Gov. Pat Quinn says he’ll sign pension reform legislation if lawmakers would send it to him – but he has a list of demands.  The governor says if there’s gambling expansion, the state’s take should go to education – and that can include teachers’ pensions. He wants cost-of-living adjustments to be suspended for those with higher pensions, and he wants state employees and teachers to pay more in.
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There’s also the issue of pension obligation notes, which saddle the state with $1 billion in debt service through 2020. Once those are paid off, the governor wants to guarantee that that billion will go to pensions each year until they system is back in balance.  He also wants the state to be required to pay its share. “There must be a firm guarantee that the state of Illinois will pay its full pension amount every year. I’ve done that since I’ve been governor, but that did not happen under previous governors and legislatures,” he said.  He did not mention raising the retirement age, or shifting costs to school districts.  The state’s unfunded pension liability exceeds $90 billion, and pension costs are eating up 19 percent of general fund revenue.
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