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Cullerton won’t call pension bonding bill

Thursday, May 27, 2010 - Posted by Rich Miller

* The Senate might return this summer, apparently, but they are adjourning today without taking up the pension borrowing bill. From the Senate Democrats…

The Senate is returning to the floor to vote on the Emergency Budget Act, the McPier Trailer Bill and a list of other measures. The pension borrowing bill is not on that list.

President Cullerton supports the bill, but it is clear that there are not enough votes to pass it today.

Like last year’s pension borrowing solution, the Governor will need Republican support before the bill passes the Senate. A few House Republicans took responsible action on the borrowing bill, and we will need a similar number of Senate Republicans to support the measure here.

If there is evidence of Republican support in the next few weeks, President Cullerton is will reconvene the Senate this summer to pass the bill.

Senate President John Cullerton talked to reporters much earlier today about his problems passing the bill

* Speaking of pension bonds, Greg Blankenship sent me a couple of links today. First, this Illinois Policy Institute pension borrowing plan from January

Ask yourself this: If you were in charge of Illinois, would you take out a 10-year, $12 billion loan with strong provisions for quick payback in return for two things:

* tax rebates for Illinois families totaling $690 billion from 2021 to 2045; and

* a constitutionally-protected spending growth limit that reins in spending to the rate of inflation plus population and cannot be changed without voter approval?

This is the choice offered by implementing our Pension Funding and Fairness Act, in combination with the modest pension benefit reforms proposed by Governor Pat Quinn in 2009.

We think the choice is obvious. Do we stick with “business as usual” in Illinois and continue to bankrupt our state, or choose long-term, fiscally responsible programs that address the harsh realities facing our state? […]

True, our proposal reluctantly endorses borrowing. But it does so to address the real political and policy challenges facing Illinois in a proactive and practical way.

And the Illinois Policy Institute’s press release today on pension borrowing

The lack of leadership from elected officials in our state reared its ugly head again this week. Illinois will likely be stuck with another unbalanced budget this year, thanks in large part to two retiring Republican legislators.

Rep. Bill Black and Rep. Bob Biggins joined House Democrats in voting for a $3.7 billion borrowing plan to make the state’s annual pension payment. Instead of putting the pension contribution at the front of the payment line—where it belongs after years of neglect—and then allocating remaining resources to various programs, this plan takes the pressure off the General Assembly to balance the budget without gimmicks. This irresponsible borrowing package was such a bad idea that leaders had to bring it up for a vote twice in order to pass it.

Then again, maybe it is easier to stick the next generation with a bigger bill when you’re retiring from office and won’t have to deal with the consequences next year and thereafter. Unfortunately, taxpayers continue to pay the salaries of elected officials who choose punting the hard decisions until next year instead of rolling up their sleeves to do the job they were elected to do – even the ones retiring.

A loan to make pension payments and fund tax rebates is sound policy but a loan to make pension payments and avoid a tax increase while still making budget cuts is not?

* Meanwhile, Attorney General Lisa Madigan showed her tax returns to Greg Hinz

There wasn’t much in the reports — she and her husband have survived exclusively on her state pay and her husband’s sporadic income as an artist, paid their taxes and given a bit to charity — so there’s not much the public needs to know.

But that’s not the case all time, so the pressure will continue on, say, wealthy GOP gubernatorial candidate Jason Plummer to tell us how much he paid in taxes.


  1. - Rich Miller - Thursday, May 27, 10 @ 4:47 pm:

    Everybody go home or something? lol

  2. - sal-says - Thursday, May 27, 10 @ 4:48 pm:

    “* The Senate might return this summer, apparently, but they are adjourning today without taking up the pension borrowing bill.”


  3. - Rich Miller - Thursday, May 27, 10 @ 4:49 pm:

    If I don’t trim my beard my wife is gonna kill me.


  4. - CircularFiringSquad - Thursday, May 27, 10 @ 4:54 pm:

    Did anyone read John Kass today?
    He slides right by how Hooli the Assessor failed to put a million dollar house on the tax rolls what a bungle….Why was Hooli protecting this guy?

  5. - CircularFiringSquad - Thursday, May 27, 10 @ 4:57 pm:

    Capt Fax:
    Did you notice the bankrupt bunglers at the Trib want more bonuses, How much for the edit board boobs?

    Tribune Co. proposes another round of executive bonus payouts
    By: Lynne Marek May 27, 2010
    (Crain’s) — Tribune Co. has proposed paying managers and top executives as much as $42.9 million in additional bonuses, on top of $16.2 in such payments it requested earlier this week.

    Tribune on Wednesday asked U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Kevin Carey in Wilmington, Del., to approve the additional bonuses for 640 managers at the company’s newspapers, including the Chicago Tribune, and broadcast outlets, Bloomberg News reported.

