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Possible end game, while unions claim unintended problems with SB1

Thursday, May 30, 2013

* A few days ago, I told subscribers about the possibility that the Senate Democrats might hold a vote on the three smaller pension bills that passed the House back in March, rather than pass the bigger Madigan bill, SB!. Those three bills are now starting to move

Thursday is shaping up as a pivotal day in the Senate on pensions, with Cullerton saying he intends to survey his 40-member caucus on Senate Bill 1 and other pension-reform options

One of those options may involve three obscure bills that the House passed in March and that quietly began moving in the state Senate Tuesday evening.

Legislation to hike the retirement age for employees under 45, cap “pensionable” salaries at Social Security wages and delay when retirees can get compounding, annual cost-of-living increases was discharged from the Senate Assignments Committee.

The House passed all three bills in March in a series of test votes on pensions to gauge support for a comprehensive pension-reform package. The three bills contain key pieces of what eventually got put into Senate Bill 1, which has faced a flurry of intense union opposition.

“All legislative options for a comprehensive plan are being considered,” Cullerton spokeswoman Rikeesha Phelon told the Chicago Sun-Times Wednesday.

Expect a vote on SB1 as well, but Cullerton expects that one to die.

* Meanwhile, I told subscribers a little bit about this earlier today. Sun-Times

A House-passed plan that Speaker Michael Madigan has endorsed to fix Illinois’ nearly $100 billion crisis contains a flaw that could amount to a legislative stake-in-the-heart in the state Senate, the top Senate Democrat said Wednesday.

Senate President John Cullerton (D-Chicago) said the legislation contains a provision that eventually could leave retired suburban and downstate teachers with less in benefits than they are legally entitled to if they qualified for Social Security benefits, potentially forcing teachers and the school districts that employ them to begin paying into Social Security.

* The We Are One report relies on the Teachers Retirement System’s actuarial analysis. From the union report

Quotes from the TRS actuarial analysis and explanation follow:

“The Tier 1 employer normal cost is now negative.”

    • During her media availability, Rep. Elaine Nekritz characterized this as a good development for school districts, saying “[t]here would be no shift” if a TRS cost-shift bill passed.
    • This fails to recognize that TRS pensions would no longer qualify for a Social Security exemption. Far from paying nothing, under a TRS cost-shift, school districts would ultimately be on the hook to pay the employer’s portion (6.2%) of Social Security benefits.
    • Once school districts are required to pay Social Security taxes, this will almost certainly necessitate massive property tax increases across the state.
    • SB 1 would be the largest unfunded mandate imposed on school districts in history.

“The current proposal…creates a Social Security compliance issue for Tier 1 in addition to the existing issues for Tier 2.”

    • SB 1 creates the same problem in Tier 1 as exists in Tier 2 – an inadequate pension benefit structure.
    • Again, if SB 1 becomes law, school districts would eventually begin paying Social Security taxes because TRS pension benefits are too low to qualify for a Social Security exemption.
    • It is likely that the same problems for TRS will also affect SURS.

“SB 1 provisions result in Tier 1 and Tier 2 members paying for more than the cost of their benefits.”

    • The SB 1 pension cuts are so absurdly deep that workers would actually be paying more than what their pension benefit is worth.
    • This is more than just completely unfair. It is immoral and illogical. SB 1 creates a pension system that actually penalizes its members. The bill slashes pensions so aggressively that employees would face a monetary loss by being part of the pension system.
    • The bill goes to extremes to hurt working, middle-class families.

Discuss.

* Related…

* Senators expected to discuss pension plans

* Pension Solution Continues To Elude Legislators

- Posted by Rich Miller        

64 Comments
  1. - facts are stubborn things - Thursday, May 30, 13 @ 9:09 am:

    Pass SB 2404. Take up other issues such as cost shift, slow increase in retirement age, increased contributions seperatatly and let the SC rule on each element. Leave those already retired alone other then what is contained in SB 2404.


  2. - wordslinger - Thursday, May 30, 13 @ 9:12 am:

    Pension legislation has officially replaced utility legislation as the greatest cause of splitting headaches in Springfield.


