A published report says groups with ties to the pension-reform law adopted last month have contributed close to $3 million to Illinois Supreme Court justices who might decide its fate.
The Chicago Sun-Times reports (http://bit.ly/1aqJQ5n ) that six of seven justices have taken money in the past 13 years from labor unions, business groups and a political committee controlled by Chicago Democratic House Speaker Michael Madigan. Retired teachers have sued to stop the pension-reform plan that cuts retiree benefits to reduce a $100 billion debt.
Officials say sufficient state funding the last two years means key state-employee pension funds didn't have to sell assets to meet payments. The State Retirement Systems covers pensions for ex-state employees, judges and lawmakers. A report Thursday by Auditor General William Holland says SRS withdrew $30 million in the 2013 fiscal year _ down from nearly $250 million the year before. William Atwood heads the Illinois State Board of Investment, which manages the SRS portfolios. He says the large withdrawal in 2012 was because of state underfunding in 2011.
Illinois’ biggest and most indebted pension system is beginning to implement changes tied to the pension overhaul passed this month. But officials are also making plans in case the new law is struck down.
The Teachers Retirement System is by far the biggest of Illinois’ five pension systems, with well over 360,000 members. TRS is also the biggest factor in the pension funding problem, accounting for more than half of the combined $100 billion shortfall.
House Speaker Michael Madigan readies to introduce a pension overhaul bill denounced by public employee unions, who say Illinois should instead close corporate tax loopholes. Madigan today (12/11) issued a statement saying Illinois lawmakers "must resist the temptation to cave to corporate officials' demands every time they impose a deadline for payment in exchange for remaining in Illinois."
A day after Office Depot announced it would stay in Florida rather than move to Illinois, the speaker of the House says Illinois needs to end its practice of offering tax incentives on a case-by-case basis.
The Illinois House is getting flak for adjourning earlier this month without voting on tax breaks approved by the Senate -- deals meant to lure the newly-merged Office Depot to Illinois, and to convince Archer Daniels Midland to keep its global headquarters in-state.
A major overhaul of Illinois' pensions is now law. Gov. Pat Quinn held a private bill-signing ceremony this afternoon in Chicago. A court challenge seeking to stop it from taking effect is certain.
The new law will cut state workers' and public school teachers' retirement benefits.
It also raises the retirement age; employees younger than 46 will have to work up to five years longer before they can retire. The savings from those changes are intended to rid Illinois of a long-festering budget issue: an unfunded pension liability that's grown to about $100 billion.
Gov. Pat Quinn is set to get about $74,000 in back pay now that Illinois lawmakers have finally approved a pension deal.
The governor used his line-item veto power this summer when he halted legislators' salaries, saying they shouldn't get paid until they addressed the nearly $100 billion pensions crisis. He also stopped accepting his own paychecks. A judge disagreed with Quinn in September and the comptroller began issuing checks to lawmakers. But
A bill aimed at fixing Illinois' hundred billion pension crisis is before Gov. Pat Quinn. A spokeswoman for Senate President John Cullerton said Wednesday that the bill had been sent to Quinn. The move came a day after the Illinois General Assembly approved the bill that is estimated to save the state $160 billion over the next 30 years.
The plan reduces benefits for current and retired public employees. Among other things, it also raises the retirement age on a sliding scale for some employees.
Illinois is just the latest state to vote on legislation to overhaul public pension plans.
Heather Kerrigan is a contributor with Governing Magazine. She says this year alone, state and local governments around the country have proposed more than 1,000 pieces of legislation to shore up pensions. And she says almost all of them face the same challenge.
Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan presents the conference committee report on Senate Bill 1, the legislation overhauling Illinois pensions. Madigan says "hopefully the Court will rule in favor of the constitutionality of the bill."
Illinois legislators may have passed a pension overhaul, but unions representing teachers and public employees have vowed to sue to stop it from taking effect. If they're successful, that could force lawmakers to go back to the drawing board.
Lawmakers made preemptive efforts to fend off a legal challenge. The measure contains a statement that details the terrible condition of Illinois' finances and what lawmakers have tried to do about it -- a clear attempt to justify cutting pension benefits.
The Illinois General Assembly approved sweeping cuts to state employee pensions Tuesday. The move comes after years of stalemate over how to address a hundred-billion dollar liability — the worst-funded pension plans of any state.
The Illinois General Assembly has approved sweeping changes to pensions for state employees. Governor Pat Quinn says he will sign the legislation. It's intended to fix the worst-funded state retirement system in the country.
Illinois is roughly $100 billion short of the money it promised to pay state employees, university workers, and public school teachers.
After years of debate, lawmakers finally agreed on a solution to the problem: cutting benefits, mainly by reducing the three-percent annual increase retirees have gotten on their pensions.
Illinois' House Speaker told a bipartisan legislative committee that the state's pension systems are ``just too rich'' to be afforded in the future. Madigan is a Chicago Democrat and the state's longest-serving House Speaker. He says Tuesday that a $160 billion reform proposal was designed to keep long-term low-income workers in mind.
