With $300 billion state pension liability, lawmakers approve Tier III plan for one unit of Chicago government

Link: https://www.thecentersquare.com/illinois/with-300-billion-state-pension-liability-lawmakers-approve-tier-iii-plan-for-one-unit-of/article_a2582218-c487-11eb-9e8a-fff0c619781e.html

Excerpt:

State Rep. Kelly Burke, D-Evergreen Park, did have one measure for Chicago Park District pensions. House Bill 417 brought a variety of changes, including bonding for paying pensions.

“They also create a Tier III for district employees where new employees will pay 11% of their salaries, instead of 9%, into the pension fund,” Burke said.

State Rep. Martin McLaughlin supported Burke’s bill, but said it neglects the statewide pension crunch as Democrats continue to pass new spending and new programs.

Author(s): Greg Bishop

Publication Date: 3 June 2021

Publication Site: The Center Square

Pritzker must provide discovery in COVID-19 challenge or face sanctions

Link: https://www.thecentersquare.com/illinois/pritzker-must-provide-discovery-in-covid-19-challenge-or-face-sanctions/article_41683d52-7b81-11eb-8a54-e391cea9ed33.html#new_tab

Excerpt:

Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s administration has a Wednesday deadline to start turning over documents justifying why it ordered restaurants to limit their operations during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Attorney Greg Earl, with Myers, Earl and Nelson P.C., represents Geneva-based FoxFire restaurant, which sued the governor last fall.

“FoxFire is continuing this fight because what happens if another strain, that’s what we’ve heard of, another strain from Europe or South Africa hits and the governor decides to put in another 30-day window,” Earl said.

The governor has already issued 12 months of executive orders related to the pandemic. His most recent order issued Feb. 5 expires March 7.

Author(s): Greg Bishop

Publication Date: 2 March 2021

Publication Site: The Center Square

Illinois House speaker, minority leader have different ideas about tax policy, ending state’s decline in population

Link: https://www.thecentersquare.com/illinois/illinois-house-speaker-minority-leader-have-different-ideas-about-tax-policy-ending-states-decline-in/article_d7fc1596-786a-11eb-b045-47c45d3e4bf5.html#new_tab

Excerpt:

The state lost nearly 80,000 people in the year that ended July 2020, according to an analysis of U.S. Census data. That’s 22,000 more than were lost the year before and the seventh consecutive loss of population in the past 10 years. Illinois led the nation in population decline for the past decade at 255,000.

Illinois House Speaker Emanuel “Chris” Welch, D-Hillside, told the Economic Club of Chicago on Wednesday the state has been losing population for years. Without details, he said the state needs to support small and big businesses. He also said leaders need to unite on messaging.

Author(s): Greg Bishop

Publication Date: 26 February 2021

Publication Site: The Center Square

Illinois taxpayers paying former lawmakers $2.1 million a month from underfunded pension system

Link: https://www.thecentersquare.com/illinois/illinois-taxpayers-paying-former-lawmakers-2-1-million-a-month-from-underfunded-pension-system/article_ac37e44e-6d84-11eb-a861-9372dad286d9.html#new_tab

Excerpt:

Illinois taxpayers pay more than $2.1 million a month to retired part-time state legislators or their surviving spouses from a fund that’s only 16% funded. The individual monthly payouts are as high as $18,000 per month. Some pensioners aren’t actually retired but still getting paid.

There are 425 people drawing off the General Assembly Retirement System, ranging from $122 a month to $18,000.

At 16% funded, state Rep. Mark Batinick, R-Plainfield, said GARS is the worst of the state’s five public sector pension funds.

Author(s): Greg Bishop

Publication Date: 14 February 2021

Publication Site: The Center Square

Even if underfunded lawmaker pension system ends, taxpayers still on the hook for $320 million

Link: https://www.thecentersquare.com/illinois/even-if-underfunded-lawmaker-pension-system-ends-taxpayers-still-on-the-hook-for-320-million/article_274a2a54-6261-11eb-9fc3-177599b837c0.html#new_tab

Excerpt:

The Illinois General Assembly Retirement System, or GARS, is only 16 percent funded. 

This could be the year lawmakers end it, but that will come with a cost to taxpayers.

Some incoming state lawmakers are opting out of the underfunded pension system for Illinois legislators.

Author: Greg Bishop

Publication Date: 29 January 2021

Publication Site: The Center Square