Ward Room
Covering Chicago's nine political influencers

Quinn Calls Special Session for Pension Reform

Special session scheduled for Aug. 17

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    Governor Pat Quinn excersized his authority, Monday. 

    Quinn called lawmakers to a special, one-day session so that they would have to deal with the state's pension crisis on August 17. Once the lawmakers get to Springfield, their marching orders are less clear. 

    Quinn basically wants lawmakers to deal with the same proposals that failed to gain traction during the last session even though it removed an idea to raise the retirement age to 67. 

     

    That proposal includes a pension reduction plan that calls for shifting teachers' pensions to local governments. Lawmakers decided not to vote on the issue before thier May 31 deadline. 

    Chicago already uses this approach, but the statewide initiative is meeting with opposition from the GOP who believe it will have negative consequences.  

    "At issue right now, is the idea that we would shift costs on local school districts. Consequently increasing property taxes," said Sen. Christie Radogno (R-Lemont) after the initial proposal.

    Others opposed to the shift worry it will cut spending for various school activities.

    This is one of those unusual years - every member of the Illinois General Assembly will be on the November ballot.  They know pension reform might lead to disgruntled constituents, yet at the same time, they can't ignore an $83 billion dollar shortfall.  

    This is only a part of the of the plan unveiled to start chipping away at the state's huge pension plan.

    Illinois' pension deficit comes in at either the worst or the second-worst in the country, and Quinn calls it a major issue that can't wait any longer to be fixed.