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   SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) - A top aide to House Speaker Michael Madigan is telling Illinois lawmakers to be ready for a special session in Springfield in December.

   Madigan chief of staff Tim Mapes told Democrats in an email Wednesday that a "possible" session could begin Dec. 3. He told lawmakers to "keep other days that week available."

   The email was sent around the time Madigan and other legislative leaders were meeting in Chicago to discuss a deal to solve the state's $100 billion pension crisis.

   Dec. 3 is the day after the deadline for candidates to file paperwork in the 2014 campaign, including anyone challenging incumbents.

   House Republican Leader Jim Durkin says progress is being made on pensions but any agreement is on hold until the cost savings of proposed solutions can be calculated.

 
Published in Local News

   SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) - A proposed solution to Illinois' historic $100 million pension crisis is hanging in the balance as the state Legislature's October veto session approaches.

   Key Democrats on a pension panel are pushing a plan to save the state $138 billion over the next 30 years, but Republican lawmakers want a number of changes. House Speaker Michael Madigan hasn't yet committed to calling the proposal for a vote, either.

   Senate President John Cullerton supports the deal and calls it "less unconstitutional" than a previous plan that would have saved $163 billion.

   Illinois' five public-employee retirement funds have an unfunded liability of about $100 billion. The annual contribution to the fund, plus payments on past pension bonds, is about $7.65 billion this year. That number will increase in years to come without action.

 
Published in Local News

   Illinois Governor Pat Quinn wants lawmakers to return to Springfield later this month, but some legislators aren't sure why.  

   Quinn released a statement Thursday criticizing lawmakers for failing to address the state's nearly 100-billion dollar pension shortfall and calling a special session which begins June 19th. The announcement follows news that Moody's Investors Service is lowering Illinois' credit rating.  But a spokesman for House Speaker Michael Madigan says he believes the special session is to deal with guns, not pensions.

   Quinn is currently considering conceal-carry legislation that was passed last week.  Quinn hasn't said if he'll sign the plan. If he vetoes it, lawmakers could override the veto.

Published in Local News
Friday, 22 March 2013 02:43

IL House passes pared down pension plan

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — The Illinois House has approved a stripped-down pension plan that could delay and reduce cost-of-living increases for retirees and future retirees.

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.
Published in Local News

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