Saturday, March 23, 2013
Watch a brief video rundown of recent action in Springfield that could have an impact on your tax bill and money for local schools.
What's happening in Springfield now regarding the state pension crisis will have a long-term impact on your tax bills and the money the state government can afford to send to local schools. Teachers and bus drivers in the suburbs are getting layoff notices and schools are closing in the city of Chicago as the governor projects a cut of $300 million from the state education budget. This week, the Illinois House passed a bill that would trim cost-of-living payments for public retirees. The House previously passed a bill that raises the state employee retirement age incrementally. It's unlikely those measures will pass the Senate, leaving the pension crisis unresolved. Our friends at Reboot Illinois, a non-partisan news and advocacy website…
Wednesday, March 6, 2013
The assistant Illinois House Republican leader and 82nd District rep said pension reform should be Springfield's number one priority.
Assistant Illinois House Republican Leader Jim Durkin (R-82) issued a statement on Wednesday in response to Gov. Pat Quinn's 2014 budget address in which the governor chastized the legislature for failing to reform the state's underfunded public pensions system In a bit of bipartisan agreement, Durkin's statement echoed Quinn in pushing the need for pension reform: “The Governor’s Address is a harsh reality of failure to pass meaningful reforms in Illinois. A solution to the pension problem should have been wrapped up, sealed and sent to the governor last month. "We should have passed a comprehensive pension reform bill passed before today. There is nothing more important to the state’s fiscal integrity than meaningful pension reform, …
Sunday, January 27, 2013
Despite 2011's 67 percent state income tax hike — which took a week's pay away from you — the state's financial problems have worsened.
Illinois now has the lowest credit rating of all 50 states. Standard & Poor’s rating services downgraded Illinois’ credit rating last week to A-, with a negative outlook. State Treasurer Dan Rutherford, who blamed the negative rating on inaction on the public pension system by Gov. Pat Quinn and the General Assembly, said Illinois is headed for "fiscal disaster." He said the lower rating will force the state to fork over more money on interest payments. This will affect state universities, road construction and other public institutions because more will go to interest than principal as these projects are paid for. “If you went out to borrow $500 because you have such bad credit, it will cost $95 more in interest than better-rated states…
Saturday, January 19, 2013
State government grows in the dark, like a fungus. • Bill Daley has an idea to take the party out of state elections. • Time magazine mourns for Illinois.
When Gov. Pat Quinn took office in 2009, he promised to take aim at state boards and commissions stocked with politically connected folks drawing large salaries with little oversight into their activities. He would pare down those panels and save you money. Better Government Association investigative reporter Barbara Rose this month looked into whether Quinn delivered: "... more than three years into Quinn’s watch little has changed, except the number of such units is growing. As troubling, many don’t comply with the Illinois Open Meetings Act, according to a report last year by state Auditor General William Holland." In fact, the governor's office is having a hard time keeping up with it all. "With over 322 boards and commissions, …
Saturday, December 15, 2012
The representatives and senators leaving office in January 2013 will see millions of dollars in pension payments, figures far more sizable than they would've seen in the private sector.
Are you worried about your own retirement? With the downturn in the economy, did your 401k and savings take a big hit? If so, you're like millions of other Americans forced to confront a dramatically different outlook for their post-work years. But one group of pensioners is largely insulated from such concerns — outgoing Illinois lawmakers. The retirement benefits Illinois legislators receive are far more generous than those most of their constituents could collect working full-time jobs, reports Scott Reeder of the Reeder Report, using data from an Illinois Policy Institute analysis in a piece published on Watchdog.org. The anticipated pension benefits of the 34 lawmakers who will depart the state legislature in January show these …
Saturday, November 24, 2012
Jim Edgar tells Reboot Illinois that tax hikes, program cuts and leadership are desperately needed in Springfield. And Pat Quinn brings you Squeezy the Python.
With Democrats now holding a supermajority in the Illinois House and Senate as well as the governor's office, one might suppose a Democratic agenda would be a slam dunk in Springfield. As recent years have shown, however, single-party control doesn't guarantee the wheels of government grind smoothly. And former Gov. Jim Edgar, who served from 1991 to 1999, suggests that probably won't change anytime soon. In a wide-ranging interview with the new website Reboot Illinois, Edgar says Springfield is less dysfunctional when the two parties share power. "More times than not I think split government works pretty well. The reason is to make the tough decisions you need both parties. It’s hard to get one party to put up all the votes and take all …
Wednesday, October 31, 2012
On Nov. 6, Illinois voters will vote on a proposal to amend the Illinois Constitution to require a three-fifths majority vote in order to increase a benefit under any public pension or retirement system.
Wednesday, October 31, 2012
Submitted by the League of Women Voters of Downers Grove, Woodridge and Lisle On Nov. 6, Illinois voters will vote on a proposal to amend the Illinois Constitution to require a three-fifths majority vote in order to increase a benefit under any public pension or retirement system. Raising such a benefit would require a three-fifths majority vote in each chamber of the Illinois General Assembly, as well as in the governing bodies of any unit of local government, school district, or pension or retirement system. The League of Women Voters of Illinois opposes this proposal and urges voters to vote no. The League of Women Voters strongly supports governmental systems that are transparent, representative, accountable, and responsive. By …
Saturday, October 27, 2012
Pension-related amendment to state constitution on Nov. 6 ballot is confusing, catastrophic and fake reform, say foes and legal experts. What you need to know before you vote.
Saturday, October 27, 2012
By Jayette Bolinski, Illinois Watchdog SPRINGFIELD — Opposition to a proposed pension-related constitutional amendment that will go before Illinois voters Nov. 6 is creating strange bedfellows — from public employee unions to good-government groups that agree the question is not worthy of a change to the state’s constitution and does nothing to address the pension crisis. Groups opposed to the amendment are numerous and come from all walks of life. It’s no surprise that public-employee unions are opposed to the amendment, which requires a three-fifths majority vote before any public body can approve a pension benefit increase. Good-government groups, such as the Center for Tax and Budget Accountability and the Illinois Policy Institute, …
Friday, October 12, 2012
A panel of experts gathered in Woodridge Wednesday to talk about potential fixes for Illinois' pension woes.
When it comes to state pensions, Illinois is in a financial hole as deep as $90 billion and digging out will be a formidable task, according to a panel of west suburban experts who met this week to discuss the issue. Panelists met Wednesday at Seven Bridges Golf Club in Woodridge to discuss how Illinois got in the state-pension hole and what it might take to get out. "Pensions have created the majority of the problem in our non-discretionary spending," said Lee Daniels, former speaker of the Illinois House of Representatives and now a Distinguished Fellow and Special Assistant to the President of Elmhurst College. Daniels moderated the discussion with a panel of experts that included 21st District State Senator Ron Sandack (R-Downers Grove…
Sunday, August 26, 2012
As we start a new week, it's always good to get caught up on state politics. Here's an easy guide to what happened last week.
Sunday, August 26, 2012
Editor's Note: This article was created by aggregating news articles from Illinois Watchdog, formerly Illinois Statehouse News. SPRINGFIELD — Things were mostly quiet here a week after lawmakers failed to reach an agreement on comprehensive pension reform during a special legislative session. Rutherford: Pension inaction could have ‘very serious impact’ by year end State Treasurer Dan Rutherford sounded the alarm on Illinois’ financial crisis Friday, after a Moody’s report said lawmakers’ inaction on pension reform continues to be an issue for the state’s credit rating. “I know we keep hearing these things about potential downgrades … but the fact is it is now to the point that (the credit rating agencies) are repeatedly saying this. The …