Republican leaders say more transparency is the answer to snuffing out an $83 billion pension liability. House Republican Leader Tom Cross (R-Oswego, pictured) says if school districts got a handle on some lush pension payouts, the problem of properly funding pensions would be solved.
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“The operative word is accountability and one of the things that we all want to stop is the school district that gives these end of career bumps that puts a strain not on them locally but on the pension systems,” Cross said. Cross says there is consensus on that idea but believes a cost shift should be a separate matter. Many Republicans and Downstate Democrats are opposed to a plan by the governor and the House speaker to shift the pension burden from the state to downstate and suburban school districts. The public school system in Chicago is already set up in a similar manner. But those opposed have argued that it would force property taxes to go up. Leaders agreed at a meeting Wednesday that a fact finding mission should be done to explore what school districts are currently up against financially. They plan to meet again towards the end of the month.