of the plan by Madigan to take the pressure off the Governor & legislators and give the headache to the courts ? I think we shall soon see.


  68. - Earl Shumaker - Wednesday, Nov 27, 13 @ 2:20 pm:

    Just Me- I, too find it insulting when legislators champion the Open Meetings Act and then they themselves meet in privacy in making decisions that will impact not their lives and their own families’ lives, but the lives of thousands of state retirees and their families.

    I guess this once again shows that Democratic leaders Madigan and Cullerton and Republican leaders Radogno and Durkin really do not care about a democratic society.

    Not a surprise since with this so-called “pension reform” proposal that also don’t take seriously their oath to defend and protect the US and Illinois Constitutions

    but the GA’s Leaders can meet in secret for months and then do secret caucus discussions too.


  69. - AFSCME Steward - Wednesday, Nov 27, 13 @ 2:20 pm:

    Some employees received all of the FY13 back pay & some of the FY12. Many employees still haven’t received any of the money owed them.

    “Has the state paid the backwages yet?”


  70. - Ghost - Wednesday, Nov 27, 13 @ 2:31 pm:

    The GA pension formula is not the same as most state employees. most state employees have to work 30 years min, currently, to try and clear an annual pension of half what they make. And its based on their 4 highest paid years of the last 10. and they have to work full time.

    The GA pension is based on 80% of their last day pay, no averaging over the last 10 years. and they only have to work something like 20 years to max it. That last day sweetner means if they can get a comittee pay bump or bumps it really ups their retirment payment. Plus they dont have to work full time hours!

    I bet no where in this pension fix are they tossed into the normal pension where they dont get last day pay, have to avergae slaary, work 30 years and come in around 50%.

    Its easy to cut benefits when your own start way out of whack. heck madigan will take home a hundred grand a year when he retires… he average state employee will get 30…. If madigans take home was 30 this would have been a different bill.


  71. - foster brooks - Wednesday, Nov 27, 13 @ 2:34 pm:

    What i dont understand is Madigan & cullerton have publicly stated that any pension changes to existing public employees/retired was unconstitutional.


  72. - Curmudgeon - Wednesday, Nov 27, 13 @ 2:34 pm:

    I’m waiting for Quinn or one of the “leaders” to say “If you like your pension plan, you can keep your pension plan …”


  73. - Nearly Normal - Wednesday, Nov 27, 13 @ 2:36 pm:

    So, are the judges in this? If not, why would they get to keep their pension intact while we all take such a hit? And, please, all that gas about impartiality is just hot air.


  74. - UIC Guy - Wednesday, Nov 27, 13 @ 2:37 pm:

    The Trib story has this:
    ‘The cost-of-living adjustments would be altered “to be sure that the lower-paid, longest-serving employees have the biggest protection,” said Radogno. It would be largely patterned after a provision she pushed and was included in a bill that Speaker Michael Madigan passed in the House.’
    That makes it sound as if it’s not the CPI-based COLA that’s in the bill but rather the plan whereby a for each year of service a retiree gets 3% on $1,000, up to a maximum of the amount of the pension (not compounded). That’s a disaster for those with above-average pensions, and also for those who are not yet retired or expect to be retired for some time to come: the lack of compounding will make a big difference fairly quickly.


  75. - Rich Miller - Wednesday, Nov 27, 13 @ 2:39 pm:

    === why would they get to keep their pension intact while we all take such a hit?===

    For one, they have extra constitutional protection above and beyond state workers.


  76. - Rich Miller - Wednesday, Nov 27, 13 @ 2:40 pm:

    ===That makes it sound as if it’s not the CPI-based COLA that’s in the bill but rather the plan whereby a for each year of service a retiree gets 3% on $1,000,===

    If you subscribed, you woulda known that basic outline a couple three weeks ago.

    Just sayin…


  77. - Tsavo - Wednesday, Nov 27, 13 @ 2:45 pm:

    I thought Judges additional Constitutional protection applied only while they were in office.

    So if a Judge is now retired, should not his COLA also be reduced like other retirees?


  78. - Norseman - Wednesday, Nov 27, 13 @ 2:51 pm:

    Mason born, all Acts are severable unless it specifically states otherwise.


