An email from State Rep. Mike Tryon:The final week of the May legislative session in Springfield ended with many good bills headed to the Governor, but with no meaningful pension reform in place to stabilize our state’s pension systems.
Today, pension costs are one of the biggest pieces of our State budget, and those costs are going up significantly every year and crowding out other essential service areas of the budget.
I really thought that late last week we were going to approve reforms that would have stabilized the systems so we could continue to offer fair retirement benefits, while also freeing up funding for other essential services.
While an early version of the bill included a $21 billion property tax increase for suburban and downstate homeowners that would have resulted from shifting a significant portion of the pension costs to the local level, the version of the bill brought forward by Republicans had that component removed.
We felt the shift would have placed an undue burden on local homeowners and we stood with the taxpayers on the issue until the provision was removed from the bill.
With the changed language, Speaker Madigan withdrew his support, and that point it became clear the bill would not pass.
In the end, Speaker Madigan was not willing to vote in favor of pension reform that did not include the pension cost shift.
The Governor said he will call the legislators back to Springfield over the summer to continue our work on the pension issue.
I am determined to find the common ground necessary to pass meaningful and fair pension reform in Illinois, so we can provide some much-needed certainty for the budget, for local schools and universities, and for the participants in the pension systems. The ultimate bill must be constitutional, and able to withstand an almost certain legal challenge.
I will continue to keep you informed about the pension issue as we work toward a solution over the summer.
Michael W. Tryon
State Representative, District 64