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Quinn budget office walks back pension funding shift stories

Wednesday, Feb 1, 2012

* For weeks now, Gov. Pat Quinn and his staff have been saying that he believes more of the burden for pension funding ought to be paid by local school districts. For instance, this is from Monday

Gov. Pat Quinn, responding to a dire new report on state finances Monday, said more clearly than ever that he wants schools and universities to help pay for their employees’ retirement costs.

A statement from Quinn’s budget office said the practice of state government paying for the retirement of downstate teachers and professors “requires careful examination and reform” because “employers need to have a stake in funding their own employees’ pension costs.” [Emphasis added.]

Also, recently

“Everyone who has employees in the pension system should contribute something to the pensions,” Quinn said.

* But Kurt Erickson reports today that the same budget office which has been talking openly about the idea is now starting to walk it back

It appears unlikely Gov. Pat Quinn will push hard this spring to shift some of the state’s skyrocketing pension costs off on local school districts and universities.

A top official in the governor’s budget office downplayed Quinn’s recent comments on such a move, which school districts say could either trigger massive cuts in local school programs or force downstate and suburban districts to seek property tax increases.

Kelly Kraft, deputy director of the Governor’s Office of Management and Budget, said the idea is “a concept” at the moment.

“This is just something we’re taking a look at,” Kraft said.

[Sigh.]

* Related…

* Candidates for Illinois House, Senate back school funding shift: Candidates also said they opposed the idea of shifting the burden from the state and asking local taxpayers to fully fund teacher pensions. T

* Proposal To Shift Teacher Pension Contributions

* Editorial: Brace yourself for a new tax hit

- Posted by Rich Miller        

8 Comments
  1. - AC - Wednesday, Feb 1, 12 @ 9:18 am:

    Raising revenue is clearly part of the solution, but getting anything done requires more than a speech. Is there any indication that Quinn will be more involved with the legislative process this year that he was last year?


  2. - dupage dan - Wednesday, Feb 1, 12 @ 9:34 am:

    Our intrepid gov-lite, AKA “Walkin’ Tall Pat”, AKA “Quinn, Medicine Man”, AKA “The Rainmaker”, will stand tall, speak truth to power and fight the good fight even if it means throwing himself on the grenade of political reality.

    Or, he will take the phone calls and change his mind.


  3. - Pot calling kettle - Wednesday, Feb 1, 12 @ 9:37 am:

    This idea is unlikely to pass in an election year. School boards pass their budgets in August and September and work on their property tax levies starting in October. Exactly when the Reps and Sens do not want bad news about school budgets and property tax increases in the news.


  4. - Cal Skinner - Wednesday, Feb 1, 12 @ 9:41 am:

    Perhaps Mike Tryon’s bill to require tax bill reporting of pension payments by tax districts (read “schools”) will get some attention.

    39% of teachers do not contribute to their retirement, according to a study by former Huntley School Board member Larry Snow. He actually looked at the contracts, rather than depending on what school districts told the State Bd of Ed.

    http://mchenrycountyblog.com/2012/01/31/tryon-to-go-head-to-head-with-teachers-unions-over-pension-source-revelation-on-tax-bills/


  5. - wordslinger - Wednesday, Feb 1, 12 @ 10:13 am:

    It’s way early, but I wouldn’t count on anything regarding taxes in an election year anyway.


  6. - mark walker - Wednesday, Feb 1, 12 @ 10:22 am:

    Quinn’s spokesfolks can walk it forward, walk it back, or moon walk, for all it matters. They still don’t know what Quinn will be thinking when it counts.


  7. - Yellow Dog Democrat - Wednesday, Feb 1, 12 @ 10:26 am:

    I wouldn’t read too much into Kraft’s comments. True, she didn’t commit to a policy change. But neither did the Governor, and neither for that matter has Madigan.

    Democrats have tipped their cards, I think they are probably waiting to hear back from the Republicans.

    Pot raises a good point though: as a matter of practicality, any changes are likely to be phased in between now and when the tax hike expires.

    Kraft is very good at her job. I’d recommend she steal a page from the White House and just go back to the core principle, rather than getting caught up [and sometimes ahead of your boss] in discussions about policy or implementation.

    Every notice how often Gibbs or Carney respond to a question with “The President believes…”?

    Works just as well at state government, and is critical for building public and lawmaker support…you have to get consensus on shared values and goals on big changes before you can start negotiating how they will be achieved.

    “The Governor believes that ‘Everyone who has employees in the pension system should contribute something to the pensions’ as a matter of principle, and I think most Illinoisans just think that’s common sense. GOMB is looking at various ways that goal can be achieved, and we welcome ideas from all across the state.”


  8. - TCB - Wednesday, Feb 1, 12 @ 11:07 am:

    Quinn has been slammed for changing his mind over the last couple years. It’s obvious that the information officers have taken note of that. Everything that comes out of GOMB these days is a “draft” or a “concept” or “work in progress’ or “in discussion” to protect Quinn from looking silly once again.


Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.


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