Just passing this along.
Legislators passed an overhaul of the state public-employee retirement system Tuesday, cutting benefits for workers and retirees in a move that sets up a likely court battle with organized labor.
Supporters say the Illinois pension legislation is expected to save $160 billion and will fully fund the retirement system over 30 years.
“We’re here today because the cost of our present state systems are simply too rich for the resources available,” said House Speaker Michael Madigan, a Democrat.
Gov. Pat Quinn, a Democrat, is expected to sign the bill into law.
Illinois has seen its credit rating fall in recent years to the lowest among U.S. states as it has struggled to address a gap in its pension funds that is nearing $100 billion.
The measure also gives Chicago officials a template to follow as they move to address the city’s own pension crisis; Chicago’s credit rating is among the lowest for major U.S. cities.
“The pension crisis is not truly solved until relief is brought to Chicago,” said Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel. “Without providing the same relief to local governments, we know that taxpayers, employees, and the future of our state and local economies will remain at risk.”
The Illinois overhaul package relies on benefit cuts, including reducing the annual cost-of-living increase for retirees and raising the retirement age for younger workers.
Ironically, the plan is being attacked on two fronts. Organized labor (as expected) is screaming bloody murder about the changes and plans on going to go to court to challenge the law as soon as the ink on Quinn’s signature is dry.
On the other side is the few conservative think tanks which operate in and around Springfield, which don’t think the legislation goes far enough to keep the state from eventually having to file for bankruptcy. They’ve called the bill a bandage on a open wound which will not be enough.
I tend to agree with the think tanks here, but the reality that Illinois is even doing this given all the “hey” Quinn tried to make about Act 10 in 2011, is kind of nice to enjoy.