Although pensions are atop the agenda Tuesday in Springfield, the Illinois General Assembly could consider a set of tax breaks for some of Illinois' biggest corporations.
Decatur-based Archer Daniels Midland is moving its corporate headquarters, and wants a tax break to remain in Illinois, most likely Chicago. Office Depot, newly merged with OfficeMax, is deciding whether to put its combined headquarters in Florida or Naperville.
The deal would let the companies keep money they deduct from employee paychecks for Illinois taxes.
A bipartisan committee of lawmakers has approved a plan to deal with Illinois' $100 billion pension problem. The measure now moves to the House and Senate for consideration.
The Associated Press confirmed with six members of the 10-member panel that they had signed the measure Monday after arriving in Springfield for a special session. Leaders announced the plan last week. It comes nearly five months after a special committee was formed to tackle the problem.
U.S. Sen. Mark Kirk says a pension-reform deal under consideration in Springfield ``falls short of finding the savings needed to solve Illinois' fiscal crisis.''
The Republican senator issued his statement Monday morning. The deal that legislative leaders announced last week could go to a vote in the Illinois General Assembly as early as Tuesday. Kirk says state lawmakers shouldn't pass a bill that he says lawmakers and voters haven't had time to read.
Kirk says the proposal ``relies heavily on accounting gimmicks'' and doesn't prevent a permanent income tax hike.
Details are out on what the leaders of Illinois' General Assembly want to do to the state's retirement systems. They've released an outline of their deal.
After years of debate about what to do about the $100 billion dollars of unfunded liability Illinois has racked up for its pension systems, legislative leaders announced on Wednesday they had agreed to a deal. But they were tight-lipped about what all it involved.
That information has now been spelled out in a one-page overview, a memo passed out to members of the House and Senate.
Earlier this week, legislative leaders announced a deal to bring a pension overhaul before the full chambers. It is estimated to save $160 billion over the next 30 years. Illinois has the nation's most underfunded retirement systems.
On Friday, the leaders' staff sent around the memo below that highlights changes for public employee pensions. Lawmakers are expected in Springfield to vote on legislation Tuesday, December 3. Employee unions have already indicated opposition and if it passes, a legal challenge is likely.
House Speaker Michael Madigan talked to reporters about pensions during the end of the spring legislative session; he and Senate President John Cullerton were at odds then over how to deal with the state's underfunded retirement systems.
The leaders of Illinois' General Assembly have reached a deal on pensions. But now they have to persuade legislators to go along with it. The House and Senate will meet in Springfield Tuesday (12/3) to debate the measure.
It's the first time the four leaders of the House and Senate have come together on a plan dealing with the state's pensions, which are the worst-funded in the nation. Details are forthcoming, but House Speaker Michael Madigan came out of a meeting in Chicago saying it will save $160 billion.
House Speaker Michael Madigan says the vote on a pension deal will be ``very difficult'' when lawmakers gather for a special session next week. Madigan spoke to reporters Wednesday after legislative leaders said they agreed on a proposal that will help solve Illinois' $100 billion pension crisis.
Gov. Pat Quinn says next week is another opportunity to tackle the state's $100 billion pension crisis. Legislative leaders have been negotiating on a plan, which could come up next week if there's a special session in Springfield. House Speaker Michael Madigan has told representatives to be ready for a one-day session next Tuesday. The Senate has tentatively set some days aside next week.
However, details about the plan haven't been released publicly and legislative leaders say they're still hammering out issues.
Illinois unions are planning an intensive lobbying push in opposition to a developing plan to deal with the state's $100 billion pension crisis.
The ``We are One Coalition'' represents the state's major employee unions. The group sent an email to members about ``emergency call-in days'' next week and Dec. 2-3.
Members are being asked to call and visit lawmakers' offices and urge them to vote against pension bills that don't have union support. Legislative leaders are meeting Thursday to firm up a plan that could save close to $150 million over 30 years.
The bank JPMorgan Chase will pay Illinois' pension funds $100 million under a national settlement announced Tuesday. The payment is a result of the bank's misconduct leading up to the Great Recession.
Like a lot of investors in the last decade, Illinois' pension funds had a good chunk of change in mortgage-backed securities. Once the housing market collapsed and homeowners began defaulting, the value of those securities collapsed, too.
Senate Republican Leader Christine Radogno, of Lemont, says the General Assembly's two top Democrats and Republicans are meeting on pensions; she says it's easier to reach a consensus with fewer people at the table.
Overhauling Illinois' pension systems is no longer in the hands of the special committee of legislators that met all summer. How to reduce the state’s $100 billion of long-term pension debt is now in the hands of the General Assembly's four leaders.
All summer long, state employees and retirees concerned about their retirement benefits had their eyes on a bipartisan conference committee, but insiders say even the key panel members are no longer part of discussions.
The General Assembly's four leaders (who are really always in charge) are taking the reins.