Wednesday, August 15, 2012
Cross Calls For Legislature To Stay Until Pensions Reformed
A catastrophic pension-fund collapse may be what Illinoisans need to understand the urgency of pension reform, House Republican leader Rep. Tom Cross said Tuesday. “I think folks in this state and around the country don’t think it could happen to them....Well, when you’re at $130 billion of unfunded liability, I’d say it’s pretty real. And I think perhaps until something dramatic happens, we may not do anything in a real substantive way."
Cross spoke with reporters before a House Pension Investments Committee hearing in Chicago. The $130 billion figure he cited is Moody’s revised estimate of what Illinois’ unfunded liability is, based on assumptions about rates of return. Moody’s says the assumption that the state’s retirement systems could achieve an 8.5 percent rate of return is not realistic and that the rate is more like 5.5 percent.
During Tuesday’s hearing, lawmakers learned about new accounting guidelines set by the Governmental Accounting Standards Board, the agency that oversees government pension accounting. The new guidelines could cause Illinois’ unfunded-liability figure to balloon.
House and Senate lawmakers will be in Springfield Friday for a special session to address pension reform. Gov. Pat Quinn summoned the lawmakers back but has not said how long he intends to keep them.
Cross wants to see Quinn keep lawmakers in special session for as long as it takes.
“I would encourage him if nothing happens Friday, to call us back. If he wants to call us back Saturday, Sunday, Monday, Tuesday or Wednesday, we really don’t care. We’ll go back,” Cross said, adding that reform needs to happen now, not after the November election. “People are going to yell and scream and they’re going to complain. It’ll be chaotic down there (in Springfield). But my approach is you put us in a room, lock the (door) and when we’re done you let us out.”
You can read Jayette's full report at: http://watchdog.org/48608/il-cross-pension-conversation-not-going-away/
In the pic: Tom Cross.