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Police poison pill puts Pritzker pension consolidation bill in jeopardy

Tuesday, Nov 12, 2019

* Hannah Meisel with the scoop

The Illinois Municipal League told its members Tuesday morning it may no longer be in support of a bill that would partially consolidate 649 downstate and suburban police and firefighter pension funds — a bill it helped to write — because of a provision inserted into the bill on Monday.

An amendment to SB 1300 filed Monday reflects an agreement made with the Illinois Fraternal Order of Police late Friday, which should have sealed the deal on the bill — one Gov. JB Pritzker indicated was his number one priority for Veto Session.

But in a memo sent to its members Tuesday morning, the Illinois Municipal League said the amendment, filed by State Rep. Jay Hoffman (D-Swansea) would make it easier for police officers and firefighters to claim disability, which could add extra burdens to municipalities’ budgets if it were abused.

The amendment includes a provision that league officials said would change the longstanding practice of allowing municipalities to intervene if it believes a police officer or firefighter’s claim for permanent disability and pension payouts is invalid or deficient.

Instead, league officials said the new language introduced Monday would not allow for any review by the municipality, and the exclusive power to grant disability claims would lie with the local pension boards.

* From an IML press release…

SB 1300 has now strayed from solely addressing pension investment reforms and seriously jeopardizes IML’s ability to work in good faith with other involved entities. […]

At this critical point in the process, IML is actively seeking to correct the overreaches put forward in the new proposed legislation. If IML is unable to refocus the General Assembly on the primary issue of protecting taxpayer funds through the elimination of duplicative fund administration and burdensome, costly mandates, all of which would be addressed through common sense solutions involving consolidation, it is unknown how things will end this week or if a beneficial resolution will develop.

I’m told a lot of mayors are hopping mad about this. I’m also told to expect a response soon from the governor’s office, which negotiated the language with the coppers.

…Adding… Rep. Hoffman says he wasn’t in the meeting when the language was changed and said he’s trying to fix the problem today.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

32 Comments
  1. - TheInvisibleMan - Tuesday, Nov 12, 19 @ 1:42 pm:

    Can we please stop letting the police write laws?

    If the police want to write legislation, let their members run for office on these platforms.


  2. - west wing - Tuesday, Nov 12, 19 @ 1:44 pm:

    Shame on Jay Hoffman. That’s ridiculous. That’s one of the reasons the pension policies have sunk the budget over the last 40 years — sneaking provisions like that into law.


  3. - Lurker - Tuesday, Nov 12, 19 @ 1:44 pm:

    ooh, ooh, lemme try:

    Police poison pill perils Pritzker pension program.


  4. - low level - Tuesday, Nov 12, 19 @ 1:49 pm:

    Maybe put Hoffman’s amendment on another bill and let the pension consolidation and the police language get seperate votes?


  5. - Moody's Blues - Tuesday, Nov 12, 19 @ 2:16 pm:

    Hoffman obviously is working to get a pension reform amendment on the 2020 ballot.

    Every time taxpayers see this sort of gimmickry, they’re reminded that legislative pets of public employees unions never stop trying to even further rig the pension system against the rest of us.


  6. - Old Illini - Tuesday, Nov 12, 19 @ 2:17 pm:

    Police poison pill provision perils Pritzker pension program practice.


  7. - Oswego Willy - Tuesday, Nov 12, 19 @ 2:19 pm:

    === taxpayers===

    Policemen are taxpayers too…


  8. - City Zen - Tuesday, Nov 12, 19 @ 2:38 pm:

    All you fans of alliteration couldn’t fit “pork” in there?


  9. - TheInvisibleMan - Tuesday, Nov 12, 19 @ 2:48 pm:

    >>Policemen are taxpayers too…

    Not on their pension income they aren’t.


  10. - Oswego Willy - Tuesday, Nov 12, 19 @ 3:00 pm:

    Police officers are taxpayers.

    If you’re concern is that their job and your job has different retirement plans, then be a cop.

    Still, the fact that cops are taxpayers is still true.

    I’m done with that here.


  11. - R A T - Tuesday, Nov 12, 19 @ 3:08 pm:

    OW, let me tell you the story of the auto insurance executive that did not implement a plan that was going to pay him an annual bonus of $100,000 because he had auto insurance with his company and he did not want to pay an extra $100 annually. Never mind. Thinking it will never happen.

    As for the cop thing, I left when James Camp was killed, but thanks for the offer.


  12. - Oswego Willy - Tuesday, Nov 12, 19 @ 3:12 pm:

    - R A T -

    Be well.

    === Rep. Hoffman says he wasn’t in the meeting when the language was changed and said he’s trying to fix the problem today.===

    I’ll look forward to seeing what’s next.


  13. - Demoralized - Tuesday, Nov 12, 19 @ 3:22 pm:

    ==Not on their pension income they aren’t.==

    Nobody pays taxes on their pension income. Stop trying to pretend they are somehow different.

    ==against the rest of us.==

    Sigh. More us vs. them mentality. Nothing but whining.


