Tuesday, August 14, 2012
Unions Pitch Their Own Pension Plan
Union officials laid out the broad strokes of their own pension reform plan Monday. Cinda Klickna, president of the Illinois Education Association, said the group seeks a guarantee that the state will make the required pension contribution. Under the proposal backed by several other union groups pension payment priority would only be second to the state’s creditors.
Union officials argued that legislation that is currently up for consideration does not do enough to ensure that lawmakers make the annual pension payments. They point to skipped pension payments as the primary cause of the state’s more then $80 billion unfunded pension liability. “The pension crisis was caused by past governors and legislators that failed that people of the state,” Klickna said.
The group also is proposing that lawmakers reevaluate corporate tax breaks, such as the package of tax cuts recently passed to benefit Sears and the CME group. The coalition is focusing on a group of tax breaks, the elimination of which they say could save the $80.7 billion over the next 34 years. On the list are tax exemptions for paper and ink given to news outlets, a tax exemption for foreign dividends and a tax break given to retailers for collecting the state’s sales tax.
The move comes as lawmakers are scheduled to return to Springfield this Friday to take up the pensions issue during a special session called by Gov. Pat Quinn. However, Quinn’s camp does not seem responsive to the plan. “This is nothing new, and all has been discussed before,” Brooke Anderson, a spokeswoman for Quinn, said in an emailed response to Illinois Issues. “This proposal would not solve the state's pension challenges, nor is it feasible.”
You can read Jamey's full report at: http://illinoisissuesblog.blogspot.com/2012/08/unions-pitch-their-own-pension-reform.html
In the pic: State workers protesting pension reform in Springfield in May.