The Illinois legislature has adjourned for the summer without restructuring the state’s pension system. House Minority Leader Tom Cross (R-Oswego) was frustrated and baffled as to why a pension reform package wasn’t sent to the governor on the final day of the legislative session. “I don’t know why we haven’t done pensions. I don’t get it,” said Cross.
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House Speaker Michael Madigan (D-Chicago), while accurate, was more ambiguous about the session’s shortcomings. “This is a session where we have not enjoyed a great deal of success,” said Madigan. With the inaction on the pension issue, Illinois remains the state with the worst-funded pension system in the U.S.: an unfunded liability approaching $100 billion, and growing by $17 million a day.
Both the House and Senate passed restructuring legislation, but those bills never got called for a vote in the other chamber. The sticking point was whether any of the legislation would be found unconstitutional, with the more aggressive House-passed measure likely to be knocked down in court, according to the Senate president, and a union-backed plan that passed the Senate insufficient to address the problem, according to House leadership.