Spending

Policy Group Proposes State Pension Go To 401k

By Benjamin Yount, Illinois Watchdog

Illinois’ $90B pension debt can either be paid by reforming the system or long-term tax increases.

As Illinois lawmakers struggle to find a way to manage a nearly $8 billion pension payment, $9 billion in unpaid bills and a $130 billion pension debt, one policy group this week said it had some simple solutions. The biggest change in The Illinois Policy Institute’s proposed budget would immediately switch Illinois’ five pension systems from defined benefit plans to a 401(k) style retirement system, where the employee manages his own money.

“Everything (public employees) have earned up until today they would keep,” said state Rep. Tom Morrison, R-Palatine, who wrote the pension proposal at the heart of the institute’s budget. “This makes so much sense to people back home. It is a simple plan; it doesn’t need to be a 300-page piece of legislation,” Morrison said Thursday.

Illinois has been trying to contain the skyrocketing costs of its pension plans, but lawmakers can’t agree on a single plan. There is also the question of which plan would survive a court challenge. Illinois has a constitutional guarantee that pension benefits will not be reduced.

Illinois Policy Institute CEO John Tillman said anything that passes the Legislature will end up in court, anyway, so he’s not worried about the Institute’s plan.

Chicago Tribune endorses Allen Skillicorn for State Representative

I’m honored to receive the endorsement of the Chicago Tribune. Proves that the people of Illinois have the will to reform our state! #IL66

“66th District: Republican Allen Skillicorn has an important characteristic that makes him Springfield-ready: He led a movement to freeze the tax levy in East Dundee, where he is a trustee. He understands the urgency to enact policy changes that make Illinois friendlier for businesses and residents. He faces Nancy Zettler, D-Algonquin, an attorney who says she’s running to represent the middle class and end “corporate welfare.” Maybe she doesn’t realize most of the corporate giveaways during the last decade in this state were handed out by Democrats, not by Gov. Bruce Rauner. Skillicorn is endorsed.”

5-year-old with an iPad provides teaching moment on Illinois General Assembly spending habits

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SPRINGFIELD – I opened my credit card bill last month and gasped.

 There were $3,570 in charges I did not recognize.

 And each charge was for something from Apple computer’s iTunes division.

 I asked my wife, Joan, and she said, “It wasn’t me.”

 I asked my 10-year-old and 8-year-old daughters and they gave perplexed looks and shook their heads.

 Then I asked my 5-year-old, Caitlin, and she gave me a snaggletooth grin and said, “Yes, Daddy, I’ve been buying stuff for my video game.”

 Um, $3,570 worth of stuff in one month?

Four Illinois pension solutions we ought to be pushing

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In a recent post, I focused on the fact that we still have the worst pension debt among all U.S. states and yet there seems to be little focus on trying to do something about that this spring in Springfield.

Don’t get me wrong. A budget deal with cuts, purchasing reforms, efficiencies and an actual balance without gimmicks would be welcome.