It’s coming to a head in the state capitol: What to do about Illinois pensions and trimming a mountain of debt.
The stage is set for a pension showdown with opposing solutions to the state’s $100 billion dollar dilemma. One plan moved forward in Springfield today. It’s up for a vote before the full senate tomorrow.
The pension plan floated by Senate President John Cullerton passed executive committee this afternoon by a vote of 10 to 5, advancing a measure he says is constitutional and crafted with union participation. Think of it as an alternative to a more ambitious strategy proposed on the other side of the capitol by powerful house speaker Mike Madigan. The Madigan plan, which passed the House last week, would cut much more deeply into Illinois’ unfunded obligations. The concern is it breaks a constitutional promise that established pensions for state workers will not be reduced.
Speaker Madigan’s team charges the senate plan does precious little to cut the state’s $100 billion in pension debt. And while Cullerton says he has the unions on board, today’s committee hearing revealed he doesn’t have all of them. The Retired Teachers Association came out ready to sue.
That group says it will sue the state if this measure becomes law, calling it unconstitutional.
Interestingly less controversial in Springfield is medical marijuana, which passed that same senate committee today, by the same margin, 10 to 5.