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Madigan Drops Plan to Shift Pension Costs to School Districts

Under pressure from Illinois Republicans and Gov. Pat Quinn, House Speaker Michael Madigan announced he's dropping his proposal to shift teacher pension costs to local school districts.

Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan (D-Chicago) dropped his controversial proposal on Wednesday to shift the state's teacher pensions committment to local school districts, universities and community colleges.

The announcement came after two days of spirited debate over pension reform in both the House and Senate.

Madigan's plan, which was part of Senate Bill 1673, was widely criticized by Republicans, and threatened to derail other legislation to address the state's massive pension shortfall.

Madigan said he reached the decision after Gov. Pat Quinn asked him to drop the amendment, the Associated Press reports.

“He agrees with the Republicans. He thinks that we ought to remove the issue of the shift of normal cost out of the bill,” Madigan told the House on Wednesday night. “I disagree with the governor, but he is the governor. This is his request.”

The bill was handed over to House Republican Leader Tom Cross of Oswego, who slammed Madigan on Tuesday, calling his proposal a "poison pill" to kill pension legislation.

Plans to remove Madigan's amendment will be considered by a House Panel on Thursday, the Chicago Tribune reports.

Illinois currently has an $83 billion unfunded pension liability—$44 billion of which is from the Teachers' Retirement System.

With the cost-shift language off the table, lawmakers could vote on a comprehensive pension reform plan before the legislative session ends Thursday night.

School district officials from , and have previously spoken out against proposals to shift the state's TRS obligation to local districts.

The shift could have cost D135 about $8 million and D230 $12 million, officials said.

 

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Rob P May 31, 2012 at 06:46 PM
Great idea to combine the elected folks pension with all the state workers & teachers. It should get fixed pronto. But lets be serious... They will never ever vote to change or possibly cut their own benefit.. They even have built in a provision for an automatic pay raise... it goes through unless they vote to cancel it.. Many of these clowns in Springfield have been there 10-15-20 years! They are part of the problem! Amazing idea of transferring the financial burden back to the local towns... Instead of solving the problem, our elected folks just vote to give the problem to somebody else. Nice.. I don't believe this is dead yet.. it will show up again either hidden in another bill, or used as leverage for something else..
Robert June 01, 2012 at 02:00 AM
The most important job in the world is that of our educators. The field attracts very bright, organized, fun loving, people who devote their lives toward giving to others. Police, nurses, firefighter/paramedics, doctors, etc..are also in this giving field. They need to be securely compensated to remain in this field. It's hard work and dedication and most dead beats don't fit the bill. I don't know of any millionaire police, firemen, or teachers. The filthy rich have won the persuasion game and managed to convince common republicans to turn on their own assets, their teachers. Republican fathers voting to hurt their children who are teachers and police, and firemen, as if they are the enemy. Brainwashed!
John Paul June 01, 2012 at 05:48 AM
It's not a question of appreciating what teachers (and policemen, firemen, etc.) do. Many private sector people also work very hard and are just as dedicated. The vast majority of them will never get rich either. The difference is that private sector employees have no control who their bosses are, while public sector employees can work to have their bosses elected, or defeated (ask Scott Walker about that one). If a private sector employer makes unsustainable promises to their emplyees, it costs them money, it may even get them in legal trouble. If a public sector employer does that, they just dump it on the taxpayers. That's what people are upset about. People who are making less money than beofre having to pay higher taxes to give other people their guaranteed annual raises. People getting by on a small pension having to pay for someone else's lucrative pension.
Bob June 01, 2012 at 12:40 PM
"The most important job in the world is that of our educators." Remember that the next time you're taken to the emergency room with a serious medical problem. I don't often hear, "Get that cardiologist away from me. I NEED A PUBLIC SCHOOL TEACHER!" BTW, a growing number of our "best and brightest" in the professions got their primary and secondary educations in Asia or Eastern Europe. Despite spending just about the most per pupil in the world, our "educators" have made our math and science public education the laughing stock of the world, with the US consistently ranking at the middle, or worse, in objective performance. If you can't read, write, or do mathematics, blame an educrat! "The field attracts very bright, organized, fun loving, people who devote their lives toward giving to others." Ummmm... check out the entering ACT scores for freshman in Illinois colleges. The students in colleges of education typically have the lowest ACTs and class ranks. You're right about the "fun loving" part, though. Many become teachers because of all the summers and holiday time off! "They need to be securely compensated to remain in this field." Right. There is SOOOO much demand in the private sector for six figure PE,English and Social study teachers! NO ONE hires public school teachers to design bridges! "I don't know of any millionaire police, firemen, or teachers." Come out to the more affluent areas of Orland/Palos Park. You'll find LOADS of them, many "early retirees".
Bob June 01, 2012 at 12:42 PM
"The field attracts very bright, organized, fun loving, people who devote their lives toward giving to others."....at least until they reach age 55 and take "early retirement" pensions that are bankrupting the state!

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