  3. - Abe the Babe - Thursday, May 30, 13 @ 9:16 am:

    The potential for the SS exemption going away, if true, seems like a pretty big oversight for the house folks.


  4. - Bill - Thursday, May 30, 13 @ 9:17 am:

    Whoops!!!


  5. - Cassiopeia - Thursday, May 30, 13 @ 9:19 am:

    The Social Security flaw should give most Senators, even Republicans, sufficient cover to vote against SB1.

    Taking a vote that may result in local property tax increases is tailor-made for anti-incumbent campaign attacks. The ads will almost write themselves.


  6. - truthteller - Thursday, May 30, 13 @ 9:22 am:

    The Speaker is very careful and very crafty. He said he was going to shift the costs on to school districts. He didn’t say how, but if social security payments must be made, they will be made by the property taxpayers.
    Very clever move by the Speaker.


  7. - Loop Lady - Thursday, May 30, 13 @ 9:25 am:

    Has Madigan raised the white flag and indicated he will settle for less harsh options? Stay tuned campers…meat’s a-cookin’…teachers will not be pleased, I know they feel that they are being thrown to the wayside…


  8. - walkinfool - Thursday, May 30, 13 @ 9:29 am:

    =if true=

    Hundreds of highly interested advocates, lawyers, and “experts” have looked at this for months, and they discover this now?

    Note: these are “We Are One” claims and conclusions, not actually from the TRS actuarial report. Their claim about Tier 2 changes previously passed for future hires, is especially flimsy.


  9. - cod - Thursday, May 30, 13 @ 9:29 am:

    I see that Miller is the only writer who actually states who did the actuarial analysis (it is TRS). I have not been able to find out just who did the actuarial study that every news rag in the state has been touting and that Nekritz has been waving in the air the past week. Was it this TRS analysis or something prepared by Ty Fahner’s Club?


  10. - Downstater - Thursday, May 30, 13 @ 9:31 am:

    =Note: these are “We Are One” claims and conclusions, not actually from the TRS actuarial report. Their claim about Tier 2 changes previously passed for future hires, is especially flimsy. =
    I agree. We are One is all about the unions and not what is best for Illinois.


  11. - reformer - Thursday, May 30, 13 @ 9:33 am:

    I’d like to hear Nekritz’s response. Will her bill lead to mandatory Social Security coverage or not? Or doesn’t she know? If her answer is either “maybe” or “yes,” then Houston we have a problem.


  12. - archimedes - Thursday, May 30, 13 @ 9:34 am:

    The pension benefit has to be equal or better than the social security benefits for the State to waive participation in Social Security. With the very small COLA and the cap limits that are lower than social security - eventually the value of the benefit will be less than social security.

    At that point - both employees and the employer will have to pay social security 6.2% (employees will still have to pay the pension contribution of - for TRS - 11% in addition to the 6.2% FICA.

    Of course, the General Assembly could “sweeten” the pension at that point to keep it above the social security benefit minimum. But - that would erode the much touted “savings” of $187 billion over the next 30 years.

    SB2404 would not face this challenge. And - if there is a cost shift, would “top out” at 4.5% of salary for school districts. Significantly less than the 6.2% for social security….


  13. - phocion - Thursday, May 30, 13 @ 9:35 am:

    The union press release is so full of hyperbole that it’s difficult to believe the “facts” it presents. Regardless, one should consider the source when reviewing the TRS “study.”


  14. - Bill - Thursday, May 30, 13 @ 9:40 am:

    Go ahead, ignore the facts. Who cares about the unintended consequences? Just feed the blood lust and hurt people. That’s what you really want, isn’t it?


  15. - Bobbysox2005 - Thursday, May 30, 13 @ 9:44 am:

    - Downstater - Thursday, May 30, 13 @ 9:31 am:

    =Note: these are “We Are One” claims and conclusions, not actually from the TRS actuarial report. Their claim about Tier 2 changes previously passed for future hires, is especially flimsy. =
    I agree. We are One is all about the unions and not what is best for Illinois.
    ——–
    Not true. We Are One quoted the TRS Actuarial Analysis, regardless of what you think about Unions.

