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Crunch time for pension reform: Our view -- Time to pass this bill

NO MORE EXCUSES There's plenty for everyone to hate in the pension bill expected to get a vote tomorrow in Springfield. Sorry, ideological purists. That's why it needs to pass. We explain.

THE BILL  A draft version of the pension reform bill  is out. We've got it here with a little guidance to the legalese.

PENSIONS AND QUINN Pat Quinn really, really, really needs this bill to pass, and not just for election purposes. Rich Miller of Capitol Fax explains.

RAUNER: NO WAY GOP gubernatorial candidate Bruce Rauner says this pension bill is worse than doing nothing. Obviously, we disagree (see first item above), but here's Rauner's take in his own words.

UNIONS HIT THE ROAD The biggest public employee unions are fanning out across the state to tell lawmakers to vote against the bill tomorrow. David Ormsby of The Illinois Observer gives the road trip itinerary here. 

AROUND THE HORN The Chicago Tribune, Bill Brady and Sun-Times columnist Carol Marin offer their takes on Tuesday's big vote. Marin notes this is the first big test for new House GOP Leader Jim Durkin. Tension is mounting. More here.

TOP 5 The pension bill dominates the news across Illinois today :

  •  5. Illinois union leaders bashed the proposed pension deal as more details emerged. (Reuters)
    4. GOP gubernatorial candidates are split on whether the proposed pension deal should be approved. (Chicago Tribune)
    3. Unions are targeting Senate Democrats in their campaign to keep the proposed pension deal from passing. (Associated Press)
    2. Opinion: State leaders are saying “trust us,” but citizens still want to see the proposed pension deal before it’s voted on. (Chicago Tribune)
    1. Opinion: The proposed pension deal would be just the start of trying to fix Illinois’ financial mess. (Chicago Tribune)

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Mike December 02, 2013 at 07:28 PM
I think it's funny that the public unions are losing political clout in Illinois. Quinn chose Paul Vallas as a running mate even though Vallas has a record of fighting public unions. Quinn knew it wouldn't hurt him because a union member is incapable of voting anything but Democrat.
JanS December 03, 2013 at 01:59 AM
It is a bad bill. Barely cuts payments (back to 2011 crisis level) but prioritizes pensions above all government services. Pensions as promised were never affordable. Taxpayers never agreed to pay what ever it takes. In fact the IL constitution requires a balanced budget and limits borrowing. The promises were never legal. This deal does not go far enough. See: http://illinoispolicy.org/five-reasons-why-madigans-pension-fix-is-a-step-backward/
JanS December 03, 2013 at 02:10 AM
The state funded public pension systems that are bankrupting the state are “defined benefit” systems. Each system sets a level of employee contributions and promised benefits based upon a formula. The formulas assume matching employer (taxpayer) contributions, returns-on-investment, and amounts to be paid out based upon employee demographics, salary histories and actuarial tables. If everything had gone as planned, the pension funds would be fully funded; since it hasn’t, the taxpayers are expected to pick up the shortfall. The shortfall was caused by larger than anticipated payouts and less than anticipated returns on investment. It was exacerbated by the compounding effect when the state legislature did not make up for the shortfall as it occurred. Salary spiking is a leading contributor to Illinois' $100 billion unfunded pension liability. For instance, CUSD 200 gave Dr. Caalani 20% for his last three years as superintendent, giving him a starting pension that was approximately the same as his salary at the time he announced his retirement. More recently, CUSD 200 Administrators, Sorrick, Belha and Knicker will receive about a third more in pensions due to end of career salary spiking versus what they would have received if their salaries had been frozen in 2006.
universaldirect333 December 12, 2013 at 09:37 AM
It is a bad bill.

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