Illinois Pension Reform: How Did Your Representative Vote?

The Illinois House Thursday approved a controversial plan to eliminate the state's $100 billion pension debt; here's how DuPage County representatives voted.

The Illinois Senate may soon vote on House Speaker Michael Madigan’s pension reform plan that passed the House Thursday.

The bill passed by a vote of 62-51 and seeks to eliminate the state’s $100 billion retirement system debt. Illinois ranks dead last in the nation when it comes to funding its public pension plan, according to WBEZ.

The bill asks state workers for less in future cost-of-living increases, an increase in the retirement age for workers under the age of 46 and asks for more money to be taken from state employee paychecks.

The bill may have difficulty making it through the Senate where Senate Leader John Cullerton supports a different plan that gives workers the option of pay increases or government-funded health care in retirement, WBEZ reported.

Even if Madigan’s bill is approved by the Senate, it is certain to receive legal challenges from state employee unions, the Chicago Tribune reported.

Madigan has said if the bill passes, a court order would be required to keep up the state’s current pension obligations while the legal battle played out, the Tribune said.

So, did your local representative vote for Madigan's bill? See our chart below.

Representative Vote

Darlene Senger (R-Naperville)

  Y Jeanne Ives (R-Wheaton)   Y
Dennis Reboletti (R-Addison)   N Deb O'Keefe Conroy (D-Villa Park)   Y Patricia R. Bellock (R-Hinsdale)   Y Sandra Pihos (R-Glen Ellyn)   N Mike Fortner (R-West Chicago)   N Michelle Mussman (D-Schaumburg)   Y Kathleen Willis (D-Northlake)   Y Ron Sandack (R-Downers Grove)   Y Jim Durkin (R-Western Springs)   Y Stephanie Kifowit (D-Oswego)   Y Emily McAsey (D-Aurora)   Y
grayling May 05, 2013 at 02:35 AM
This has been a problem that the state has willfully chosen to ignore for at least 30 (yes, thirty) years. When I was working at the University of Illinois College of Dentistry back in the 80's, we'd receive the SURS (State University Retirement System) newsletter every quarter. There would inevitably be an item "This is the third/eighth/eleventh year in a row that the State has failed to make its matching contribution to the Fund" or "The State is once again borrowing money from the Fund for this, that or the other thing." We had/have the fund because as employees of the State we weren't participating (and earning credits) in Social Security. Our contribution rate was higher than we would have paid into FICA. I distinctly remember being told during the interview process that ""We know you can make more in the private sector, but the payback will be that we take care of you when you retire." I was eventually "lost to the private sector" (the university's euphemism for people who left for better paying jobs), and they automatically started my pension (I had no option) on my fifty-fifth birthday. I can't imagine a private or publicly owned company running these kind of deficits, borrowing from a plan, not making their share of contributions (try doing that with the Social Security Administration!), or unilaterally deciding on benfits. They wouldn't survive.
Gerard Schilling May 05, 2013 at 12:18 PM
Amazing how our corrupt state legislators can continue to nibble around the edges passing laws which affect the little guys and totally ignores where the big money is. This smoke and mirrors ploy to placate the electorate does little or nothing to address the problem. Because of the collusions between union leaders and cooked politicians of which there is ample evidence the politicians like Daily, union leaders, state college administrators and in short any government employee getting a pension equal to or getter then 50% of their highest salary exclusive of perks and extras during their last year of work should be clawed back. These sweet heart deals are nothing short of fraud and should be prosecuted under the NLRB or better yet RICO laws and these bums should go to jail!
Dan May 05, 2013 at 02:59 PM
If we are jumping on the tax them more band wagon why not start with a progressive tax on pension income? Thuggramma must realize that most other states tax pension income as well as earned income. I still don't understand why a family currently working to earn $60,000 can afford to pay taxes while a retired couple earning $60,000 in pension income can't possible be expected to pay taxes. We have former politicians that have earned over a million dollars in tax free pension income even while employed by the government in a new position that allows them to eventually collect yet another tax free government pension. It is time to end this tax loop hole by creating a progressive pension tax. If the argument is being made that Illinois has been under taxing than certainly those that are currently retired have benefited from the low taxes they paid during their working years. Now they should be willing to shoulder some of the responsibility to fix the situation that took place on their watch and not just place that burden on the future generations that have not even earned their first paycheck or the ability to vote for the politicians that have been failing us. It is time for those blessed with a pension income to step up to the plate and start paying their fair share.
David Franke May 06, 2013 at 01:46 AM
The plan fails to address a significant driver of Illinois’ pension crisis – the fact that the state makes pension contributions to the Teachers’ Retirement System, or TRS, on behalf of school districts even though teachers aren’t employees of the state. As for raising corporate taxes to pay for defined benefit pensions, yea, that's a great idea. Chase what's left of small business out of the state. Sure, that'll solve the problem.
Jim K May 08, 2013 at 04:24 PM
No we can't continue to ignore the problem so why not pass something that will solve the problem and not make Pension funding the State's number one priority as this bill does? passing this will put pension payments first in line to bills to be paid ahead of all others including education funding (which, from what I hear teachers say, should be first because it's all about the kids). Have a look at http://www.illinoispolicy.org/blog/blog.asp?ArticleSource=5798 Wait for your property taxes to go up again as local school districts can't make their share on what they get now and then watch the teachers unions strike to recoup what they will have to contribute as a result of this bill. Time to move from this state.


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