    And why you think that anything Unions want is not “best for Illinois” is beyond me. You may not agree with much of what Unions support, but do not condemn everything just because they support it. Remember weekends, 40-hour weeks, overtime, FMLA, child labor laws, etc.? Well, perhaps you oppose those too.


  16. - Anonymous 1 - Thursday, May 30, 13 @ 9:45 am:

    The pension funds, if they hadn’t been stolen, are actually looking to be quite a reasonable deal for taxpayers–costs are very cheap when you start talking about adding the cost of paying social security. So look who messed it all up! Can they all be more incompetent(while attacking the people who had nothing to do with this)?


  17. - reformer - Thursday, May 30, 13 @ 9:45 am:

    == “The Tier 1 employer normal cost is now negative.” ==

    This statement reflects how much of the cost of the unfunded liability would be shifted to employees.


  18. - cover - Thursday, May 30, 13 @ 9:45 am:

    If Senate President Cullerton believes that a reduction in pension benefits can only be done if “consideration” is offered to the affected employees/retirees, then how can he move on the 3 House bills? While their pension benefit reductions are not as harsh as SB1, they also offer no consideration.


  19. - Frenchie Mendoza - Thursday, May 30, 13 @ 9:46 am:

    Wow — if this isn’t “diminishment” or “impairment” — I don’t know what is.

    I mean, seriously: you get four supreme courties to uphold this? It would be a defining moment for Illinois. This is such a rapacious, despicable bill — it’s hard to put into words now. And it would be numbing — literally numbing — to hear a court say, “Sure, let’s go with it.”


  20. - Fred's Mustache - Thursday, May 30, 13 @ 9:49 am:

    === This fails to recognize that TRS pensions would no longer qualify for a Social Security exemption. Far from paying nothing, under a TRS cost-shift, school districts would ultimately be on the hook to pay the employer’s portion (6.2%) of Social Security benefits. ===

    Id like to see an explanation as to how this would be true. Can anyone find what a pension plan would have to be to do to qualify for the exemption?


  21. - lincolnlover - Thursday, May 30, 13 @ 9:51 am:

    Of course the We Are One coalition is about what’s best for the Unions!!! Union people are who they work for. Do you really think Ty Fahner has “the best interest of Illinois” at heart?


  22. - AFSCME Steward - Thursday, May 30, 13 @ 9:52 am:

    Another Madigan poison pill ?


  23. - reformer - Thursday, May 30, 13 @ 9:53 am:

    Frenchie:

    “the constitution is what the judges say it is.”
    – Charles Evans Hughes, former chief justice SCOTUS


  24. - walkinfool - Thursday, May 30, 13 @ 9:54 am:

    Archi: You could be theoretically correct, that given enough time, with an unusually low starting pension, that with lower COLAs the new pension could eventually be lower than an applicable SSN benefit. (I don’t think the cap will have much to do with it.)

    But for how many people? Would they have to be over 110 years old? Is this a real problem for real people, or just an attempted monkey wrench at the last minute?

    Would it really “erode the much touted savings of $187 billion”? By how much? Are we talking thousands or billions?


  25. - Annoyed - Thursday, May 30, 13 @ 9:56 am:

    =Note: these are “We Are One” claims and conclusions, not actually from the TRS actuarial report. Their claim about Tier 2 changes previously passed for future hires, is especially flimsy. =
    I agree. We are One is all about the unions and not what is best for Illinois.”

    And the GA has the best interests of Illinois in mind here?


  26. - CJA - Thursday, May 30, 13 @ 10:00 am:

    The pension cap in the three smaller bills along with the diminished COLA are what Cullerton did not like about SB1. Hard to believe he would put those up piecemeal when he has said those sort of elements may not hold against a court challenge.


  27. - biased observer - Thursday, May 30, 13 @ 10:05 am:

    it is curious that this “news” from a TRS study broke this morning, right before SB1 could potentially be voted upon. I don’t have first hand knowledge of the actuarial analyses, admittedly, but the timing sure seems suspicious. it would be a way to give senators cover to vote against SB1 the context of increasing general public support of pension reform. I would be curious to see a non-TRS evaluation of the “social security flaw.”

    regardless, another example of the GA being unable to solving pressing problems due to essentially political reasons. it really causes one to wonder about the process we have here in Illinois.


