Thank you to all of our members who responded to President Klickna’s call asking they urge their state Senator to oppose the property tax freeze and pension bills up for consideration before the Senate.

Senate’s grand bargain

As we reported in past updates, the Senate’s so-called “grand bargain” is a package of bills from Senate President John Cullerton and Minority Leader Christine Radogno that propose a variety of revenue enhancements, cost-cutting measures and “reforms.” Each bill contains a caveat; the bill does not become law unless all the other bills in the package also become law. Over the last few weeks, during negotiations on the Senate package some bills originally included have since been dropped. At this time, the package consists of Senate bills 1, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9 10, 12, 13 and 16.

The General Assembly voted on several bills in the package on Tuesday, including SB 16, which makes changes to current Tier 1 pension members. However, the bill failed on a vote of 26-27-2 and was placed on postponed consideration. On Wednesday the package stalled when the governor’s office told Senate Republicans that, in its current state, the package was unacceptable. At this time, it is unknown whether action will be taken in the future.

IEA continues to oppose the property tax freeze and mandate changes in SB 13 as well as the pension proposal in SB 16.

SB 1  (Cullerton, J., D-Chicago) is a placeholder bill for school funding reform but does not currently contain any substantive language. This bill has no amendments and no action was taken.

SB 3  (Cullerton, T., D-Villa Park) would allow counties to dissolve local governments by referendum, similar to the consolidation that exists in DuPage, Lake and McHenry counties. The bill passed the Senate 43-14.

SB 4  (Trotter, D-Chicago) authorizes the state to issue $7 billion in restructuring bonds to pay the backlog of bills owed to vendors and local governments. There were several amendments filed to this bill but no action was taken.

SB 5  (Cullerton, J., D-Chicago) requires the state to contribute $215 million to the Chicago Teachers’ Pension Fund in FY17, $220 million in FY18 and pay the amount of normal cost for pensions to the fund going forward beginning in FY19. This bill passed the Senate 35-22-1 on Feb. 28.

SB 6  (Cullerton, J., D-Chicago) is a supplemental appropriation to fund higher education, human services, group health insurance and state operations for the remainder of this fiscal year. This bill passed the Senate 42-16-1 on Feb. 28.

SB 7  (Link, D-Gurnee) creates new casino/riverboat licenses and makes changes to existing gaming operations and laws within the State. This bill passed the Senate 31-26 on Feb. 28.

SB 8  (Harmon, D-Oak Park) reforms the state procurement process. This bill passed the Senate 41-16-2 on Feb. 28.

SB 9  (Hutchinson, D-Chicago Heights) is a revenue bill designed to generate funds from a variety of sources including increasing the personal and corporate income tax, addressing corporate loopholes and increasing or reinstating certain tax credits. Several amendments were filed to this bill but no action was taken.

SB 10  (Cullerton, J., D-Chicago) amends the Illinois Municipal Code to allow a home rule municipality to enter into agreements regarding revenue from the state. The bill has not yet been acted upon.

SB 12  (Radogno, R-Lemont) reforms the workers’ compensation law. Several amendments were filed to this bill but no action was taken.

SB 13  (Radogno, R-Lemont) establishes a temporary property tax freeze and provides mandate relief for school districts, including greater flexibility in scheduling physical education, using commercial driving schools for driver education and contracting with third parties for non-instructional services. Several amendments were filed to this bill but no action was taken.

SB 16 (Cullerton, D-Chicago) is a pension cutting proposal that forces TRS and SURS members to choose between giving up the 3 percent compounded cost of living adjustment (COLA) or maintaining the 3 percent compounded COLA, but not having any future salary increases be used in the calculation of the annuity. Participants choosing the first option would move from a 3 percent compounded COLA to a simple COLA based on the original annuity which would be payable at age 67 or five years after retirement, whichever occurs first. In return, these participants would be allowed to include any future salary increases towards the pension calculation.

Important Dates

  • Mar. 17 – Bills out of Committee (Senate)
  • Mar. 31 – Bills out of Committee (House)
  • Apr. 28 – 3rd Reading deadline (both chambers)
  • May 12 – Deadline for House bills to get out of Senate Committee
  • May 19 – Deadline for Senate bills to get out of House Committee
  • May 26 – Final 3rd Reading deadline (both chambers)
  • May 31 – Adjournment

A schedule for each chamber can be found on the General Assembly website.

Next Week:

The Senate and House will next be in session Tuesday, March 7. To be connected to the latest information, “like” IEA on Facebook, follow IEANEA on Twitter and bookmark the IEA website.