At Unions’ Pension Summit, ‘Not a Whole Lot’ Accomplished

House Republican Leader Tom Cross

House Republican Leader Tom Cross says “not a whole lot” was accomplished at the pension summit.

Union leaders met with Governor Pat Quinn and members of the legislature Monday to talk about the state’s underfunded pension system. They billed it as a chance to work together on a divisive issue. But as Brian Mackey reports, the two sides remain far apart.

The unions represent a range of government workers, from prison guards to teachers. After the meeting, they issued a statement saying it shows they can “work together constructively with all parties.” But many of the key players in the pension debate skipped today’s meeting.

Of the top Democrats and Republicans in the House and Senate, only House Republican Leader Tom Cross was in attendance. He says “not a whole lot” was accomplished.

Quinn and legislative leaders say a reduction in benefits is necessary, but unions oppose that. They suggest eliminating business tax breaks and are offering to have workers pay two percent more toward retirement, but Cross says that’s not enough.

CROSS: “The reality is, from a pure math standpoint, the benefits that people receive, you’re not paying an adequate amount to sustain those benefits.”

Cross says the unions asked the governor to only support legislation that has union backing, but Quinn refused. The unions plan to have more meetings, but legislators say they’re moving ahead with their own proposals.

— Brian Mackey

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4 Responses to At Unions’ Pension Summit, ‘Not a Whole Lot’ Accomplished

  1. Mike says:

    The politicians have been completely dishonest with trying to solve the problem of skipped payments into the fund. They don’t want the state to pay its share plus interest on the skipped payments. They want retirees to take massive pension cuts while the state didn’t even pay an amount equivalent to social security into the system.

  2. John says:

    funny from a mathematical stand point as the Pension system is set up it is sustainable, what isn’t sustainable is not paying the employers portion and thus incurring interest on the unpaid debts. The people were paying into their retirement, the legislature was not, and now the legislature is asking the people to pay the legislatures share.

  3. Governor Quinn and the Illinois Legislature are getting ready to severely cut the pensions of Retired State workers who have had but one shot to look at and agree to the terms of their retirement facts and figures; they do not get a re-do and the State of Illinois regards them as too old to go back to work, many in dangerous jobs such as in Corrections and Police work. It is unfair to ask such a high price of these former workers after the fact of retirement. Many retirees took the level payout option in which, at age 67, their pension check would be minus their entire Social Security Check amount. We would have not chosen this option if we had known we would lose our COLAs. WUIS, why have you not inquired from the politicians on this???

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