Unions Offer To Pay More Toward Pensions

AFSCME protest from May 2012

AFSCME protest from May 2012

State-employee unions say the leading proposals to fix Illinois’ pension systems are all fatally flawed.  Wednesday,  they proposed their own ideas for fixing pensions.  Any attempt to plug the $96 billion funding shortfall in Illinois’ government-employee pensions has to respect the state Constitution, which says benefits “shall not be diminished.”
The proposals backed by Gov. Pat Quinn and other political leaders attempt to get around that in order to cut retirement benefits.
But AFSCME, the state’s largest government-employee union, says those ideas will ultimately fail in the courts.

WEBB-GAUVIN “The state is going to spend millions upon millions of dollars defending them, and is most likely going to lose.”

Joanna Webb-Gauvin is AFSCME’s legislative director. She’s urging an approach she says is on stronger footing, Constitutionally speaking.
The union plan calls for employees to contribute 2 percent more of their salary, and for the state to raise more money by closing $2 billion in so-called tax loopholes.

WEBB-GAUVIN “The state does not have enough revenue. And the truth is it hasn’t had enough revenue to operate state government for decades, which is why the state has been using the pension systems as a credit card.”

Gov. Quinn’s reaction was tepid.  He says he’ll look at anyone’s idea.  But he says Illinois cannot afford to delay a pension fix.
(Brian Mackey)

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