Madigan’s Amendment 1 to SB1 passed the House Pension Committee this morning on a 9-1 vote. It will now go to the House floor.
CONTACT YOUR REPRESENTATIVE TODAY IN OPPOSITION TO AMENDMENT 1 TO SB1. It could be voted on today in the House.
House Speaker Madigan’s Amendment 1 to SB1 will be heard at the House Pension Committee on Wednesday at 8:30 a.m. The proposed amendment cuts current retiree COLAS, requires active teachers to pay more into their pensions, work longer, and caps the salary that can be used for pension calculations. It could go to the House floor as early as today.
See the IEA fact sheet at:
The full text of the Amendment can be found at:
IRTA ACTION ALERT AT:
Illinois teachers are being asked to pay more when politicians have shortchanged pension payments for 60 years and used pensions like a credit card. Check ou…
BE ALERT: Reportedly House Speaker Madigan may present a new pension reform bill as early as Wednesday of this week. The details have not been announced, but from past experiences, active and retired teachers should expect that it will cut benefits and increase active teacher payments. Madigan and Senate President Cullerton have not been in agreement on pension reform and so far Madigan has refused to bring Culerton’s SB1 to a vote in the House.
We find ourselves in a peculiar situation. Every year, every teacher has paid their required contribution to their pension. For 60 years Illinois has failed to pay its share into the teacher retirement system. That means our legislators and governors have shortchanged our pensions billions of dollars.
By our very nature, as teachers, we have a great sense of fairness, loyalty, respect for authority, and an innate sense of caring, a drive to protect others from harm. We became teachers for altruistic reasons. These beliefs are central to how we structured our lives, our classrooms, our schools, and the commitment we have to our students and communities. We don’t seek conflict. Rather, we seek solutions. We strive to be well informed and expect that rational thinking and compassion for others are important elements in finding solutions to problems.
Unfortunately,we find ourselves confronted by people that have left these values behind as they try to solve the pension problem on the backs of those that have always done their part. Our political leaders have decided to once again abandon us. They have decided not to seriously consider the wide-range of possible solutions. They have decided that retirees, active teachers, and future teachers must bear the burden of solving a problem created, not by us, but by our political leaders. They refuse to seriously consider closing business loopholes, a progressive income tax, stopping corporate welfare, and seriously evaluate state budget priorities.
They want to rewrite the Illinois Constitution to meet their needs at the expense of the promises and laws that protect our pensions. They are now promoting the idea that because legislatures and governors over years drove the state to our current dire budgetary situation that they should have discretionary authority to cut benefits and abandon the very people that have honorably fulfilled their responsibilities. That is the argument people like Representative Nekritz are putting forth to punish retirees for politicians mistakes. Their argument is that they’ve done such a bad job, that things have gotten so bad, that they have no alternative other than to take draconian measures to cut pensions. This despicable attitude must not be tolerated.
The culture of political expedience, collusion, and corruption continues to be at the heart of Illinois government. We deserve better. We should expect better.
We want to believe that if we can just bring forth reasonable solutions that our political leaders will listen. At the moment that is not the case. We must help our political leaders recalibrate their moral compass. We must hold them accountable for their mistakes. We must remind our political leaders that fairness, loyalty, respect for those that have done the right thing, and a reasoned approached to solving the state’s pension problem are essential. We need fair, informed, reasoned, and compassionate political leaders to emerge and work with us to find reasonable solutions.
If, however, our appeals to these fundamental tenants fall on deaf ears; if our political leaders can not find a pathway to statesmanship, then we must exercise our power to stop all efforts to solve the pension issue by punishing the very people that have always done their part. The next 30 days are critically important. Your voice, your presence, your commitment, your untiring vigilance are essential. Let no one stand between us and our right to the benefits we have earned and that are protected by our Constitution. Act now, act tomorrow, act every day to preserve your rights. Politicians created the problem of pension funding and they must shoulder the burden of correcting it.
