* As I told subscribers on Friday, House Speaker Michael Madigan has introduced an amendment to do away with government subsidies for state and university retiree health insurance…
Legislation to do away with the health insurance premium subsidy available to state retirees opens a new front in the battle between legislators determined to cut the state’s retirement debt and unions representing state workers.
“It would wipe out retiree health care entirely for retired state employees,” said Anders Lindall, spokesman for the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, the largest public worker union.
The amendment to Senate Bill 1313 would eliminate subsidies for health insurance for retirees. Instead, the Department of Central Management Services would determine how much the state would contribute to “the basic program of group health benefits on behalf of retired employees, annuitants and survivors.” […]
“This is another place where the state is spending money and it’s important as we go through the whole budget debate to look at each one of these situations and determine if that is the best way to go forward,” said Madigan spokesman Steve Brown.
The subsidy is essentially written into the union’s contract, but that contract expires this year and doing away with the subsidy would likely kill it off.
* Related and a roundup…
* ‘A lot of angst’ among teachers over pensions: Most details about the plan are unclear at this point, but the most worrisome part of the proposal for teachers is a provision that would require educators to be 67 years old in order to retire with full pension benefits.
* School officials decry Quinn’s pension-shifting plan
* Finke: A little of the old Quinn surfaces in pension talks
* Pension presentation in Naperville draws hundreds of suburban teachers: “I think it’s fair to say there’s a lot more work to be done,” Ingram said. “There’s a lot of conversations that still need to take place. This is nowhere close to being a done deal right now. We’re going to be sorting it out over the next six weeks, or perhaps longer.”
* Gov. Pat Quinn’s pension reform ideas are a ‘big deal’ for unions
* Zorn: Quinn rebooted
* Illinois State Museum faces financial crisis: The Illinois State Museum might have to close one of its six sites — or push for an entrance fee — if its finances don’t improve.
* State Legislators Question State Officials on Animal Disease Lab Closure: “I’m against all the closures because after all is said and done, I think the total amount of dollars that we’re going to earn by closing is $100 million. What is $100 million in jobs, and making things unsafe, and not being able to set the services for the people of this state, for them to come here, to come back home, and for us to run and take our test out of the state, and on and on, it’s just kind of like a circle”, said Cavaletto.
* Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn says Gov. Scott Walker’s budget increases property taxes by $500 billion
* 2 more Illinois counties can allow courtroom cameras