“I would like to hear about pension reform that goes beyond the income tax referendum,” said Dora Lee, director of research at Belle Haven Investments, which manages about $11 billion of municipal assets including Illinois debt.
James Iselin, head of municipal fixed income for Neuberger Berman Group LLC, which holds Illinois debt among its $11 billion of municipal bonds, said he wants to see momentum for a solution for the pension shortfall, especially amid the improved relationship between the state’s executive and legislative branches. […]
Iselin is also monitoring the income-tax vote in November, noting that “increasing revenue by close to 10% of the state budget is a big number.”
House Republicans want to replicate the bipartisan process by which the state passed its balanced budget last year, Minority Leader Jim Durkin said during a press conference on Tuesday. Durkin, who doesn’t support the progressive income tax, added that “we are at a point where we don’t need additional revenue” and the state has a “growing surplus.”
Wait. There’s a surplus? Last I checked the budget office was projecting a $1.768 billion deficit. I suppose we’ll see what’s what today.
Also, pension reform that goes beyond the graduated income tax is not likely in the cards since any reduction in benefits would be unconstitutional and the governor and the vast majority of the General Assembly aren’t willing to change the constitution.
Funding for underfunded public schools could also increase by at least $350 million. Under the proposal, more teachers and social workers would be hired, and money would also be used to increase salaries and for property tax abatements.
That increase is mandated by law. Where he’s getting the money for all this will be answered today at noon, or not. He had some gimmicks in his first budget address last year, you will recall.
There are other areas where Pritzker is expected to increase spending. State-funded pension systems need more money to keep up with their obligations.
Pension payments are expected to grow by about a half a billion dollars.
* Center Square…
While the governor said he plans to save $225 million in the upcoming budget through government efficiencies, he is also expected to announce nearly $150 million more for the state’s child welfare agency. Republicans said more money won’t fix the agency’s problems.
If they don’t hire more people, they can’t do their jobs. And hiring more people means spending more money.