Peoria Public Radio Staff
Thu October 17, 2013
AFSCME weighs in on pension debate
Illinois' $100 billion dollar pension debt continues to mount. But it's not as if legislators haven't tried to do something about it. Last spring the House and Senate each passed plans that would have cut back the state's pension costs. It's just that the chambers didn't pass the SAME plan.
The House version would save the state more money, by making more drastic reductions to employees' and retirees' benefits. In comparison, the Senate package, which calls for giving workers a series of choices, like taking a smaller pension in exchange for keeping access to state-backed healthcare upon retirement won't save as much. But Senate Bill 2404 did have the backing of AFSCME.
The union's director, Henry Bayer, says legislators should stop looking for alternatives and pass that plan.
"I firmly believe that if they had a vote in the House of Representative, that 2404 would pass. It's will Speaker Madigan allow a vote on 2404."
House Speaker Michael Madigan's spokesman, Steve Brown, says he's not aware of any plans to call that pension proposal for a vote. He says there are "stronger" bills.