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A report being released Tuesday says Illinois' plan to save $160 billion ultimately won't make much of a dent in the state's growing deficits.
The University of Illinois' Institute for Government and Public Affairs study says changes to the state's major public pension systems will eliminate their unfunded liability over the next 25 years, but the state's deficit will increase to $13 billion during that time. Institute researchers projected a $14 billion deficit - a $1 billion difference - if the state had not implemented pension reform.
Institute Director Chris Mooney says the study was released as campaigns for the 2014 general election begin to heat up in order to make sure the state's fiscal crisis is talked about.
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) - Illinois' treasurer says he's monitoring the debt ceiling showdown in Washington and the impact it could have on the state's finances.
Members of Congress continued late Tuesday to search for deal that would allow raising the country's cap to borrow more money in order to pay its bills. The government has been partially shut down for more than two weeks as Democrats and Republicans haggle over spending.
Dan Rutherford's office says it utilizes U.S. Treasury securities as an important investment tool for the state's portfolios. The state holds $1.2 billion in U.S. Treasury bills that will mature over the next month.
Rutherford says planning ahead for a possible short-term default will allow the state to meet its payments on bonds and interest on a short-term basis.
CHICAGO (AP) - Illinois officials say the state saved about $44 million in five months because of a vendor's work to scrub unentitled Illinois residents from the Medicaid rolls. Department of Healthcare and Family Services Director Julie Hamos detailed the savings Tuesday at a legislative hearing in Chicago.
The work by Reston, Va.-based Maximus resulted in the state canceling Medicaid for more than 125,000 people. Outsourcing that task will cost the state about $70 million over two years.
Hamos says 40 percent of the people kicked off Medicaid had no medical costs in the past six months, resulting in lower than projected savings.
She says Illinois officials still would like to complete the contract with Maximus and will appeal an arbitrator's ruling that would require the contract to be canceled Dec. 31.
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) - A bipartisan group of Illinois lawmakers tasked with pension reform will meet in Springfield on the day before a special legislative session is convened.
Senate Democrats say the 10-member committee will meet Monday. The House and Senate are scheduled to convene Tuesday to consider Gov. Pat Quinn's amendatory veto on concealed carry legislation.
While Quinn originally called the Legislature back July 9 to deal with pensions, it is unlikely the issue will be voted on by that deadline.
Committee members met last week in a grueling five-hour public session where little was resolved. They are scheduled to meet again Wednesday. Members say they are hopeful progress is being made, but legislation has yet to be drafted.
Illinois' worst-in-the-nation unfunded pension liability hovers around $100 billion.
Cuts in the classroom are coming to the East St. Louis School District. Teachers layoffs were announced during Thursday night's packed school board meeting.
In all, 69 teachers in District 189 will lose their jobs. Five elementary school principals and two middle school principals will also be cut.
East St. Louis is just the latest in a long list of metro-east school districts forced to make the cuts because of state and local budget issues.
The bill is sponsored by House Speaker Michael Madigan and comes out of a laborious process where lawmakers are addressing the pension problem piece by piece instead of a total overhaul at once. House members voted in favor 66-50 yesterday. It's the third scaled-back pension bill the House has recently approved.
Thursday's proposal says that no cost-of-living increases can be taken until retirees reach 67 years of age, or five years after retirement and applies COLAs only to the first $25,000 of an annual pension.
Illinois has nearly $100 billion in unfunded pension liability because for years lawmakers either skipped or shorted payments.