  28. - Bobbysox2005 - Thursday, May 30, 13 @ 10:06 am:

    Is there a link to the TRS Study somewhere?


  29. - Harry - Thursday, May 30, 13 @ 10:08 am:

    This same problem is intrinsic to all the Tier 2s and other than Nekritz’s bill trying to fix it (it’s that the CPI adjustment of the salary cap is too low and eventually it will force pension benefits to be less than SS, a Federal tax law violation–Tier 2 salary cap grows at 1/2 CPI-U with heh 3% cap, the SS Wage Base grows with CI-W) no one has tried to fix this. It has been known since 2010 a few months after PA96-0889 passed and TRS flagged it–but the leadership has just ignored it, maybe figuring they’ll fix it eventually.

    But there is no direct connection between emplyees paying more than their benefit is worth, and the IRS rule that a benefit has to at least equal SS–those are completely different under Federal law, tho the morality and State legality of the whole thing does stink.


  30. - Quiet Sage - Thursday, May 30, 13 @ 10:13 am:

    The Speaker will not be pleased (this is an understatement) by the bad actuarial advice he has received on this bill.


  31. - archimedes - Thursday, May 30, 13 @ 10:13 am:

    Harry 10:08AM.

    And to add to your point - when “they eventually fix it” the savings of $187 billion over the next 30 years will no longer be $187 billion.


  32. - biased observer - Thursday, May 30, 13 @ 10:16 am:

    just pop in last minute amendment stating that pension benefit could never be lower then SS equivalent or something along those lines.

    not the ideal way to do things in my book, but typical it seems for GA.


  33. - Tom S. - Thursday, May 30, 13 @ 10:16 am:

    The union talking points on the Soc. Sec. problem are over the top and obviously biased, so I’m having trouble buying it. But Nekritz’s statement about “zero costs” to the school districts is revealing. How can an employer have no costs? The very idea of a pension is employee and employer sharing costs…how can Senate Bill 1 + the “cost shift” undo that notion and not have Social Security pension waiver issues?

    Elaine, please explain!


  34. - facts are stubborn things - Thursday, May 30, 13 @ 10:17 am:

    I beleive this has to move to a point where both MJM and Cullerton can have a victory. MJM will be able to say he and the house leveraged the union to the table and Cullerton can say his plan is the only one to pass SC rule. Also MJM will use the pension plan as leverage on other issues yet resolved. If MJM gives too quickly on pensions he looses leverage.


  35. - Social Security - Thursday, May 30, 13 @ 10:20 am:

    Harry is right about this being known since 2010. Chris Wetterich wrote a good story on this.

    “In eight years, it’s possible that people - it’s probably more than probable - aren’t going to be accruing a benefit that would make the minimum,” said TRS general counsel Tom Gray. “The IRS and the Social Security Administration are going to be aware of it.

    http://www.pjstar.com/news/x1148223272/Teachers-may-need-Social-Security


  36. - biased observer - Thursday, May 30, 13 @ 10:23 am:

    Tom S,

    remember if there is a cost shift to local school districts, the employers (school districts) would have no choice as to whether to participate and to what degree. this really isn’t fair either. I actually think a cost shift should occur, but the local districts should have a say going forward as to whether to participate and to what degree.

    this would essentially be taxation without representation at the local.


  37. - wtf - Thursday, May 30, 13 @ 10:24 am:

    @CJA, how could Cullerton have been opposed to a cap on pensionable salaries when one of the “choices” in his plan contains a cap? He is just enamoured of the farce of claiming that “choice” is sufficient consideration for a constitutional modification of a contract. And those who are shocked here by the revelation that any of these plans will severely gut the money owed to employees needs to reacquaint themselves with the math of compounding. Oh, it’s only a percent or so … but over time that is devastating.


  38. - Anon. - Thursday, May 30, 13 @ 10:33 am:

    ==Hundreds of highly interested advocates, lawyers, and “experts” have looked at this for months, and they discover this now?==

    No, it’s just becoming public now.


