By Josh Altic
The Pension Hotspots Report is a monthly publication about local pension reform efforts.
The November edition of the Pension Hotspots report will provide a post-election review of the election results for the three pension reform measures decided on in the November 5 election as well as the reactions from advocates and opponents. The key November 5 pension reform measure to watch was Issue 4 in Cincinnati. This measure was overwhelmingly rejected by voters. See below for an explanation of this failure at the ballot box from Chris Littleton, campaign manager for the committee behind Issue 4.
The appellate court decision in the CalPERS v. San Bernardino lawsuit regarding the cities recent bankruptcy is also covered by this edition. The November Hotspots report also provides a summary of the new report by the California Public Policy Center on the unfunded liabilities of the California State Teachers Retirement System and its struggles with catch-up payments and lower investment returns.
- See also: School bond and tax elections in Illinois
Illinois mandates school districts to hold elections issuing bonding for new construction and capital improvements, exceeding the property tax cap, or create a working cash fund. Since 2006, Illinois has had referendums over the property tax cap which is governed under the Illinois Property Tax Cap Act of 2006 which requires voter approval if a school district wants to exceed their property tax cap for up to four years. The other type of referendum is a Chapter 20 referendum. Under Chapter 20, a school district must have voter approval if the voters petition a school district to create a working cash fund to pay liabilities. Only school districts that serve a city, town, or village less than 500,000 in population can hold a Chapter 20 referendum.
In multiple areas in Illinois, local ballots have an advisory question about Pension reforms at the state level for public employees. Though the State General Assembly sees it as a much larger issue that cannot be easily fixed by a simple ballot question, especially one which has no power. The pension fund has suffered greatly due tot he recession and has become expensive to maintain. Lawmakers have proposed the idea of a bill to reform the system already, but outsiders feel that it still would not address the many flaws of the system. Similar measures to change how municipal pensions are funded was passed, but one addressing fire and police officers was not able to get through. Though members of both are hoping for positive results on the advisory question, hoping that the State government will get the picture that residents do what a comprehensive reform of the system to be undertaken.