From the Chicago Tribune
TAX REVENUE SURGES IN ILLINOIS
Illinois saw a 19 percent increase in tax revenue in theprevious fiscal year, one of the highest jumps in the nation, the Census Bureau reported Thursday.
In terms of state gains, only North Dakota and Alaska had greater percentage increases.
Illinois led the nation in personal income tax revenue growth, with an incrase of nearly 40 percent in fiscal 2012.
State government tax collections in Illinois increased $34.3 billion, to a record $794.6 billion, the Census Bureau said. The previous high was $779.7 billion in 2008.
So with such a dramatic increase in tax collections, why are cuts to public pensions being proposed. Hmmm!
Why not ask your legislator?
Please share with your members.
The following has been posted by the IEA on their website today, April 15.
Immediate action is needed to protect your pension and the pensions of other IEA members.
A pension-cutting bill, HB 3411 (known as the Nekritz-Cross bill) is expected to be called for a vote this week in the Illinois House Of Representatives.
Protect your pension:
- Call 888-412-6570 to be connected with your state representative
- Tell your representative to vote NO on HB 3411 and to VOTE NO any bill opposed by IEA!
The message is simple. Tell your representative:
- As an IEA member living in your district I am urging you to VOTE NO on HB 3411. IEA opposes this unfair and unconstitutional legislation.
- VOTE NO on all other bills opposed by IEA.
Talk with your colleagues and make sure that, when the time comes, everyone is involved in the fight.
From Bob Lyons
There will be an attempt to move pension reduction legislation, which will include the COLA for retires, this week in both the House and the Senate. Leadership is trying to convince their members that the Courts will accept “economic distress” as a justification for breaking the constitution. If you are going to protect what you have so far enjoyed, do so now because they want to take it away from you. Bob Lyons
Federal Security and Exchange Commision reveals how Illinois politicians have systematically cheated public workers, sold bonds under false pretenses, and ha…
Letter to the Editor: “I think it is time we follow private industry’s lead, and move government pensions to a defined contribution plan.”
Illinois faces a pension liability conservatively placed at $95 billion.
Gov. Pat Quinn and his legislative leaders have finally recognized the problems caused by years of offering too many pension sweeteners without meeting state funding obligations. It is unfortunate that their rhetoric has — so far — not been accompanied by action. Quinn has neither produced his own plan nor rounded up votes for other plans and, quite frankly, I’m getting fed up.
Further clouding the issue are claims by House Speaker Michael Madigan that suburban and downstate school districts are receiving a “free lunch” from the state in terms of paying teachers’ pensions costs. The Speaker and other Chicago leaders are pushing a proposal to shift those pension payments from the state to K-12 school districts outside of Chicago, community colleges and state universities.
That could be a reasonable solution, under the right conditions. But, at a March 13 press conference, Senate Republican Leader Christine Radogno refuted the Speaker’s “free-lunch” claims. An in-depth analysis of state funding for education shows that Chicago Public Schools account for roughly 18 percent of Illinois’ public school children, but receive about $772 million additional state funding each year through special considerations and grant lines.
Meanwhile, suburban and downstate schools receive $104 million in special consideration and grant funding to educate 82 percent of Illinois’ students.
It’s time to stop the misstatements and misdirection. If Gov. Quinn, Speaker Madigan and Senate President John Cullerton can’t fix this problem, then it is time to let the rest of us come to the table with our ideas. I think it is time we follow private industry’s lead, and move government pensions to a defined contribution plan from the current defined benefit plan system,which has gotten us into so much trouble. The Illinois Policy Institute has just proposed such a plan. Their plan is the best solution to our unfunded liability that I have seen.
Sugar Grove, State Senator, 25th District
Senator Jim Oberweis will be hosting a Town Hall meeting April 15 in North Aurora.