  39. - Disgusted - Thursday, May 30, 13 @ 10:38 am:

    Biased Observer

    “just pop in last minute amendment stating that pension benefit could never be lower then SS equivalent or something along those lines.”

    This is the same kind of deep thinking and last minute legislation that has gotten us into this mess! Admit it, the whole concept is to pass the buck and find a way to welch on a valid contract, regardless of the impact on those who paid their share!


  40. - Calm down - Thursday, May 30, 13 @ 10:39 am:

    The union report is based on the same TRS analysis that Nekritz used. It’s not some grand coincidence or conspiracy, folks - she just didn’t highlight the parts that hurt her case. Maybe fatally.


  41. - mr. whipple - Thursday, May 30, 13 @ 10:40 am:

    And perhaps this turn of events, if accurate, doesn’t bother the Speaker one bit. He has played the role of responsible adult, telling the state to take its medicine and winning hearts and flowers from the Trib and others who demand fiscal responsibility. No wild-eyed spender is this Democrat Speaker!

    And what passes are three bills that, magically, come from the august deliberations of the House, winning bipartisan support.

    Something has been accomplished on pensions, though arguably not enough, the Senate signs off yet again on the House-generated resolution of a difficult issue and none of the Dem constituencies go away unhappy.

    Madigan strikes again?


  42. - Obamas Puppy - Thursday, May 30, 13 @ 10:41 am:

    OOOPS, prepare yourself for another hastily put together press conference just to “let you know what the deal is” according to the Speakers office.


  43. - RNUG - Thursday, May 30, 13 @ 10:42 am:

    Not that it matters to this steamroller effort, but nothing being advanced (except the normal cost shift to the school districts) passes constitutional muster when compared to the previous rulings of the IL SC.

    If something gets passed, everyone will claim victory and go home … leaving it to the courts to sort it all out in a couple of years.

    I’m often wrong, but I don’t think anything substantial will get passed in the regular session. I expect, after a contentious special session, the temp tax increase will be made permanent (so we don’t go off the revenue cliff) after new “studies” supporting that position.

    And we’ll be right back here in the same mess arguing again about the wrong policy issues in about 2 years…


  44. - Norseman - Thursday, May 30, 13 @ 10:42 am:

    Is it really that hard to believe that after screwing up tier 2 that they would then make a mistake in changing tier 1.


  45. - Harry - Thursday, May 30, 13 @ 10:47 am:

    Archimedes–

    Yes–and when they fix Tier 2, as tehy eventually will have to, that will INCREASE the projected actuarial cost.

    The problem in SB1 seems 2-fold–the inadequate adjustment in the pay cap AND the SB1 COLA formula is SO small that depending on how fast SS inflation runs, the inflation-adjusted SS benefit can eventually outrun the IL pension benefit. But that will only apply to those already retired, no longer accruing benefits, and it’s unclear how the IRS requirement that an employee accrue benefits at least equal to SS would apply.

    This has become a total mess and everyone involved ought to be horsewhipped. You can’t deal with something as big and complicated as pensions with back-room deals that keep interested parties with key information (like the Systems) out of the loop until too late.


  46. - Harry - Thursday, May 30, 13 @ 10:47 am:

    Norseman-

    believe it


  47. - biased observer - Thursday, May 30, 13 @ 10:54 am:

    unfortunately, I tend to agree with RNUG that nothing substantial will probably be passed on pension reform, and in about 2 years, when things are even worse from a fiscal perspective, we will be having same discussion. the politics of this situation are stupefying.

    I disagree with most on this site insofar as I think the major roadblocks to pension reform have very little to do with constitutionality or fairness (that would actually be great in my book) and much more to do with political PALATABILITY.

    this will play out based upon how much groundswell continues to develop across the general public of Illinois in support of pension reform vs the activities of a minority of highly vocal and highly organized stateworkers, teachers, etc.

    but like, RNUG, I am often wrong. and though I hate to admit, I am probably wrong more often than RNUG, who I find very well informed, even though we see things a bit differently.


