By Benjamin Yount | Illinois Watchdog
SPRINGFIELD — Illinois’ public sector unions are not interested in a new pension reform proposal. Unions bosses are telling lawmakers they are done making deals.
In two Illinois legislative panels Tuesday, union leaders reminded lawmakers that public sector unions negotiated a pension reform plan, then demanded it be voted on.
We Are One Illinois coalition leader Mike Carrigan said the union-backed plan, Senate President John Cullerton’s SB2404, is the last and final offer.
Carrigan said unions members are not interested in a new plan or cost shifting structure. state Rep. Elaine Nekritz, D-Northbrook, said if unions hold out, the rest of the state will suffer.
As Carrigan was taking a hard line in the House, the Senate got the same message from the Illinois Education Association’s Will Lovett.
The Senate appears to be leaning toward a pension cost shift plan as a possible new pension reform proposal. The plan began as a cost shift for Illinois’ colleges and universities, but was shot down as a guaranteed path to a tuition increase.
Cullerton went out of his way Tuesday to debunk those claims.
Republicans still have problems with costs and constitutionality claims for both pension reform proposals.
State Rep. Dave McSweeney, R-Barrington Hills, bristled at Carrigan and the union leaders’ claim that anything but the union negotiated pension reform plan is unconstitutional.
McSweeney’s comments came one day after other suburban, conservative lawmakers said the only real solution for Illinois’ pension crisis is to switch from a defined benefit plans to 401(k) style retirement accounts for public workers.
Contact Benjamin Yount at Ben@IllinoisWatchdog.org and find him on Twitter @ILWatchdog.