    The company earlier this week asked for $16.2 million in incentive payments for 2009 performance under two compensation plans as part of a revised bankruptcy reorganization plan filed with the court.

    Some of Tribune’s executives, including CEO Randy Michaels, are eligible for payments under all three of the compensation programs, Bloomberg reported, citing the filings.

    Tribune didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment.

    The Chicago-based company expects to begin confirmation hearings on the bankruptcy reorganization plan in mid-August and emerge from Chapter 11 later this year. The plan is still subject to a creditor vote and court approval.

    The requests follow a payout of $42 million in February under bonus programs to top managers for work last year.

  6. - Montrose - Thursday, May 27, 10 @ 5:01 pm:

    So, the house did not pass the bill allowing them to skip the payment and the senate did not pass the bill allowing them to borrow to make the payment.

    I am speechless.

  7. - George - Thursday, May 27, 10 @ 5:02 pm:

    Give it up, Circular. You guys still have to battle with him even though he is retiring? Jeez.

  8. - George - Thursday, May 27, 10 @ 5:07 pm:

    However, on the Trib thing… Circular, you are welcome to continue… :)

  9. - George - Thursday, May 27, 10 @ 5:11 pm:

    A loan to make pension payments and fund tax rebates is sound policy but a loan to make pension payments and avoid a tax increase while still making budget cuts is not?

    Rich, I don’t think you read the whole thing…

    Your sentence should be: A loan, selling off the tollway, ignoring the deficit, and calculating inflation incorrectly to make pension payments and fund tax rebates (that are FIVE-TIMES the size of our current income tax revenue) is “sound policy” but a loan to make pension payments and avoid a tax increase while still making budget cuts is not?

    I was going to add the magic beans, but I think that is self-explanatory.

  10. - Excessively Rabid - Thursday, May 27, 10 @ 5:28 pm:

    Cut spending where you can, raise taxes as much as you can, no exceptions, no rebates, no cuts, and borrow what you have to to cover the difference for only as long as absolutely necessary, and no new spending for anything. OK, I can go home too. Oh wait, I am home.

  11. - RJW - Thursday, May 27, 10 @ 6:22 pm:

    Does anybody know if the Senate voted or is going to vote on the Emergency Budget Act?

  12. - How bout some adults in charge? - Thursday, May 27, 10 @ 6:27 pm:

    Does no one except me think the Senate adjourning is at least partly payback to Quinn for the McCormick AV veto?

    I would think Cullerton’s not in the mood for heavy lifting for the gov.

  13. - Gregor - Thursday, May 27, 10 @ 7:16 pm:

    Rich, I have your tonsorial solution:


  14. - steve schnorf - Thursday, May 27, 10 @ 9:50 pm:

    Rich, regarding IPI, I think the rebates are the “have your cake and eat it too” missing ingredient in anything being good public policy

  15. - Springfield Watcher - Thursday, May 27, 10 @ 10:10 pm:

    Can’t wait until November

  16. - Bubs - Thursday, May 27, 10 @ 10:28 pm:

    Thus is a set-up on the GOP. The Democrats have no intention of taking the fall alone, so they choose to fiddle while Illinois burns.

  17. - Lester Holt's Mustache - Thursday, May 27, 10 @ 11:27 pm:

    Yes, it’s all a big conspiracy to “set-up” the GOP. It has nothing at all to do with maybe ANYONE in the Senate GOP voting FOR anything! It also has absolutely nothing to do with the fact that republicans are against raising taxes, against borrowing, against cutting any program that could negatively affect republican districts, against just plain not making the pension payments, etc. etc. No, no, no. It’s all a huge set-up!

    Then again, if they actually did have the testicular fortitude to vote with democrats on anything, they’d be a “two-faced s.o.b.” according to Jim Sacia. And god knows they would only get confused if they follow the IPI. Conservative democrats vote with the republicans fairly often, so why do moderate republicans get eaten alive if they vote with democrats?

  18. - SouthernIL - Friday, May 28, 10 @ 5:49 am:

    Welp, folks, I just have to scratch my head! Are the Seante Repubs running around without their noses today?! Whatever happened to Approp. Staffs being able to do their job? Where’s their recommendations? Do they still do the “line by line item” research? Why is it that the Comptroller and Treasurer are not included in the “budget talks”? These two entities definitely see where the funds are/aren’t and responsible for releasing funds for payment. Seems the Leaders can’t bring a budget…any the table of acceptance. When is this ego trip going to end and really get down to business of considering the “needs of this State”? Realism? Reform? Two very good concepts, sad they will never be implemented because of selfishness and the almight election implications…well, November is going to prove to be a BIG! shake-up….for better or worse? That will remain to be seen.

  19. - wordslinger - Friday, May 28, 10 @ 7:08 am:

    Plummer’s going to have to surface at some point. Might as well get it done now. Don’t be surprised if you get a 4:45 p.m. call today to look at some tax returns, Rich.

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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