  48. - JohnTwig - Thursday, May 30, 13 @ 10:57 am:

    To see the history of State of Illinois employees and Social Security go to:
    https://secure.ssa.gov/poms.nsf/lnx/0301505001

    Illinois public employees are excluded from Social Security by means of a “Section 218 Agreement” between the State and the Federal Government. A good description of what the State’s responsibilities are can be found in this power point presentation. See particularly slides 16 and 17.
    http://www.ssa.gov/section218training/documents/Resource_3.ppt


  49. - Soccertease - Thursday, May 30, 13 @ 10:59 am:

    What other unintened consequences are out there? The last week of the session is a scary time. Cross your fingers!


  50. - Roadiepig - Thursday, May 30, 13 @ 11:10 am:

    It seemed fishy when Nekritz said yesterday that the eventual cost of the funding to the school districts would be zero. How this could happen would only be one way- if he entire cost of the pension was the responsibility of he employees with n o contribution on from the school districts. Over time that would have to lead it to be less valuable than simple social security, causing it to run afoul with the Feds.

    As usual it’s just ” let’s pass something-anything- ,say we fixed the problem , get our pat on the head from the CCC, and get the heck out of Springfield .” No wonder our government here in Illinois is the laughing stock of the nation.


  51. - lincolnlover - Thursday, May 30, 13 @ 11:13 am:

    Please remember that a substantial number of state employees DO contribute to social security. Currently, I pay 6 and 1/2 percent to SS and 4% to SERS. I don’t know what the distinction is, but, I do know that if everyone were forced to pay almost 11% of their salary upfront to retirement funds, there would be many more wealthy retirees. I earned it. I paid it. Its mine - hands off!


  52. - titan - Thursday, May 30, 13 @ 11:32 am:

    === - biased observer - Thursday, May 30, 13 @ 10:54 am:
    I disagree with most on this site insofar as I think the major roadblocks to pension reform have very little to do with constitutionality or fairness (that would actually be great in my book) and much more to do with political PALATABILITY.
    this will play out based upon how much groundswell continues to develop across the general public of Illinois in support of pension reform vs the activities of a minority of highly vocal and highly organized stateworkers, teachers, etc. ====

    Biased Observer - Many of the folk here (whom you’ve been arguing so vociferously with of late) seem to have been making the palatability point from the start. Fixing the state’s fiscal woes will require sticking it to someone(s). The only someones politically palatable to stick it too are the employees/pensioners.


  53. - RNUG - Thursday, May 30, 13 @ 11:33 am:

    lincolnlover @ 11:13 am:

    When talking about the pensions, SERS is a minority in the discussion. The elephant in the room is TRS, closely followed by part of SURS, and those groups don’t pay into SS.


  54. - archimedes - Thursday, May 30, 13 @ 11:42 am:

    From the State’s persepctive. They are looking to reduce their costs. We already know that Tier 2 employees will likely fall below the social security minimum equivalent by about 2019 (Tom Gray TRS council). SB0001 outs Tier 1 in the same boat.

    Why would the State care if the local school district and the employee have to pay into social security? That extra cost isn’t State money.

    No one knows how the IRS and Social Security will deal with this - since it has never happened. Will the entire plan members revert to social security? Will only the members who have reached the point where their particular pension benefit is lower than social security revert to social security?

    It would seem to be better to avoid the issue all together and make sure that plan benefits (salary caps and COLA’s) are indexed (like social security) to avoid this. But - if you do that, you lose a BIG part of SB0001 savings.


  55. - Bill - Thursday, May 30, 13 @ 11:45 am:

    BO,
    The only groundswell is in your mind. People don’t want their kids’ teacher to get her benefits cut.


  56. - LINK - Thursday, May 30, 13 @ 11:52 am:

    Bill et al.

    Any movement on HB212, Amendment 2?


  57. - JohnTwig - Thursday, May 30, 13 @ 12:08 pm:

    Some thoughts on the current “pension mess”.