  14. - the Edge - Tuesday, Nov 12, 19 @ 3:28 pm:

    this is the usual tactic, get state legislators to introduce items they can’t get through negotiation. State legislators fall for this all the time because the coppers and firemen promise to campaign for them. The Mayors are a more honest group (I know, out on a limb with that saying).


  15. - Sue - Tuesday, Nov 12, 19 @ 3:29 pm:

    What should kill Pritzker’s bill is the tier 2 enhancements stuffed into the legislation to buy the police unions support and without any actuarial studies


  16. - DTAG - Tuesday, Nov 12, 19 @ 3:33 pm:

    OW, Police don’t always live in the city in which they serve so they are not always Property Taxpayers, and its the property tax that usually funds police pensions. Same for fire.


  17. - Oswego Willy - Tuesday, Nov 12, 19 @ 3:37 pm:

    === Police don’t always live in the city in which they serve so they are not always Property Taxpayers, and its the property tax that usually funds police pensions.===

    Then they are no different than a homeowner in the towns they “live”, paying property taxes to the police in those towns… like everyone else.


  18. - Davos - Tuesday, Nov 12, 19 @ 3:40 pm:

    They are also expanding Tier 2 alternative formula eligibility under SERS and SURS. Not sure why the state plans got dragged into this.


  19. - Sue - Tuesday, Nov 12, 19 @ 4:02 pm:

    Best thing would be the bill gets dropped. Pension consolidation savings are like the search for the great white whale. Another big pot of pension money to invest would just attract loads of chicanery


  20. - Downstater - Tuesday, Nov 12, 19 @ 4:08 pm:

    Police don’t pay taxes on their pension income?


  21. - Last Bull Moose - Tuesday, Nov 12, 19 @ 4:23 pm:

    Sounds like an addition not central to the issue. Drop it now or have J.B. excise it through an amendatory veto.


  22. - revvedup - Tuesday, Nov 12, 19 @ 4:23 pm:

    They need to argue everything out and get it ready for the Spring 2020 session. There is no reason they had to get this done during the veto session, after decades of doing nothing. There is an arguable point regarding why the employing municipality should or shouldn’t have a say, and it needs more than 1-3 days to argue it out.


  23. - Shemp - Tuesday, Nov 12, 19 @ 4:39 pm:

    I knew it was too good to be true. Just when we’re about to accomplish something good for all.

    That said, I know it will shock a few, but there are some bad apples that become firefighters and police officer and will try to game the pension system. It needs municipal oversight to help root that out. Personally seen one disability pensioner returned to work after several years when it became evident the person could be working rather than collecting pension benefits.


  24. - RNUG - Tuesday, Nov 12, 19 @ 4:48 pm:

    == Police don’t pay taxes on their pension income? ==

    Nobody in Illinois pays State income tax on any retirement income: pension, Social Security, IRA, 401K, 403B, 457, etc. If the IRS recognizes it as retirement income, you don’t pay State income tax on it.


  25. - RNUG - Tuesday, Nov 12, 19 @ 4:50 pm:

    == Police don’t pay taxes on their pension income? ==

    Adding … Like all retirees, they do pay property, sales, etc. taxes and all the various licensing fees the State charges.


  26. - Just A Dude - Tuesday, Nov 12, 19 @ 4:51 pm:

    “Police don’t pay taxes on their pension income”? That’s not a legit question, correct? No one pays taxes on their pension/retirement income in Illinois along with a couple other states.


  27. - Smalls - Tuesday, Nov 12, 19 @ 5:04 pm:

    And it should be noted, just like every other pension bill ever passed by the state, there are provisions in there that literally only benefit one person. Section 7-159. Summary: someone who wasn’t married when they retired and died before 12/29/16, now their spouse that they married after after they retired will be entitled to an IMRF pension. If they really think this is good policy, they should open it up to everyone.


  28. - Retired pension trustee - Tuesday, Nov 12, 19 @ 5:51 pm:

    This is what happens when bills are rushed through the process. As I said before slow this process down.
    Get a better handle on the costs of implementing this legislation so an informed decision can be made. The municipalities should have the ability to be represented for disability claims. They have a big stake in the process. This protects the pension fund and the municipality.


  29. - retired trustee - Tuesday, Nov 12, 19 @ 6:56 pm:

    The Municipality is represented on the Pension Boards. The Mayor or President appoints two individuals as Trustees. IML wants to allow more representation for the municipality than is allowed by statute.


  30. - South Side Sam - Tuesday, Nov 12, 19 @ 9:02 pm:

    Just give them the state’s check book.
    Oh wait…we already did that.


  31. - Downstater - Tuesday, Nov 12, 19 @ 11:38 pm:

    A prior comment said “nobody pays taxes on pension income”. I took that to mean no taxes, as in not just no Illinois tax but federal, etc. All good. Carry on.


  32. - Maybeboomer - Wednesday, Nov 13, 19 @ 5:30 am:

    Paying taxes by all, i die my wife gets enough to bury me, but if an officer dies of any cause without even 10 years of service my wife has to support another person’s wife for life how is that fair? Poison pills and taxes forever..


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