  79. - Cook County Commoner - Wednesday, Nov 27, 13 @ 2:52 pm:

    I just don’t see the legislature voting on meaningful reform. Yet. The US Census 2011 Annual Survey of Public Employment and Payroll, revised May 2013, shows Illinois has 565,983 full time and 223,235 part time state and local government workers. I don’t know how many pensioned retirees reside and vote in Illinois out of that group. Add in around 50,000 federal workers in Illinois plus an unknown number of federal retirees. And double those numbers to take into account spouses, significant others, kids, etc. who have an interest in someone’s pension, and you have one heck of a large group of voters. And you can supplement that number with parents who have kids in public schools who will vote whichever way the teachers tell them.
    With 7.3 million registered voters in Illinois and maybe a 60% turnout, any legislator who votes for pension reform could be toast, depending on local demographics. Regardless of whether reform affects only state workers, the locals know they’re next. This group will vote as a block.
    The one thing that could make this for real is the supposed “numbers” I kept hearing about from the special commission. Has the legislature seen realistic projections incorporating retirement rates, COLAs, revenue, market returns, life expectancies, state unemployment, state GDP, population in-flows and out-flows and probably dozens of other variables objective actuaries would utilize and consider on computers operated by non-politically aligned, private sector technicians?


  80. - Grandson of Man - Wednesday, Nov 27, 13 @ 2:55 pm:

    “Where was the Governor?”

    I heard he was doing a dry run of the video he wants to give the unions, to try to endear himself to them again. I was told he practiced crying in a room full of onions. He is also trying to select a song to go with the video, perhaps something from Peter Cetera (he used to be real cool in early-mid Chicago), or Journey, like “Open Arms,” or whatever that song is called.


  81. - Mason born - Wednesday, Nov 27, 13 @ 2:57 pm:

    Norseman

    Thanks for the info on severability. Since IMHO the only thing that appears to not violate the constitution is the defined contribution Option this seems like an expensive way to get something that should have been offered in contract talks.


  82. - Former Merit Comp Slave - Wednesday, Nov 27, 13 @ 3:05 pm:

    Being newly retired I’ve been reading every story I can find and I’m noticing a common theme whenever anyone quotes Madigan…….he seems to be saying he’s not sure if the votes are there. That jumped out at me. If Madigan wanted it he would be sure the votes were there


  83. - Precinct Captain - Wednesday, Nov 27, 13 @ 3:06 pm:

    ==I guess this once again shows that Democratic leaders Madigan and Cullerton and Republican leaders Radogno and Durkin really do not care about a democratic society.==

    The founders were real democratic when they engineered a constitution with shut windows and the drapes drawn. The point is that closed door negotiations are not inherently undemocratic.


  84. - dupage dan - Wednesday, Nov 27, 13 @ 3:10 pm:

    So, this breakthrough occurred with the 4 legislative leaders? What happened to the blue ribbon committee that was still awaiting the actuaries opinion on their latest proposal? Did MJM get impatient with their (lack of) progress? All mention of that blue ribbon committee disappeared after MJM took the reins. This is gonna pass, no doubt. Then it’s off to the courts.


  85. - Precinct Captain - Wednesday, Nov 27, 13 @ 3:11 pm:

    ==If Madigan wanted it he would be sure the votes were there==

    This is a complex issue and Madigan knows that. If something was guaranteed, he would guarantee it. It’s not, so he won’t.


  86. - Irish - Wednesday, Nov 27, 13 @ 3:12 pm:

    If this is a special session after the veto session and the bill does not call specifically for immediate implementation what would the ordinary effective date be?
    Should one assume that to make sure it passes they would make it a simple majority bill which would make the effective date next June?

    I am wondering about the timing of this sudden action. Is it to take this issue off the table for upcoming elections?
    Would Madigan want to help Quinn that much against Rauner by eliminating this issue?
    Or is it to help his mushrooms that are up for re-election? Are there that many seats threatened?
    Or is it to put the issue in front of the courts now so if it is ruled unconstitutional before the GA has to make the tax increase permanent he can blame the public employees. And state that his hands are tied by the courts not allowing pension reform and the tax increase is necessary to fund those pesky pensions.
    Or all of the above.

    I know this has been work in progress for a while but it seems odd that all of a sudden items that seemed insurmountable and positions that were held onto dearly by certain players now seem to be not so important.

    It almost seems as though passing the Gay Marriage bill showed the GA that by george they could accomplish something.


  87. - cod - Wednesday, Nov 27, 13 @ 3:18 pm:

    $160 B in savings means a cut in contractually earned pension benefits of the same amount.

    How can that possibly meet the standards of the constitution?


  88. - doomed in illinois - Wednesday, Nov 27, 13 @ 3:18 pm:

    I have seen comments along the lines of “Accept changes now or risk getting nothing.” I have thought long and hard about that. It is a legitimate point. I cannot stop thinking though, if they get away with this one, what’s to stop them from doing it again. “Yes, we guaranteed in the Constitution not to diminish your benefits, but this time we REALLY REALLY PROMISE”


  89. - Ruby - Wednesday, Nov 27, 13 @ 3:20 pm:

    == I am wondering about the timing of this sudden action. Is it to take this issue off the table for upcoming elections? ==

    This is Illinois. You have good reason to think that this action is about the upcoming election.


