Alliance Legislative Report 97-60
Distributed via Email: August 17, 2012
NO PENSION BILL PASSES IN SPECIAL SESSION
The Illinois House of Representatives Friday took dramatic action on the issue the Speaker of the House called members to address, but delayed again the issue Governor Pat Quinn had wanted action on. House Speaker Michael Madigan had originally called lawmakers into the Capitol to vote on whether or not State Representative Derrick Smith should be expelled from the legislature for allegedly accepting bribes in relation to his duties as a legislator. The House voted 100-6-3 to expel Representative Smith from the House of Representatives – an action not taken by the Illinois House of Representatives for over 100 years.
The Governor, then, had called a special session of the legislature for Friday as well to take up the issue of pension reform. Fairly early in the day it was evident that lawmakers would not be voting on a comprehensive bill to reform all five of the state pension systems. There was an amendment scheduled for hearing in the House that would have made dramatic changes to the pension benefits for current participants and annuitants of the State Employees Retirement System (SERS) and the General Assembly Retirement System (GARS). A similar piece of legislation had been approved by the Senate on May 31.
However the House sponsor, Rep. Barbara Flynn Currie, chose not to call that amendment for a vote. Instead, a different amendment was approved by the House Personnel and Pensions Committee. The committee forwarded House Amendment #3 to SB 3168 which applies only to members of the General Assembly. It would make current members of the General Assembly choose: give up your future 3% compounded Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA) or lose access to health insurance upon retirement and give up any increase in salary that could be used to calculate your pension. GARS annuitants would also choose between the compounded COLA and retiree health insurance. Further, the amendment would end the practice of providing any pension for members of the General Assembly for any person elected to the General Assembly in the future.
The House of Representatives adopted the amendment on the House floor but no vote was taken on the bill for final passage in the House of Representatives.
So no pension reform measure was approved in the one-day special session on Friday. Legislators are scheduled to next return to the Capitol on November 27.
GENERAL STATE AID PAYMENTS
The Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) has finalized the Fiscal Year 2013 General State Aid (GSA) calculations and the first payment will be made on August 10. The state budget that was enacted July 1 does not include enough funding to meet the $6,119 GSA foundation level established by the General Assembly. Due to the shortfall in funding, the gross GSA for each district will be prorated to $5,733. The ISBE states that this will result in a nearly 11 percent reduction from the total necessary to make the $6,119 GSA foundation level. The ISBE will reduce the amount proportionally over 22 equal payments from August 2012 to June 2013.
Prorating evenly across all payments is a change from previous years when the ISBE would simply reduce the final payments. According to the ISBE, this change is necessary because proration has increased significantly over the past two years and the 22 equal payments will assist districts in their cash flow projections for Fiscal Year 2013. Last year’s ( FY ‘12) budget resulted in the partial reduction to the first June payment and elimination of the final June payment. This year, if the ISBE does not reduce all payments evenly, districts would not receive either GSA payment in June and only about half of their second payment in May. More information is available at www.isbe.net
This legislative report is written and edited by the lobbyists of the Illinois Association of School Boards to provide information to the members of the organizations that comprise the Statewide School Management Alliance.
Bill Text/Status: Illinois General Assembly www.ilga.gov
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