* The Chicago Tribune’s editorial board opines again today about pension reform, demanding that the Senate pass the House’s bill…
Nearly seven years after the first warning that state pension funds are hurtling toward insolvency, the Illinois Senate took a few minutes Thursday to raise the likelihood of that doomsday. With their vote to kill this year’s best pension reform bill, the senators deserve to spend the summer trying to explain why they spiked a plan projected to save taxpayers $187 billion-with-a-b — and to eliminate unfunded pension obligations of nearly $100 billion.
Thursday night’s show of failure, orchestrated by Senate President John Cullerton, could be reversed Friday. That would require Cullerton and House Speaker Michael Madigan, his fellow Chicago Democrat, to end a nasty spitting match.
* The SJ-R’s editorial board wants Speaker Madigan to call the Senate’s union-backed bill for a vote and forget about those three separate pension bills, which could be used to test the issue’s constitutionality…
The House has approved Madigan’s plan and sent it to the Senate, which has not voted on it. And the Senate has approved the Cullerton-backed plan and sent it to the House, which, you guessed it, has not voted on it. It’s gridlock, but there’s still time for lawmakers to find common ground.
Even after all the back and forth, Cullerton’s SB 2404 still appears to be the stronger legislation. The projected savings are significant. The plan has the backing of state workers and retirees who are being asked to share in the pain of pension reform. It is constitutionally sound, and it doesn’t potentially thrust added Social Security costs onto schools and other retirement systems already at a breaking point.
Forget about approving all or part of Madigan’s plan so it can be tested in a potentially lengthy court challenge. Pass the Cullerton plan now for the best, fairest and most logical shot at pension reform today.
* The Question: What should they do?…
1 - Should the Senate try again to pass the House pension reform bill?
2 - Should the Senate pass one or more of the three pension bills that the House passed earlier to test their constitutionality?
3 - Should the House call the Senate’s pension bill for a vote?
4 - Should both chambers find another way to reform pensions?
Take the poll and then explain your answer in comments, please.