* Daily Herald…
Biss admitted he and others passed a flawed law in 2013 intended to reduce pension debt. The law was struck down in 2015 by the Illinois Supreme Court, which said raising the retirement age for younger employees, capping the salary eligible for a pension and limiting cost-of-living increases violated the state Constitution.
“The state’s got awful budget problems, and state pension debt is an awful part of it,” said Biss, a co-sponsor of the 2013 legislation. “I do think there was kind of an obsessive hysteria about it a few years ago that led a lot of people in the legislature, myself included, to act irresponsibly. That bill was unconstitutional.”
Biss says consolidating pension systems is one way to cut costs. Illinois “has 628 different pension systems,” Biss said. “For almost every community in the Daily Herald area there are two pension systems, one for police officers and one for firefighters … that are served by the same investment and legal consultants. We’ve built a system whose investment returns cannot be what they should be and that allow politically connected consultants to reach their hands into 628 different pockets and come out with taxpayer dollars.”
He also advocates allowing buyouts for pension plan participants.
* Daily Herald editorial…
State Sen. Daniel Biss of Evanston stopped in for an Editorial Board interview the other day to make his case for governor, and we will have more to say about that at a later time.
For now, though, we can’t resist sharing our fascination with his perspective on House Speaker Michael Madigan, the most powerful Democrat in Illinois.
His criticism of Madigan is at once sharp but also arms length. Such a curious combination. […]
Biss says that Rauner has shown that nuclear confrontation with Madigan is ineffective. If elected governor, he says, he will have to find a way to work with the Speaker.
With that in mind, Biss is careful about his rhetoric. His opposition to Madigan, he says, is not personal; it’s with the system.
* Wednesday Journal…
In response to a question, he bluntly criticized Michael Madigan, the powerful longtime speaker of the Illinois House of Representative, who also serves as the chairman of the state Democratic Party.
“Mike Madigan’s been there too long,” said Biss. “Mike Madigan is too powerful and that power has not been good for the state of Illinois.”
Madigan has been speaker of the House for all but two years since 1983.
“I think the problem with Speaker Madigan is that longevity,” Biss said. “He doesn’t really care about public policy; he’s interested in holding onto political power.” […]
“We are drifting toward plutocracy and that’s a problem,” Biss said. “It’s not what the state needs and it’s not what people want. People can weigh in on that in March.”