Ballotpedia's State Legislative Tracker
Edited by Joel Williams
This week’s tracker includes a partisan count update and a look at one state's upcoming special session.
- Illinois: With the state legislature coming into a special session on Tuesday, public pensions in Illinois appear to be set for an overhaul. Last Wednesday, leaders from both parties said that they had reached an agreement on reform that they say will save $160 billion over 30 years, but were tight-lipped on details. The state's five pension systems are considered the nation's worst with a combined debt of $130 billion; according to Bloomberg, they had 40 percent of the necessary assets to cover their obligations in fiscal year 2011. According to Crain's Chicago Business per anonymous sources, Illinois' currently flat 3 percent cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) would be reduced through a new formula limiting the 3 percent to the amount equal to years served times $1,000. The retirement age would also rise up to five years, payments would be guaranteed and workers would have the option of forgoing their pension and putting their funds in a personal account similar to a 401(k). Ten percent of the savings would be added to the state fund yearly. State Sen. Kwame Raoul (D) told Illinois Watchdog that the plan was a compromise and that "nobody from wherever their original position was" would consider it "ideal." Despite the bipartisan push, not all were happy. We Are One Illinois, a group of public employee unions, said that unions were shut out from discussions and that the plan would hurt retirees. The Illinois Policy Institute, a free-market think tank, released a summary questioning the plan's guarantee of pension funding, arguing that it could lead to high costs. Gov. Pat Quinn (D) has voiced support for the plan; he previously stopped paychecks to legislators until they could agree on a plan, causing a lawsuit.
- ↑ Bloomberg, "Illinois Legislative Leaders Try to Sell Tentative Pension Deal," November 28, 2013.
- ↑ Crain's Chicago Business, "Here are details of the big Illinois pension deal," November 27, 2013.
- ↑ Illinois Watchdog, "Details thin, but Illinois pension deal is real," November 27, 2013.
- ↑ The New York Times, "Illinois Lawmakers Say They Have Plan to Fix Underfunded Pension System," November 27, 2013.
State legislative news headlines:
- State Legislative Tracker: Illinois to convene special session, Dec 02, 2013
- Evie Hudak resignation ends recall campaign, Nov 27, 2013
- State Legislative Tracker: Massachusetts Senate passes minimum wage increase, Nov 25, 2013
- State Legislative Tracker: Hawaii legalizes same-sex marriage, Nov 18, 2013
- State Legislative Tracker: California lawmakers face campaign finance probe, Nov 11, 2013
- 2013 State Legislative Elections Review: Special elections and few changes in New Jersey and Virginia, Nov 06, 2013
- State Legislative Tracker: Indiana senator calls for Article V convention, Nov 04, 2013
- November 5 state legislative special elections preview, Oct 29, 2013