Tuesday, February 5, 2013
Illinois' state pension debt is currently at $95 billion — citizens discussed their ideas of how to fix that at Monday's meeting.
Passions were high at Monday night's town hall meeting on current state pension proposals. Panelists at the meeting, which was held at the Wilmette Community Center, included Sen. Daniel Biss (D-Evanston), Rep. Laura Fine (D-Glenview), Rep. Robyn Gabel (D-Evanston) and Cook County Commissioner Larry Suffredin (D-Evanston). The meeting, which was so packed that it had to be split up in to two rooms to make room for everyone, was held to discuss the Senate Bill 35 (SB35) and House Bill 98 (HB98), which both aim to end the "long, bitter impasse over pension reform at the state Capitol by combining what has been proposed by business, labor, legislators and civic groups with some new ideas," according to a hand-out passed out before the …
Friday, January 25, 2013
State Treasurer Dan Rutherford says poor credit rating will cost taxpayers.
Standard & Poor’s rating services downgraded Illinois’ credit rating today to A-, with a negative outlook, making it the lowest rating of all 50 states. State Treasurer Dan Rutherford blamed the negative rating on inaction on the public pension system by Gov. Pat Quinn and the general assembly, at a press conference today. Illinois has a $96 billion pension deficit. Rutherford pointed out numerous instances in which the state had set a deadline to address pension reform and did not meet the deadline, which was followed by a downgrade in the state’s credit rating. “Every time a deadline is set and nothing happens substantively, there is a negative action by rating agencies, Rutherford said. Rutherford explained that the poor credit rating …
Wednesday, December 5, 2012
Possible changes to the current Illinois pension system, as proposed by the bill, include shifting teacher pension obligations onto school districts, raising the retirement age and capping cost of living adjustments.
In an effort to curb the state's budget woes without bailing on current Illinois public sector pension obligations, a press release announced Illinois lawmakers Elaine Nekritz (D-Northbrook) and Daniel Biss (D-Evanston) introduced House Bill 6258 in Springfield today. "The pension debate has featured too much finger-pointing and progress has been disappointingly slow," Biss said in the release. "This bill contains ideas drawn from business, labor, and civic groups as well as our colleagues in the General Assembly. We believe that it is a roadmap for solving this problem in January..." Changes to the state's public employee pension policy, as proposed by the bill inlclude: “Daniel and I understand this is a difficult issue for all of us, …
Sunday, October 28, 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.
Sunday, October 28, 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, …
Thursday, August 16, 2012
Rep. Daniel Biss will hold a dialogue, 'The Long Road to Pension Reform: What is ‘Cost Shift’ and Why Does It Matter?', at Temple Beth Israel in Skokie at 7 p.m. Legislators return to Springfield Aug. 17 for a special pension reform session.
Among the many hotly debated topics in Springfield, legislators will attempt to reach consensus on pension reform tomorrow at a special session scheduled by Gov. Quinn. Tonight, Rep. Biss will hold a public forum to discuss the issues. Titled "The Long Road to Pension Reform: What is 'Cost Shift' and Why Does it Matter?", the community dialogue is the most recent in a series of public forums hosted by Biss and is open to all. The forum was originally scheduled at Wagner Farm but to accommodate mass interest from the community, the event will now be held at Temple Beth Israel in Skokie, 3601 W. Dempster. Guest speakers include Erika Lindley, the Executive Director of ED-RED; Dick Ingram, the Executive Director of the Teachers’ Retirement…
Tuesday, February 15, 2011
At Sunday’s League of Women Voters-sponsored forum, state Reps. Daniel Biss, Robyn Gabel and Karen May instilled hope in some residents and infuriated others.
Two of Northbrook's state representatives came before disgruntled voters Sunday to address growing concerns about Illinois’ gaping budget hole. Three local branches of the League of Women Voters hosted the forum, inviting Reps. Daniel Biss (D-17th District), Robyn Gabel (D-18th) and Karen May (D-58th) to New Trier Township High School in Northfield to offer their budget-balancing strategies. “For too long Illinois [has been] financing its growing deficit by accumulating debt,” said Jane Goldenberg, acting co-president of the Winnetka-Northfield-Kenilworth League of Woman Voters, a nonpartisan policy-educating organization. “We are among the five states with the highest debt in pension liabilities. Our state fiscal crisis is devastating …
Tuesday, February 8, 2011
District 57 State Rep. Elaine Nekritz explains why she voted to raise taxes in January.
Tuesday, February 8, 2011
These are difficult times and the problems we face in state government have no easy or pleasant solutions. I recognize that the action we took to raise revenue is difficult on families and businesses and that it is not popular, but it was necessary at this time in order to stave off even more dire financial consequences for all of us. The choices were not good - they were "bad" and "worse". Illinois was on the brink of fiscal failure. Our revenues were down 25% over the last two years due to the recession. Our bond rating was going to be downgraded to junk status in a matter of weeks (if not days) had the legislature failed to act and the message being sent by the credit default swap market on Wall Street was that Illinois was …