  90. - Buzzie - Wednesday, Nov 27, 13 @ 3:20 pm:

    Just asking—–based on the state’s constitutional “contract” wording, if the Illinois Supreme Court ruled in favor of the new legislation could that ruling be appealed to the federal court as a diminishment of a “contractual” agreement?


  91. - Norseman - Wednesday, Nov 27, 13 @ 3:23 pm:

    === For one, they have extra constitutional protection above and beyond state workers. ===

    Only because they sit in judgment on the constitutionality of the changes. Their protection is limited to their “tenure” as judges. It could be argued that a retired judge doesn’t have a tenure.

    Of course, it’s my position that all our benefits are clearly protected under the constitution.


  92. - truthteller - Wednesday, Nov 27, 13 @ 3:33 pm:

    If you are a pensioner/Union and believe the Courts will overturn this and protect you, is that because you have confidence the Speaker put together a purposely unconstitutional bill and has “indicated” his approval to that finding by the judiciary as a means to protect D’s in the 2014 election cycle and then Unions and state employees when deemed unconstitutional after the election? If not, why would a judiciary in this state go against legislation crafted, approved and whipped by the Speaker?


  93. - The DuPage Bard - Wednesday, Nov 27, 13 @ 3:37 pm:

    Don’t want to sound harsh but who would retire when they have 3 kids going into college? When you retire all major expenses should be done-kids gone, house nearly paid off etc.
    Retirement is retirement. Why would you leave your job and take a pay cut when you know there is this big bill coming?


  94. - walkinfool - Wednesday, Nov 27, 13 @ 3:44 pm:

    ====We Are One Coalition: “Unions … were not included in the Leaders’ talks.” ====

    Why on Earth would anyone expect they would be? or should be?

    Unions are not the elected leaders of our state government.

    ==== “timing of this sudden action” ====

    after multiple committees and many meetings, two years of arguments, test votes on bills, two failed deadlines, editorials, speeches.

    “Oh my God, they’re jamming it through at the last minute.”

    Same old complaints, by those whose demands were heard, but not completely met.


  95. - Soldier of Fortune - Wednesday, Nov 27, 13 @ 3:58 pm:

    The silence you hear are the feet of public employees and families who have both supported and labored in the precincts. GOTV? Not this time.


  96. - catrike - Wednesday, Nov 27, 13 @ 4:03 pm:

    “You can rely on the courts if you want but I get the feeling that that won’t go too well.”

    You are correct sir. The courts will be loath to overturn this solution to the state’s most pressing problem agreed to by both political parties.


  97. - AFSCME Steward - Wednesday, Nov 27, 13 @ 4:18 pm:

    catrike

    So the constitutionality of an issue is determined by the standard that both political parties agree. I guess we should just disband the courts.

    “You are correct sir. The courts will be loath to overturn this solution to the state’s most pressing problem agreed to by both political parties.”


  98. - annon - Wednesday, Nov 27, 13 @ 4:22 pm:

    Any state funding guarantee isn’t worth the toilet paper it is written on.


  99. - Rich Miller - Wednesday, Nov 27, 13 @ 4:24 pm:

    annon, allowing people to sue is a pretty good guarantee, if you ask me.


  100. - Illinoyed - Wednesday, Nov 27, 13 @ 4:36 pm:

    It sounds like they fixed the nominal vs. constant-dollars kink in Sen. Radogno’s original “$1000 x work-years” formula that UIG Guy pointed out would have eviscerated the COLA bases of anyone retiring 20-30 years from now.

    Now let’s hope they correctly account for teachers who moved to Illinois mid-career and traded (appropriately) their prior states’ service credits for Illinois TRS service years. Those need to be part of the “$1000 x work-years” formula too.

    I’m afraid there are more easily overlooked subtleties in this plan than the brains of four people can handle in the three weeks they’ve had since they took it over from the Conference Committee…


  101. - Tim Snopes - Wednesday, Nov 27, 13 @ 4:40 pm:

    People retire early, live longer and costs rise. Money does not grow on trees. We live in a transitional society. The vote on Tuesday (presuming there is one) will save the pensions. Sue til you’re blue in the face. If you want a pension, support the deal. If you want to throw caution to the wind, oppose the deal. Don’t count on another tax increase. That is all.


Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.


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        * Criminal States - National Review Online..
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