Sunday, May 12, 2013
"A couple of years from now, we will be back here with the same issues, fighting the same battles,” the state senator says.
State Sen. Jim Oberweis, R-Sugar Grove, issued a statement about Senate Bill 2404 — the Senate’s version of pension reform — that passed the Senate May 9 by a 40-16 vote. Oberweis said he voted “no” on Senate Bill 2404 because it falls short on its intended goal of cost-savings to the state. “I voted against Senate Bill 2404 because it does not do enough to solve our problem. A couple of years from now, we will be back here with the same issues, fighting the same battles,” Oberweis said. “State officials have made pension benefit promises they knew, or should have known, they couldn’t possibly keep. We are now at the point where we have to stand up and resolve these issues for our state’s long-term fiscal health. We need to do what is …
Saturday, March 23, 2013
Watch a brief video rundown of recent action in Springfield that could have an impact on your tax bill and money for local schools.
What's happening in Springfield now regarding the state pension crisis will have a long-term impact on your tax bills and the money the state government can afford to send to local schools. Teachers and bus drivers in the suburbs are getting layoff notices and schools are closing in the city of Chicago as the governor projects a cut of $300 million from the state education budget. This week, the Illinois House passed a bill that would trim cost-of-living payments for public retirees. The House previously passed a bill that raises the state employee retirement age incrementally. It's unlikely those measures will pass the Senate, leaving the pension crisis unresolved. Our friends at Reboot Illinois, a non-partisan news and advocacy website…
Tuesday, February 12, 2013
District 33 state senator from St. Charles says she's already getting a pension from her service as Kane County Board chairman, and elected officials must lead pension reform by example.
State Sen. Karen McConnaughay, R-St. Charles, announced Tuesday that she has voluntarily turned down the legislative pension offered to members of the General Assembly. McConnaughay is the former Kane County Board chairman. "As someone who is already eligible for a pension after 20 years of service in county government, I do not believe it is appropriate to receive two pensions," she said in a Monday press release. "Pension reform is one of my top priorities in this legislative session. We must find solutions that preservethe retirement systems for our retired teachers and other public employees who have paid into the system throughout their years of service.” McConnaughay went on to say she believes elected government officials must lead …
Thursday, February 7, 2013
Gov. Pat Quinn gave his fifth State of the State address on Wednesday afternoon. What do you think should be his top priorities over the next year?
Gov. Pat Quinn voiced his support for gay marriage in Illinois, a minimum wage hike and tougher gun laws during his State of the State speech Wednesday afternoon, according to the Chicago Tribune. The Associated Press has posted the full text from Quinn's State of the State speech. Here are some of the highlights: Quinn also spent much of his speech touting his accomplishments during his term as governor, such as cuts to Medicaid and ethics laws that have been passed, according to Crain's Chicago. Quinn has said he will run for re-election in 2014. If he does, he is expected to have an opponent in the March 2014 Democratic primary. Quinn has gotten low approval ratings in recent months. A Democratic-leaning Public Policy Polling survey …
Sunday, January 27, 2013
Despite 2011's 67 percent state income tax hike — which took a week's pay away from you — the state's financial problems have worsened.
Illinois now has the lowest credit rating of all 50 states. Standard & Poor’s rating services downgraded Illinois’ credit rating last week to A-, with a negative outlook. State Treasurer Dan Rutherford, who blamed the negative rating on inaction on the public pension system by Gov. Pat Quinn and the General Assembly, said Illinois is headed for "fiscal disaster." He said the lower rating will force the state to fork over more money on interest payments. This will affect state universities, road construction and other public institutions because more will go to interest than principal as these projects are paid for. “If you went out to borrow $500 because you have such bad credit, it will cost $95 more in interest than better-rated states…
Saturday, January 19, 2013
State government grows in the dark, like a fungus. • Bill Daley has an idea to take the party out of state elections. • Time magazine mourns for Illinois.
When Gov. Pat Quinn took office in 2009, he promised to take aim at state boards and commissions stocked with politically connected folks drawing large salaries with little oversight into their activities. He would pare down those panels and save you money. Better Government Association investigative reporter Barbara Rose this month looked into whether Quinn delivered: "... more than three years into Quinn’s watch little has changed, except the number of such units is growing. As troubling, many don’t comply with the Illinois Open Meetings Act, according to a report last year by state Auditor General William Holland." In fact, the governor's office is having a hard time keeping up with it all. "With over 322 boards and commissions, …
Saturday, December 15, 2012
The representatives and senators leaving office in January 2013 will see millions of dollars in pension payments, figures far more sizable than they would've seen in the private sector.
Are you worried about your own retirement? With the downturn in the economy, did your 401k and savings take a big hit? If so, you're like millions of other Americans forced to confront a dramatically different outlook for their post-work years. But one group of pensioners is largely insulated from such concerns — outgoing Illinois lawmakers. The retirement benefits Illinois legislators receive are far more generous than those most of their constituents could collect working full-time jobs, reports Scott Reeder of the Reeder Report, using data from an Illinois Policy Institute analysis in a piece published on Watchdog.org. The anticipated pension benefits of the 34 lawmakers who will depart the state legislature in January show these …
Saturday, November 24, 2012
Jim Edgar tells Reboot Illinois that tax hikes, program cuts and leadership are desperately needed in Springfield. And Pat Quinn brings you Squeezy the Python.
With Democrats now holding a supermajority in the Illinois House and Senate as well as the governor's office, one might suppose a Democratic agenda would be a slam dunk in Springfield. As recent years have shown, however, single-party control doesn't guarantee the wheels of government grind smoothly. And former Gov. Jim Edgar, who served from 1991 to 1999, suggests that probably won't change anytime soon. In a wide-ranging interview with the new website Reboot Illinois, Edgar says Springfield is less dysfunctional when the two parties share power. "More times than not I think split government works pretty well. The reason is to make the tough decisions you need both parties. It’s hard to get one party to put up all the votes and take all …
Saturday, October 27, 2012
Pension-related amendment to state constitution on Nov. 6 ballot is confusing, catastrophic and fake reform, say foes and legal experts. What you need to know before you vote.
Saturday, October 27, 2012
By Jayette Bolinski, Illinois Watchdog SPRINGFIELD — Opposition to a proposed pension-related constitutional amendment that will go before Illinois voters Nov. 6 is creating strange bedfellows — from public employee unions to good-government groups that agree the question is not worthy of a change to the state’s constitution and does nothing to address the pension crisis. Groups opposed to the amendment are numerous and come from all walks of life. It’s no surprise that public-employee unions are opposed to the amendment, which requires a three-fifths majority vote before any public body can approve a pension benefit increase. Good-government groups, such as the Center for Tax and Budget Accountability and the Illinois Policy Institute, …
Tuesday, October 16, 2012
League of Women Voters of Central Kane County opposes a provision requiring a super-majority vote on pension reform, which the League says would put control into the hands of the minority.
Tuesday, October 16, 2012
On November 6th, Illinois voters will vote on a proposal to amend the Illinois Constitution. This proposal would amend the Constitution to require a 3/5s majority vote of each chamber of the Illinois General Assembly, as well as the governing bodies of any unit of local government, school district, or pension or retirement system in order to increase a benefit under any public pension or retirement system. The League of Women Voters of Illinois opposes this proposal and urges voters to vote no. The League’s opposition is unrelated to the pension issues the proposal raises but rather focuses on the 3/5s majority requirement. The League of Women Voters strongly supports governmental systems that are transparent, representative, accountable …