By Jamey Dunn, Illinois Issues
As a special legislative session on pension reforms draws near, one lawmaker has filed new legislation that she hopes will move negotiations forward. The latest bills from Rep. Elaine Nekkirtz, part of a General Assembly pension reform working committee, call for School Districts to slowly assume the cost of teachers' pensions.
A statement from a spokeswoman for House Minority Leader Tom Cross said Republicans are concerned that even with a slow change, school districts and colleges would on the hook for a lot more than what is currently being discussed. “The bottom line is that a pension cost shift is exactly that — a cost shift, not reform," it said.
Nekkirtz bills also call for state workers to give up either compounding on cost of living adjustments or State-paid healthcare.
Union officials complained they have not been included in pension negotiations. “We had hoped that the failure of the various unfair bills introduced in the spring would provide an opening for our union coalition to once again sit down with legislative leaders, and particularly the governor, to get serious about solving this problem cooperatively. That hasn’t happened,” said Anders Lindall, spokesman for the American Federation of State County and Municipal Employees.
Governor Pat Quinn supports both of Nekrtiz’s new bills. “The governor feels that that there can be no more delay on an issue that is costing taxpayers $12.6 million a day and putting the state at risk of a future downgrade. That’s why he is calling the legislature back for a special session on pension reform, which will give them the opportunity to vote on this critical issue,” Brooke Anderson, a Quinn spokeswoman, said in a prepared statement.
You can read Jamey's full report at: http://illinoisissuesblog.blogspot.com/2012/08/new-pension-proposals-emerge-but-still.html