The Illinois legislative package that includes a property tax freeze – tough on local school districts – and pension theft was put on hold at least until Wednesday when the new legislature is sworn in.
Democratic Senate President John Cullerton is pushing for another go at pension theft.
Current state retirees would not be impacted.
But for current employees, pension changes would require employees to choose between continuing to receive 3 percent increases in pension benefits at retirement or continuing to have future raises count toward their pension benefits.
A comment from the Illinois Retired Teachers Association: “Also (there is) a change in how pensions are funded. Essentially, this backloads the pension payment so the state pays less now and more later. So the state is once again kicking the can down the road.”
Note that Speaker Madigan has not commented on the Rauner/Cullerton/Radogno deal.
Perhaps this is why the Illinois Education Association has also been so silent. With Madigan as what they call their goalie, they don’t want members contacting House members and offending their Speaker.
A reader writes:
Thanks for the update Fred. I’ll keep refreshing my inbox for the email from the IEA…….maybe the button is broken. I know if I need background on something, I check here first.
Five thousand page views yesterday.
I want to post about other things other then pensions, but in the words of Michael Corleone, “they keep pulling me back.”
The Cullerton plan looks similar to what he bargained with the IEA and IFT several years ago when they included reduction in COLA payments to retirees. The Illinois Supreme Court then made it very clear that current retirees are protected by the pension protection clause of the Illinois Constitution which prohibits benefits from being diminished or impaired.
Cullerton’s attorney Eric Madiar, now in private practice, has argued that the Court left open the ability to bargain a change in the pension agreement as long as consideration, something of equal or greater value, is offered in exchange.
It is hard to see how the Cullerton proposal is anything other than a choice between two diminishments.
Last time, the Illinois Retired Teachers Association, which represents current retirees and not current employees, threatened to litigate – and did sue – any reduction of benefits for retired teachers and administrators, regardless of what the two state teacher unions agreed to.
The role of the IRTA was crucial in getting the two state unions and other members of the coalition of public employee unions to file suit. But the IRTA will not be a part of this litigation if it does not impact current retirees.
If pension theft is part of the Grand Bargain will the IEA and IFT go along again? Current teachers are depending on them.
I can’t imagine current teachers are comfortable with that.