    For the most part, it seems to me that followers of this blog are intelligent, well spoken and (mostly) have keen analytic skills. As a 20-year retiree under both SURS and TRS I have long been bothered by the choice of language used in the media to describe our “pension problem”. First off, as a SURS retiree (the old Tier I, defined benefit plan) I can find nothing out of kilter with the plan’s structure and and actuarial soundness. For those of you interested, take a look at http://illinoissqueezy.com/index.html This is a basic model of how the SURS Tier I plan is designed. Check out the math.

    Back to language. It seems to me that, in plain English, “pension reform” is code for “pension reduction”. Another term that irks me, “unfunded pension liability”. Let’s call it what it is: “the contractual debt the state (taxpayers) owes its current and past workers.

    Next we come to competing “pension reduction” bills that propose to save taxpayers money. Of course, this “taxpayer savings” is really the amount the competing bills plan to default on the contractual debt owed current an past state workers.

    As I implied, I respect the comments posted on this blog – so help me better understand this situation.


  58. - reformer - Thursday, May 30, 13 @ 12:23 pm:

    == Admit it, the whole concept is to pass the buck and find a way to welch on a valid contract, regardless of the impact on those who paid their share! ==

    Thanks to those who call a spade a spade.


  59. - east central - Thursday, May 30, 13 @ 12:27 pm:

    Is it possible that Cullerton might move to pass the 3 House pension smaller bills but he expects them to be thrown out by the courts? If SB1 dies in the Senate, then the House would be under pressure to pass SB2404 to complete the set of pension measures. Because the 3 smaller bills are separate there is no need for severability clauses in a package bill.


  60. - RNUG - Thursday, May 30, 13 @ 12:28 pm:

    JohnTwig @ 12:08 pm:

    Your summary is pretty much on target.

    For what it is worth, the state retirees pretty much lost the perception / public relations battle several years ago when the CCC and other groups started the attacks and the various union organizations sat on their hands and did nothing at that time to counter it.

    Specifically to the issue, the State has a fundamental revenue problem no one is willing to address because it will result in GA members losing their seats for voting for a major tax increase.

    -biased observer- got it right when he talked about the fact this is all about political realities. If it was just about the math, it could be fixed.

    Yes, this will affect a lot of us personally. But try to keep it in perspective and keep your sense of humor. Also, the GA won’t have the last word, the courts will.

    Remember, Illinois politics is a great spectator sport!


  61. - Anon. - Thursday, May 30, 13 @ 12:57 pm:

    JohnTwig @ 12:08
    “Another term that irks me, ‘unfunded pension liability’. Let’s call it what it is: ‘the contractual debt the state (taxpayers) owes its current and past workers FOR SERVICES THEY ALREADY PERFORMED.’”

    Just to make it clear.


  62. - redleg - Thursday, May 30, 13 @ 3:40 pm:

    “keep your sense of humor”.
    Agreed and if I may add to that, an even thicker skin. Our elected politicians are a direct indictment of our overall society and as for the courts, I’ve never trusted a glorified attorney to do be just and fair where money and politics are part of the decision. It’s all a question mark right now but the only certainty is in 10 - 15 years alot of us will be deceased.

    Those behind us better start growing a thick skin right now.


  63. - RNUG - Friday, May 31, 13 @ 8:04 am:

    lincolnlover @ 11:13 am:

    I should have answered you in more detail yesterday. By total membership (active plus retiree or survivor for FY12E):

    TRS - 62.1%
    SURS - 23.0%
    SERS - 14.5%
    JRS - 0.3%
    GARS - 0.1%


  64. - マークバイマークジェイコブス Classic Q 財布 - Saturday, Jun 1, 13 @ 9:37 am:

    マークバイマークジェイコブス Classic Q
    財布
    I enjoy reading through a post that will make men and women think.
    Also, many thanks for allowing for me to comment!


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* Pritzker's inauguration ball tix will benefit Cabrini Green Legal Aid Clinic and Illinois Fairgrounds Foundation
* Rauner claims he's been too busy to reflect on his term
* Pritzker's day in DC
* *** UPDATED x3 - Morrison wants emergency meeting of ILGOP - McConnaughay explains - Schneider responds *** Rauner says he tried to drop out of race after primary
* Feds re-raid Ald. Burke's office
* *** LIVE COVERAGE ***
* Yesterday's stories

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