“State legislators face a number of tough decisions in the coming months as we try to steer Illinois in a more productive direction. I want to talk with 25th District citizens and get their opinions on solving our state’s pension and fiscal problems,” Senator Oberweis said. “I hope they will be able to take time out from their busy schedules to come by and talk with me and other local leaders.”
The Town Hall meeting is scheduled to start at 7:00 p.m., April 15, at Messenger Library, 113 Oak St., North Aurora, IL 60542.
For more information, call Senator Oberweis’ office at 630-800-1992.
This case does not apply to the Teacher Retirement Insurance Program, but may provide some insight as to how Illinois’ Supreme Court will view cuts to retiree health insurance benefits.
Illinois’ high court has agreed to hear a direct appeal of lawsuits challenging the state’s right to charge retirees premiums for their state-subsidized health insurance.
In a brief order issued Thursday, the court said it would hear the appeal of all four lawsuits filed trying to block the insurance premiums from taking effect.
By accepting the direct appeal, the cases will skip the appellate court and result in a quicker resolution of the issue.
No schedule for the court to hear arguments in the case has been set.
Last month, Sangamon County Judge Steven Nardulli ruled that state-subsidized health insurance for retirees is not a pension benefit protected by the Illinois Constitution. He dismissed the four suits that were filed seeking to stop the state from imposing insurance premiums on retirees.
Springfield attorneys Don Craven and John Myers, who filed one of the lawsuits, appealed the decision to the 4th District Appellate Court. However, they also filed a request to the Supreme Court to hear the appeal directly. Attorneys for the state agreed, saying a Supreme Court ruling will expedite the decision.
Last year, the General Assembly approved a bill allowing the state to impose premiums on retirees for their state-subsidized health insurance. State workers who retire with 20 or more years of service are entitled to premium-free state health insurance, although they do pay for dependent coverage and some out-of-pocket expenses.
When the bill was debated, state officials said Illinois was spending $880 million a year on retiree health insurance and the costs were increasing. It said 90 percent of retirees were paying no premiums for their state health insurance.
Since the bill was approved, the state has not imposed the premiums. They were the subject of contract negotiations between the state and the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees. AFSCME said it negotiated much smaller premiums than Gov. Pat Quinn’s administration initially wanted to impose.
The administration said it wants to begin the premiums July 1.
Instead, this is Cross and Nekritz’s invitation to all legislators to ignore past precedent, to ignore contract law, to cut away at the retirement security of hundreds of thousands of families, to punish the future educators and public workers in Illinois, and to break their oaths of office to the State of Illinois. Let’s see how many accept the call. And let’s remember who they are.
…Instead of protecting public pension rights and benefits, which have a legal basis under Illinois State Law; instead of restructuring the state’s revenue base to pay for the state’s growth in expenditures and its reckless accumulation of debts and obligations, many current policymakers have chosen to challenge the Illinois constitutional provision (Pension Clause) and diminish (and predictably destroy) the public employees’ defined-benefit pension plan, their health care benefits, and their cost-of-living adjustments…
Tune in for an entertaining and informative look at a new one-minute video.
Watch “Illinois Pension Commitment Shortchanged” on YouTube.
Share it with colleagues, friends, neighbors, politicians (local, state and federal), anyone and everyone.
Post a link on your Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, blog, or even an old fashioned bulletin board.
This video is part one of a four-part series that was developed by folks just like yourself. Active teachers, retirees, and every-day people who are looking for ways to get the message out in a slightly different format. We’ve named ourselves “GrassRoots Illinos” and you can find a new YouTube channel by that name.
You can also find us on FACEBOOK at SOPE Box. SOPE Box (Speak Out for Public Education) is a place to find information and exchange ideas.
The pension problem will take center stage starting now as the Illinois General Assembly returns to Springfield. You’ve all been communicating with your legislators while they were on break. You need to keep doing that because they are working on some “grand plan” to run from their commitments and push the problem off on active teachers and retirees.
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