Saturday, May 30, 2009

Two-tiered pension plan stalls

Gov. Pat Quinn's proposal to provide less generous pension benefits for future teachers and state employees has been held and is unlikely to advance in the state legislature before the May 31 deadline.

Sen. Don Harmon, an Oak Park Democrat sponsoring Quinn's proposal in his chamber, said today that the governor asked for more time to negotiate with public employee and teachers' unions, both strong opponents to the two-tiered proposal. See background here. Harmon held HB 2643. Another version is SB 1292.

The proposal also would have allowed Quinn to skim the state's payment into the five public employee pension systems for teachers, lawmakers, judges, university employees and state workers. Illinois is scheduled to pay nearly $4 billion into the systems next fiscal year, but the amount that the state will actually pay is part of ongoing budget negotiations between the governor and the four legislative leaders.

They continue to meet behind closed doors this evening as they try to hash out an operating budget that's projected to have a nearly $12 billion deficit by the end of next fiscal year. We'll have more as soon as possible.

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