A package of bills, called by its sponsors the “Senate Grand Bargain,” is expected to be introduced this week, after the newly-seated 100th General Assembly convenes on Wednesday. These proposals would impact active IEA members in a variety of ways.
Republican and Democratic state Senate leaders are working on a deal to end the state’s painful budget impasse. Currently, there is no indication the House is aligned with the proposal, which is reported to include a bipartisan mix of tax increases and select items from the governor’s “Turnaround Agenda.”
What’s the deal?
Illinois Senate President John Cullerton and Illinois Senate Republican Leader Christine Radogno have been negotiating a budget package which includes:
- Imposing term limits on legislative leaders;
- Increasing the state individual income tax to 4.9 percent;
- Adding a statewide beverage tax on sugary drinks;
- Changing Worker’s Compensation benefits;
- Temporarily freezing property tax rates;
- Pension reductions for active employees.
IEA and our labor partners met this week with Senate President Cullerton to express our serious concerns about the proposals, some of which are still being drafted.
The items with the most direct impact on education and education employees are proposals for a two-year property tax freeze, proposed changes in workers’ compensation and the pension changes.
For example, the property tax freeze could have a negative impact on school funding in districts throughout the state. On pensions, President Cullerton and Gov. Rauner both favor a proposal that would place limits on whether future pay raises would be pensionable. IEA believes this proposal is unconstitutional.
Our strategy to defend students and public education begins with making certain that members of the state Senate, in both parties, understand that labor and education interests must be protected.