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Madigan Drops Plan to Shift Pension Costs to School Districts

Under pressure from Illinois Republicans and Gov. Pat Quinn, House Speaker Michael Madigan announced he's dropping his proposal to shift teacher pension costs to local school districts.

Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan (D-Chicago) on Wednesday dropped his controversial proposal to shift the costs of teacher pensions from the state to local school districts, universities and community colleges.

The announcement came after two days of spirited debate over pension reform in both the House and Senate.

Madigan's plan, which was part of Senate Bill 1673, was widely criticized by Republicans, and threatened to derail other legislation to address the state's massive pension shortfall.

Madigan said he reached the decision after Gov. Pat Quinn asked him to drop the amendment, the Associated Press reports.

“He agrees with the Republicans. He thinks that we ought to remove the issue of the shift of normal cost out of the bill,” Madigan told the House on Wednesday night. “I disagree with the governor, but he is the governor. This is his request.”

The bill was handed over to House Republican Leader Tom Cross of Oswego, who slammed Madigan on Tuesday, calling his proposal a "poison pill" to kill pension legislation.

Plans to remove Madigan's amendment will be considered by a House Panel on Thursday, the Chicago Tribune reports.

Illinois currently has an $83 billion unfunded pension liability—$44 billion of which is from the Teachers' Retirement System.

With the cost-shift language off the table, lawmakers could vote on a comprehensive pension reform plan before the legislative session ends Thursday night.

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Richard R May 31, 2012 at 06:23 PM
Wow this Pit-Bull must really need something passed in the near future to back down from this. Just Brilliant Mike, way to play politics.
Tony Salerno June 01, 2012 at 03:41 AM
Great job Tom Cross et al... Thank you!
Dennis June 01, 2012 at 02:26 PM
I second that! Thank you Republicans!
Pat Stiles June 02, 2012 at 01:51 PM
Lets not go carrying Tom on our shoulders yet. Tom this gives you time to sit down and write a bill that would reform ALL public workers pensions. Remember this was going to be ramrodded at the last minute. Did any one see Rep Bost's meltdown? That is an example of what goes on in Springfield. Like he said they hand bills to our elected officials and want them to vote on it the same day. This pension reform is not something that popped up overnight. Even after Madigan backed off they still couldn't pass the bill. Sounds like some IL. horsetrading is going on. This is not about Democrats, or Republicans, it's about the future of the state and those of us who live in it. Not to mention our chidrens future.
Citizen for Reform June 06, 2012 at 01:20 PM
Madigan needs to leave.......he has worn out his welcome and probably the most corrupt out of all of them!

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