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Good morning. SB2404, HB3162, SB1 and SB35. 888/412-6570. UPDATED.

March 14, 2013

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Arggh! So many numbers.

Last night the emails and tweets were humming.

The Illinois Senate Executive Committee had voted out Senate Bill 1 and 35.

Let’s go over it again.

Senate Bill 1 is President Cullerton’s see-what-sticks bill. He doesn’t believe the massive attack on pensions by Biss, Nekritz and Cross is constitutional, so he mashed it up with his own COLA or health care forced choice bill and is willing to let the courts decide.

Senate Bill 35 would, among other things, cut COLAs and raise the retirement age to 67.

Both bills could come to the floor today.

Or not.

The senators on the Executive Committee aren’t there because they are independent thinkers. So the 11 to 4 and 11 to 3 votes to send the two bills out of committee aren’t exactly a surprise.

However, now is a good time to call your Senator and tell them to vote no. 888 412 6570

I must say that the email from the IEA last night was a bit mysterious.

Their urgent request was to call our senators to urge support for SB2404 and HB3162.

These are the We Are One coalition supported bills that address funding the pension systems but include an increase in member contributions.

I tried reaching IEA’s chief lobbyist Jim Reed this morning to ask what their strategic thinking was. Jim wasn’t available.

I’m critically supportive of the two WAO bills. I don’t like the offer that active employees should pay more into the systems and make Illinois the most expensive pension state in the country.

I really don’t understand why the IEA is focused on those two bills today when SB1 and SB35 may come to the Senate floor today.

Maybe they think it sounds more positive. Okay.

Frankly, all these numbers must confuse the hell out of people.

And isn’t that part Michael Madigan’s weekly strategy?

The Springfield Journal Register reports:

House Speaker Michael Madigan, D-Chicago, said Wednesday that the House will continue to hold a series of weekly preliminary votes on pension issues as a way of educating House members on how critical the issue is.

After several weeks of Madigan’s version of water boarding, all but one of his bills has failed to get more than a handful of votes. One bill that caps pension creditable earnings passed.

Look. If your emailing this post around, don’t try to figure out all the numbers. Tell your state rep to vote no – 888 412 6570 – on any bill that cuts pension benefits to state employees. Any bill.

They’ll get the message.

Updated: IEA Director of Government Relations Jim Reed did get back to me. And as suggested, their view is what I thought. Rather than having folks calling for a no vote for each new pension cutting bill that emerges, they are encouraging us to focus on the positive. That would be SB2404 and HB3162.

3 Comments leave one →
  1. theresa permalink
    March 14, 2013 3:58 pm

    Please update us laypeople on why the supported bills deserve support. What do those bills do to the pension fund balances? Do the bills reamortize the pension fund balances? I have been following Ralph Martiers math which seems to make sense, is that in any bill being debated in Springfield? Some of us are trying to make sense of this while caring for little kids, we need info that is manageable.

    • Fred Klonsky permalink*
      March 14, 2013 4:11 pm

      Make sense of what is going on in Springfield? That’s a tall order, Theresea. But let me try. The bills that We Are One, the coalition of state labor unions, claim to guarantee a reliable revenue stream that would pay off the pension liability and pay future funding of the pensions with no benefit cuts. That can only be true if there is a funding source, which would be the progressive income tax. That is SB2. SB2404 and SB2 combined provide a legislative hook for some of what you call Ralph Martire’s math.

      The bad side is that SB2404 also includes an increase in teacher contributions to TRS, making it the most expensive pension payment in the country.

      Do I support it? Yes.

      But I’m not happy with the contribution increase, even though I am a retired teacher who will not be required to pay it.

      • theresa permalink
        March 14, 2013 7:36 pm

        Thanks, and thanks for all the work you are doing.

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